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A whole generation of young people is doing exciting new things – creating milestones in sport, arts, entrepreneurship. There are businesses that were never thought of before and what is more important is that this set of people has found ways and means to finance their dreams through innovative approaches. But sustainability remains a big question with many businesses not seeing past a year of survival.

Some of our exports have long held place of pride in different markets globally but their growth has unfortunately been compromised due to the decade long insurgency and continuing political instability. Our handicrafts, handmade paper, pashmina, metal work, traditional jewellery, thangkas and carpets are invaluable art forms in themselves. Today, handicraft entrepreneurs are not just struggling to stay in business but are finding it difficult to innovate and retain talent. The story for most SMEs is the same.

The government has placed strong emphasis on tourism, hydropower and agriculture in its entire economic agenda. We talk about FDI and mega projects. We talk about infrastructure development and reconstruction. But where are the people to fulfill this? A lot can be said and done on paper but the harsh reality is that it is as difficult to find an office peon as it is to find a CEO.

It is time that we awaken to the need for developing the skills of the manpower available here. Having a college degree is not enough, the youth must be exposed to life skills and work skills that will create better work opportunities for them and also inculcate a sense of responsibility and work integrity. Entrepreneurship is great, but young people need to also know that not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. Business colleges in the country need a more open and creative curriculum that allows young people to find what they are good at.

Meanwhile, the internet has revolutionised the way we think and do things. We travel to places we never considered possible before, we eat foods and learn languages and break down barriers in reaching our goals. Today Usain Bolt‘s run is as familiar to us as humanitarian crisis in Syria or a tomato festival in Spain or a Lakhey Naach in Patan or the Presidential elections in the United States. We are connected like never before. And all this can be used to our advantage. I am especially excited to see franchise models of our own brands making their way into the wider world. Himalayan Java is one such successful story. I am hoping there will be many more.

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