We’ve been very impressed with our students and their business ideas – some have even launched their business already! An exemplary case of this would be of one of our students, Sajal. She has founded a water filtration business that aims to provide Kathmandu households with purified drinking water – a real issue in the city. By offering individual filtration units and extended payment terms, their business is able to allow households to breakeven on their investment in 3 years and access water for a much lower price going forward. This is an innovative solution to a rampant problem in the country, made possible by spreading the household’s investment over their payback horizon.
On Thursday, we got the opportunity to attend a Nepalese wedding of one of our student’s cousins, an 800-person affair of excellent food, drinks, and dance. Our team was grateful to be invited by the family and even took over the dance floor to learn Nepalese dance moves. What a unique cultural experience!
On Friday, our host and partner the Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs Forum (NYEF) hosted their monthly social and meeting. We were lucky to be invited and got the chance to sit in on a Q&A session with a local politician and then interact with the members at the social that night. It was fascinating to meet with members who have operations in diverse businesses such as tourism, energy, movies, construction, and finance.
This weekend we travelled to Chitlang, staying at a nice resort in the countryside. It was a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and a good chance for us to bond with Sweety and Cheteze, two NYEF employees who joined us for the weekend with their friends and family. On Saturday we were taken around a small reservoir near our hotel by canoe. After docking, we took an hour to explore the picturesque backdrop of the reservoir, which included forest-covered mountains and a large suspension bridge. We then returned to a relaxing night around the campfire where we enjoyed playing the local game called Carrom, listening to music, and had great conversations. For dinner we had a seemingly endless supply of chicken, paneer (a vegetarian cottage cheese dish), and vegetables roasted over the fire pit. It was a great meal and a good night of bonding with our new friends.
The next morning, we woke up early for what we were told was a light three-hour hike up a Nepalese mountain. Our expectations of a laid-back trek were crushed within the first hour of the hike. The porter took us on a crumbling dirt path that was no more than a meter wide, where any misstep could have led to painful tumble down a steep cliff. Needless to say, it was an exciting journey. After three hours of exhausting uphill climbing (and a few scrapes later), we made it to the summit. On the way back down we decided to take a more relaxing route and explore some local farms.
On Wednesday, we wrapped up our program with our student’s final business pitches. It was a great day all around, with many interesting businesses being presented. We are very confident in their ideas and look forward to seeing many LEADER alumni starting businesses in the country. We hope that we will see many more years of fruitful partnership with NYEF.