Green Bamboo Creation: creating a bamboo future

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A graduate in Electronic engineering, Pranab Pradhan was always interested in manufacturing. While doing his Master’s degree in London, he got to work in the field of manufacturing and design. After returning back from London, he joined one of the Nepal’s leading Bamboo industries, as a manager.

After working in the company for about two years, and gaining necessary work-experience, he decided to invest in the bamboo industry instead of only working as an employee. Hence, he started his own business- Green Bamboo Creation Pvt. Ltd. in May 2015, with an authentic and eco-friendly approach.

He states, “My investment decision was due to my passion in this area and my confidence to make it happen.” He further shares, “Manufacturing was always interesting to me. Also, I was really fascinated by the way the round-shaped bamboos were treated and molded to give a proper shape and that it was being used to create beautiful designs. As I went out to research, I found out that we were very rich in bamboo and bamboo industry would be sustainable as it was cultivated as a cash crop by many farmers here in Nepal”.

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After this, he went to set out an appropriate location and chose Badeldhap in Hetauda. He did not set up a manufacturing site inside an industrial estate, rather chose to work in a community by implementing an inclusive business model. He says, “We work with farmers and the community, and focus more on value addition and how we can commercialize in the large scale”.  ” Inclusive business model means working together in an environment where farmers provide the right quality of product and we are paying the right price for the product,” he explains.

He did not have a factory, raw materials, staffs or capital to start a business. At that point of time, one of his friends came by and dropped the first order. The main concern was if the work could be finished in duration of three months. Hence, he took up the order. “This is how I started working. I started working after the order was received,” he said.

Green Bamboo Creation (GBC) is a Kathmandu based company with a production unit in Hetauda. It is centered in the manufacturing and supply of eco-friendly bamboo products such as bamboo furniture, bamboo houses, bamboo handicrafts and home décor materials. The raw materials are procured from places like Jhapa, Dharan, Hetauda and Damauli among others. They have also collaborated with different stakeholders who are involved in sourcing, pre-processing and manufacturing bamboo products.

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GBC follows ISO-9001 documentation in the manufacturing process and quality control. For the quality management, some of the specifications they apply includes use of bamboos that are atleast three years old, with 6-inch diameter and is straight bamboo wood. The bamboos are also treated with Copper Chrome Boron (CBC) for termite resistance and making it more durable, dimensionally stable and occurring very less cracks. Furthermore, eco-green paints are use in the furniture. The bamboo houses are earthquake resistant too.

Pranab says that one of the main challenges in bamboo business is selling their ideas. “Financial challenges are always there and they are not merely challenges. If you get stuck in financing challenges, and don’t have an ability to overcome it, you will never be an entrepreneur,” he says. They have recently been selected among the top 30 companies in the Rockstart Impact 2017, a business growth accelerator programme. With this, Pranab says that they are hopeful in convincing global investors, and as the money will be received, they want to focus in strengthening manufacturing. “If this happens, we can finally focus on large-scale production,” Pradhan adds.

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World-wide, bamboo products worth billions of dollars are produced every year; from cutlery to clothes and furniture. “In Nepal, bamboo industry has to compete with the wood industry and in terms of price, bamboo is much cheaper, durable and environmental friendly as well,” he says. Hence, they have targeted every type of customer with a wide range of products.

One of the main reasons for choosing bamboo for production is that “it is sustainable and will create an impact to our own society and country; from employment generation to birth of new agricultural entrepreneurs who would want to cultivate bamboo as cash crops.” As the barren lands are utilized, there is more production and as a result, the production could be minimized as well. With the manufacturing site in a village, they also aim to uplift the status of local community by providing employment opportunities to the locals. “More than 60% of our workers are women and we have a very closely-knitted community that we have created,” he shares. The business was initially carried out through social media like Facebook and other close networks, and the demands for products are in increasing trend, Pradhan further adds.

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In the future, they plan want to establish their factory in all the regions of Nepal, particularly in places where bamboo is cultivated. This would help in the reduction of wastage and transportation cost. “We also are looking forward to use more technologies and automated machines to increase efficiency,” he says.

Pradhan is of the thought that doing a business is not entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship should be sustainable. It has future courses of action and involves idea generation. And, it is not only about earning money but creating impact. As an entrepreneur, you should ask yourself about what impact you created, not how much you earned.”

Startups for a better Nepal!

Presented By: Anusha Kadel