Kathmandu, July 26, 2018: The South Asia Connect (SAC) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State to promote regional cooperation in the Indian sub-continent by supporting entrepreneurial ventures in five countries of South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. This program is operated by the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas, Austin at Nexus Startup Hub in the American Center, New Delhi. It was formally launched by US Ambassador to India on February 8th, 2018 and the team has sensitized entrepreneurs, leaders of entrepreneurship organizations, early stage investors, government officials and other stakeholders in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India since then.
Early in April 2018, 53 entrepreneurs from Nepal applied to this program out of which 16 were shortlisted to receive training on Innovation Readiness (IR) course by IC2 Institute of University of Texas at Austin. This IR course was the first segment (Phase A) of the training program. All entrepreneurs who completed phase A received a certificate from the University of Texas (at Austin) for completion and were then interviewed about their business potential and their fit to South Asia Connect. Among the interviewed entrepreneurs, 4 of them were further selected for the second phase of the training program.
Mahim Singh from Nepal Entrepreneurs’ Hub and Bibhuti Neupane from Antarprerana have been overlooking the whole process from Nepal to contribute to the program.
From Nepal, Ojashwi Baidya of ‘Tyre Treasures’, Akshov Shrestha of ‘Raniban Retreat’, Anish Shrestha of ‘EventsMo’ and Sadikshya Aryal of ‘Himalaya Innovations’ will participate in phase B of SAC training in New Delhi from July 30th, 2018 to August 3rd, 2018. Apart from Nepal, 4 entrepreneurs each from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were also selected in the same manner for Phase B.
After the 1-week long training, 5 companies which will exhibit maximum potential among the 20 companies will be selected for the third and final segment- Phase C. Phase C includes an 8 week long pre-incubation program at Nexus Startup Hub @ the American Center, New Delhi. Akshov Shrestha from ‘Raniban Retreat’ says, “I feel that SAC would really help entrepreneurs like me to fully understand my business as well as make it grow to its true potential. The international exposure that we’re getting from SAC is very rare in Nepal and I’m glad to have been selected.”
Programs like these have a profound impact on the resource & culturally rich South and Central Asia to boost inter-regional trade and investments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With entrepreneurs solving real world problems, South Asia Connect has proven to be a great platform for entrepreneurs to make their businesses market-ready and reach their highest capabilities.