Suman Shakya is an entrepreneur, consultant and trainer. He is the Managing Director of SmartPaani, a private company that provides sustainable water management solutions in Nepal and has won the Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneur Award in 2014 ; Co-Founder of Rooster Logic, a technology company that enables organisations to make decisions based on evidence, and Co Founder of Nepal Entrepreneurs’ Hub which fosters entrepreneurial ecosystem to build Nepal as an economically empowered nation. Suman Shakya’s entrepreneurial journey started with bitarak.com and he has since been involved in many companies. An MBA graduate, he also teaches Marketing at different colleges. He is also the Past President of Everest Toastmasters Club.
Here, the versatile Shakya shares the five forces that have impacted his work and life:
Family instills in you the values and ethical codes for life. My father is one of the first people to leave his traditional work and become an entrepreneur. He used to travel a lot. My mother’s patience and my father’s perseverance instilled in us the courage to make something of our lives. My uncle is differently-abled and was in bed for 57 years. He too has been a strong source of inspiration for me. Despite the challenges, he did almost all things by himself with very little help. He was very philosophical and knowledgeable.
Family for me is extremely important because it instilled in us the culture of doing good. It’s not just profits you aim for but to impact society with greater good.
Education and books
We are fortunate that our parents thought our education should be good. We got exposure to the best education. I studied in Kalimpong. I was not saddled by the learning of Kathmandu. There I learned new thoughts about innovating and trying new things. I was very fortunate to have good teachers who challenged us. They pushed us into finding a creative way to solve problems and today I think it has helped me to channel my thoughts into doing that with everything I undertake. I always try to find creative ways to solve problems.
I’ve always been fond of reading books regardless of genre. Reading books is one of the most essential tools you can use to achieve anything in life. It is the most efficient way to absorb knowledge.
Kolkata was my first experience of city life. I did my Masters there. I jumped from being a bio-science student to a management student. I was a big introvert. I never talked to people, forget about giving public speeches. The city opened up my horizon. It pushed me and transformed me as a person, and instilled in me the belief that I can do and achieve things.
There are so many problems. Where ever you go, you see problems, but in those problems, you see solutions. When I started SmartPaani, it was to address scarcity of water. In a way problems are good because if you don’t have problems you won’t find solutions. You can only think about solutions because there are problems. When I talk about entrepreneurship at large I always question startups and entrepreneurs about what problem they are solving? If you are not solving a problem then your product and service will not sell.
There is a huge lack of correct information in Nepal. What is the labour requirement in Nepal? If I was to do a marketing campaign, what kind of media do I use? There is simply no data on media. It is only based on assumption. The intent to find the right and correct information drives me. We should always be on a constant search for correct information. We should not base our decisions on assumptions, but should now evolve to have evidence based decision making. That is something I try to do myself and encourage others to do as well.