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“WE HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RAW RESOURCES AND ONE OF THE YOUNGEST POPULATIONS IN THE WORLD AND STARTUPS CAN BE A BRIDGE TO BRING THEM TOGETHER FOR GOOD”

Born in the Eastern Hills of Bhojpur and raised by his grandparents in different parts of Nepal, Rai is an enterprise development enthusiast, policy advocate and a thinker. He holds a degree in Law and Business.

Rai is the Co-founder of Metrokheti.com, a pioneer in urban farming in Nepal. He is the Founding Chairperson of Kalapas Biotech which is Nepal’s largest plant tissue culture lab. He is also the founder of Che&Co, a start-up guidance firm based in Kathmandu.

He started his entrepreneurial journey as a street side jeans seller when he was just 14. Currently, he has investment portfolios in sectors like, food production, real estate, IT, apparel, agriculture, and security.

Business aside, he is a passionate social service volunteer. He is the Co-founder of Youth Thinkers’ Society, one of the largest non-profit organisation working in the field of youth engagement in policy research and advocacy. He is also the Co-founder of Everest International Model United Nations, a premier diplomatic simulation conference in Asia. He has also served as a civil society advisor for UN Women, Nepal.

In this edition of Business 360, Rai shares his pick of top brands and what he has learnt from some of them. Excerpts:

3 brands/people/campaigns that you have learnt something from

• Mumaji – Knowledge is your greatest asset.
• Elon Musk – Investing in the future.
• Goldstar Shoes – Adaptation.

Your work philosophy

Respect the process, be goal driven and time bound – be productive, not busy necessarily – and enjoy

4 apps that you use the most

• Mindly for mind mapping
• Youtube
• DuckDuckGo for browsing
• Facebook Messenger

3 destinations within Nepal you want to travel to

• Barun Valley
• Dolpo
• Bardiya

4 women-run businesses you think deserve accolades

• SOCHAI – Bonita and Team
• Greenspace Nepal – Shanti and Team
• Aji’s – Lorina and Team
• Smart Paani – Sajal and Team

5 entrepreneurs who inspire you constantly

• Muma ji Ram Kumari Rai, my first teacher.
• Street side vendors, tea sellers and corn sellers in Kathmandu
• Mahabir Pun
• Madan Rai
• Anup Ghimire

A nonprofit you want to contribute to

Political Literacy for Women

The best work advice you have received

Decide only when you have a calm mind – Muma ji

4 Nepali startups you think deserve the spotlight

• Best Mad Honey
• Yatri Motorcycles
• Metrokheti.com
• Anthropose

2 Nepali companies whose PR strategies are spot-on

• Viewfinders
• eSewa

If you could change ONE thing about the present entrepreneurial scene in Nepal, what would that be?

Ensure access to finance for startups based on their business and traction.

Five words to encapsulate you

Calm, crazy thinker, living in the present, time thief, a walking paradox

Who among the Nepali and international influencers do you want to work with?

Elon Musk
Mahabir Pun

3 things patrons can do to promote local businesses

• Invest in local businesses
• Provide mentorship
• Lobby for policy reforms

4 things businesses can do to pull themselves up from the abysmal effects of the Covid 19 pandemic

• Audit their business for operational efficiency and optimise where needed.
• Go digital
• Rethink their budget based on the circumstances – reduce, reallocate
• Communicate more with the customers – good PR campaign

2 things the government can do to help startups pull through the Covid 19 crisis

• Subsidise rent
• Assist in accessing finances
• Tax break
• Start a designated startup area

2 Nepali startups you want to collaborate with

• Yatri Motorcycles
• Bugv

Complete the sentence: Startups are important for a country like Nepal because …

• We have a tremendous amount of raw resources and one of the youngest populations in the world and startups can be a bridge to bring them together for good.
• We sit between two of the largest countries in terms of populations (market/consumers) to market our goods.

Ujeena Rana is an academic and writer. She has worked in media for more than a decade. She enjoys walking, wondering, creating, listening to podcasts and singing lullabies to her toddler. She devours national and international news on a daily basis like a hungry person devours everything on the plate.

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