Delivered through speeches, panel discussions and Q&A sessions with various national and international entrepreneurs on various themes including investment, scaling up and going global as well as on Nepali tourism and technology, the event was highly successful in providing entrepreneurial insights to the participants.
Kathmandu, September 26, 2016: The Next Growth Conclave, an entrepreneurship event organized by NEXT Venture Corp Pvt. Ltd. has been concluded in the town providing the emerging Nepali entrepreneurs with insightful knowledge about creating of the most disruptive startups.
â€œIt is very important to make the clients delightful. They will talk about the product/business to their peers only if they are happy. An extraordinary word of mouth is the real secret to success in this digital age. So, make products in such a way that people get delighted in using it,â€ said Mahesh Murthy, Founder of Pinstorm and Co-Founder of Seedfund, giving a Keynote speech in the programme. â€œDonâ€™t ever try to copy other successful businesses, instead build a business that solves a local problem. You find a natural growth only when you build unique, and solve the real problem,â€ he further said.
Sharing about the necessity of entrepreneurship, Joseph Jeong, an Angel investor and mentor said that entrepreneurship is all about peace, prosperity and people empowerment and one should first find a team, learn the steps of starting up and finally do it. â€œAs it is spawning of a new career, it requires you to have an entrepreneurial mindset, motivation and passion to learn new things and a moonshot goal. As an entrepreneur, your life is a book you write not a book you read,â€ he shared his insights.
Bhupendra Khanal, Co-founder of Simplify360 and Founder and CEO of Dogsee Chew said that one should build products for one specific target market. â€œA startup initially needs to focus on sales, as survival of the business is very necessary. Only then can you focus on the branding part,â€ he opined. â€œItâ€™s much easier to take the sales from 0 to 10, meanwhile, to scale it up from 10 to 1000, itâ€™s extremely important streamlining operations and get the experts.â€
Khanal also shared about the 3Is for product superiority his company lives by: innovation, integration and improvisation, and the 3Ds of global expansion: diversity, decentralization and dependability. Sharing his impression from Switzerland about no single Swish product being of low quality, as the society censors low quality and people give first priority to the Swish products; he made the participants take oath that they vow to provide quality products and service from their venture.
Build big businesses from anywhere
Similarly, sharing about his experiences, Vinay Singhal, CEO of Vatsana Technologies said that to be a tireless and successful entrepreneur, itâ€™s very important to find a passion that one can give his life for. Recalling his journey of starting the company with 7 co-founders, and finding only his brother remaining with him at the end, after all others left, he said that co-founders need to remain as brothers, not co-founders. â€œOnly then will the co-founders will stick together for forever,â€ he cheered the participants. Sharing his journey of starting the company from a village of Indore, Haryana in India, he said that as the internet has made the whole world as a global village, one shouldnâ€™t hesitate to start a company from anywhere in the world.
Passion to bring out a change
The first girl to go to an English-medium school from her entire village, Aditi Chaurasia said that there is no reason for a lady to doubt about her capacity for being a female. â€œIf there are any problems on your way of doing business, you should find and tackle them. There is nothing that can stop you from success, but yourself. So, you need to believe in yourself and move ahead,â€ said the Co-Founder/CEO ofÂ EngineerBabu, a mobile app and web-development company in India. â€œI changed 6 jobs in a duration of 6 months, because I didnâ€™t want to work like a machine. Fed up of the work environments in these companies, I co-founded the startup to give the best working environment to the employees, with a feeling that itâ€™s a company of the people, by the people and for the people,â€ she shared the story of starting the company along with the necessity of maintaining a good work-environment.
Investing in ideas
On the occasion, Ajeet Khurana shared about the experiences from his 18 years in Angel Investing and supporting the startups. â€œWhenever Iâ€™m investing on something, I expect returns,â€ he said sharing about the investor psychology and how they consider investing in startups as risk. â€œThere is either fast return or a complete loss from investing in startup companies. So, investors usually look for the team that is coming up with the idea, and watch their passion and dedication to work,â€ he said, adding â€œMany a times, they reject the ideas, not because the ideas arenâ€™t promising, but because the people better than those ideators should work on the idea.â€
Maintaining business growth
Shahil Agrawal was the next to hit the podium with his insightful ideas on maintaining the business growth consistent, from the learning of the history of his family business. â€œEarlier, the market share of Jagadamba Steels was very small, merely 3%, and Kathmandu was untouched. So, I started marketing it in Kathmandu, making the business grow. In 2008, Jagadamba Steels became the biggest market player for steels in Nepal. That would have not been possible had I not kept myself innovating/evolving with time. Instead, other competitors would have taken my space and displaced me,â€ he shared talking about the necessity of innovating oneself. â€œAn entrepreneur also shouldnâ€™t lose his focus, and needs to select the right business at the right time, preparing for the worst,â€ he further said. He also explained about the importance of having a good team that works as per the vision of growth.
Talking about sustaining a business, he said that one needs to be ready to sell their assets so asÂ not to see the business a failure. â€œBut, you also need to be able to shut a business down if you donâ€™t see the potential for it to work,â€ he said, sharing his experiences of shutting down almostÂ 50% of hisÂ businesses as they failed.
The way forward
The programme also had Fireside Chat, a moderated Q&A session with the speakers where they shared their further insightful ideas among the audience. The session saw a discussion on how we can use our own social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the startup ecosystem to promote our businesses, among our own network, a very cost-effective way. The session also gave a message that an idea is important, but the execution of the idea is paramount and same about the sales.
The session also saw why the team members should be trained to be leaders and given the responsibility to work on their own. â€œIn the interview session, I ask about their dreams and want to see passion in their eyes,â€ shared Aditi Chaurasia talking about her tips on having the team-members.
Also, discussed in the session was the challenges of finding a talented person and overcoming the present skill gap. â€œTo overcome this, we need to be patient and train the people, along with giving an opportunity to those people who have not yet got any chance to work, and nurture them,â€ said a panelist member. The session gave a message that one should be honest to oneself and chase a passion, be persistent and never give up under any circumstances.
With the motive of taking Nepalâ€™s tourism industry to the next level, another panel discussion was also held with the CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, Deepak Raj Joshi and a group of panel members.
Ten new startups officially kick-started their business on the occasion. Web-Robo, a web-service and robotics company; Green Bamboo Creation, a manufacturer of bamboo furnitures; FurnitureHub, an online furniture store; My Rupee Bag, a cashback website; Keep Rolling Media, a billboard and outdoor advertising company; HODOL, a taxi service app; and Golden Peak, a tea brand among others had launched their business.
The event also had a space where the startups could share the story and other details about their brand, and interact with the media-persons present in the programme.
The special platform provided the selected 25 fantastic startups with an opportunity to showcase their products, and network with the fellow founders, senior entrepreneurs and investors, gaining high value exposure.
NEXT Launchpad Embarked On
A mentorship driven startup accelerator programme, NEXT Launchpad was formally inaugurated on the occasion. The platform seeks to provide the startups in the growth-phase of their business with 4 months of intensive learning to refine their business model, gain exposure and develop valuable networks.
ByÂ Basanta Kumar Dhakal