When Nepal and Nepali people faced the problem of 6 months long Economic Blockade by India, Santosh Pokharel from Nawalparasi took the problem as an opportunity to boost the economic status of the country as well as demotivate import business. He together with four other investors kick started the business of making punk sticks used in making incense sticks(Agarbatti). National Bamboo Products(NBP) is currently the only company in Nepal to make raw punk sticks, used for making incense sticks.Â
But, the journey of starting the manufacturing business was not that easy. None believed in his idea, instead made an insulting expression when he shared about the idea of utilizing raw material left unused in Nepal and making incense sticks.
Sharing about his journey of life, Pokharel says that he was engaged in different manufacturing companies and cooperative organizations before starting the current business. But, as he was not satisfied with these works, he took the challenge of starting something innovative, and brought new equipment to make new sorts of products.
He says that one should not be a Job seeker but rather a job giver.
It is astonishing to hear from him that this was totally an unplanned business started with only one month of preparation. They gathered the necessary knowledge for operating such companies from the internet, government officers, and Indian engineers, and bought equipments from India. Being the only person in the country to start such a new type of company with the aim of making Nepal independent for raw sticks used in incense sticks and expanding the idea and product all over the country, they named the company as â€˜NATIONAL BAMBOO PRODUCTSâ€™.
Pokharel says, â€œNBP is in growing period and being a founder, NBP means my child for me, which has just started taking its first steps at the age of 8 months, but in a very near future it will be running so far. Started with just 32 lakhs of initial investment, the business has already been worth 51 lakhs, which clearly states our progress and possibility.â€
â€œWe currently are offering the sticks as per the need and demand of our customers. The price of the products depends upon the quality and quantity of product. We need 100 bamboo trees in a single day and produce 300 kg sticks, but are planning to increase the production up to 1000 kg per day,â€ he adds.
â€œMaintenance, marketing, and stability are the hardest things to keep a business strong and stable. In our case we are blessed to have our product identity established in a market which always help us to compete with imported materials and the most importantly, we promote women entrepreneurs and praise them. We currently have 12 workers in the company, and all of them are women,â€ Pokharel shares proudly.
Coming this far, they have their customers all over Nepal, including the major towns, Butwal, Kathmandu, Birgung, and Hetauda. They have now aimed to make the company deals not only nationally but also internationally and also planning to use the remaining unusable part coming out from sticks for handicraft purpose in the near future, and also thinking of making perfume for incense sticks and planting bamboo trees as well.
Pokharel vividly remembers the day he bought those expensive machines and legally registered the company. He feels proud to get continuous family support in his business. The compliments he gets from customers and young Nepali entrepreneurs satisfy them the most. Reminiscing the day when he was able to make a sale of 3 kg of incense sticks for the first time, he says that was the happiest day in the journey of business, as that day literally set the starting of NBPâ€™s journey.
For him, success is inside everyone and we need to take it out with love and work with passion and have some patience too. Everything seems to be difficult until itâ€™s done. So, he encourages youths not to run after money, rather work with dedication and commitment with a plan where judgement should not be done in the first result, because hard work actually pays off.
Startups for a better Nepal!
Presented by: Bipana Sharma