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Finding investors for your business

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Last Thursdays for an Entrepreneur

Kathmandu, January 29, 2017: The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal has progressed to some extent. And, most of the entrepreneurs need further investments after reaching a certain point. Kathmandu recently saw a discussion session on finding the right investors, approaching them and closing the deal.

Sunita Nhemaphuki and Abhaya Poudel graced a programme last Thursday evening as its special guests. On the cold evening, Nhemaphuki shared her experience of reaching out to investors and preparing her business for investment. Meanwhile, Poudel, a Charter Accountant, and investor, shared his experience of working with and investing in startups in Nepal.

Nhemaphuki, who has been operating Green Mart, a retail chain of fresh vegetables, along with editing and publishing Krishak ra Prabidhi, a monthly agricultural magazine, shared how she started her business without any funds. Sharing that a startup doesn’t give a fast return, and one needs to wait for a certain time for the business to make money, she talked about the necessity to search for investments to grow a business further.

Sharing her experiences of getting investment from a foreign investment company, she talked about how the investors look at people, their vision, nature, and how they are progressing to reach the goal; more than on the project.

She also shared her realization of the need to maintain a clear and transparent account of a business.

“While starting contract farming and retail outlets, what I found most challenging was the documentation, legal works, and bank-related works,” she said, adding how she realized that it’s not good to have a transaction on cash for anything above 1000, but through cheques.

She also shared that to bring an investment, we need to be clear about the documentation of the company, accounting, along with communicating with the investors. We also need to make business plans, and show commitments to achieve targets, and show the profit of the business, she added.

Meanwhile, Poudel categorized the investors into two categories, rational (those looking for a quick return on investment) and irrational/angel investors (those looking for long-term benefits). And, he asked the participants to not to opt for rational investors. “Angel investors look at increasing the value of a business. Many in the latter category have started to show their presence in Nepal. They have a big chunk of money needed to drive our capacity,” he said.

“But, they look for your targeted market, and the problem you are going to solve, and how scalable your business is. Before making an investment, they check on how strong your compliance level is. They want to see the business growing, and increase in revenue,” he said, stressing the necessity to show the business as an scalable one.

Similarly, Nhemaphuki shared that we need to be clear on what sort of investors to work with. “To find an investor, we need to leave an impression, and advertise ourselves. But, we also need to be clear on why we are looking for investment,” she shared to the crowd of entrepreneurs.

“Along with this, as an entrepreneur, we need to go to various networking programmes, and share with others on what we are working. We should openly share our problems and necessities,” she said. “Once, I posted a Facebook status, saying that I needed investments, and wanted to know if anyone was interested. A Singaporean professor who was coming to Nepal got to know about it from one of my friends, and talked to me about the investment, how much and for what purpose I needed the investment. After I shared everything clearly, he was ready to invest in the business,” she shared about an incident on how she was able to reach an investor through Facebook, and added that we need to advertise about ourselves.

Similarly, Poudel shared that we need to show revenue model while approaching for investments. “We need to be clear about the market of our product. We need to ask for further investment only after we are sure that the engine works, and have confidence about our own business. We need to be sure on why are we seeking for investment and what our plans are. We need to ask ourselves if we are investment ready or not,” he said on the occasion.

Sharing on what she would have done to ensure that she is ready for investments, had she got a chance to go back to the time she started the business, Nhemaphuki said that she would have done a clear documentation of her business. “And, I would have worked preparing the checklists, as it’s a one-way work after preparing check-lists. As I had started my business without any such business plan, had I got to go back to that time, I would have started it six months later, being fully ready with all the business plans,” she further said.

She also mentioned about the necessity to have a bank balance for the next three months in advance as it would reduce the stress, helping oneself to continue the work.

Last Thursdays for an Entrepreneur is a monthly event organized to help the entrepreneurs. The event, previously organized as ‘Last Thursdays with an Entrepreneur’, has started to be organized in an evolved format. The event focuses one particular topic about the challenges entrepreneurs these days are facing, and holds a discussion with a panel of experts.

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal