Chhimi Dema 

If all things fall into place, Gelephu residents could have a differently modelled cafe in a few months.

The proponents, Chokey Wangmo and Nima Choki pitched the idea which was declared the best business proposal at the end of a weeklong innovation (iSprint) programme on November 8.

“This coffee shop has my heart in it. Gelephu needs a place where one can read, enjoy a cup of coffee and converse,” Chokey Wangmo said.

She said that the cafe would inspire a healthy community by giving residents a place to have healthy conversations.

After a survey, the team found that residents of the Gelephu town wanted a place to sit and relax.  “Socialising is important for mental wellbeing,” she said.

Chokey Wangmo and Nima Choki will attend a seven-week training and compete for the UNDP and Loden Foundation grant.

The iSprint programme was conducted by Innovate Bhutan (iBhutan) that provides support in social entrepreneurship education and innovation skills.

The iBhutan centre trained 24 participants for a week based on its four i-pillars: interconnection, innovation, investment and impact.

One of the participants, Tenzin Yangzom, a Gedu College of Business Studies graduate, said that the iSprint programme provided her with an understanding of social entrepreneurship.

“Social entrepreneurship, not just focuses on profit, but on ideas that help the community by aligning business ideas with the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said. “This programme gave me the confidence to start my business venture.”

Institute for Learning Solutions conducted the weeklong training. Its founder Kesang Om said that the participants would operate a business in a way to give back to the community.

“If one has a social aspect in the business: if one feels good to give back to the community then one stays motivated and focused,” she said. “If you have an idea, a pain-point, you can do something with it.”

Namseling Vegetable Processing, Kuzuzangpo Happiness, Home Grown onion and tomatoes and Union with Nature, and Druk Takorpa were the other ideas pitched by the participants.

The iBhutan Centre was launched by the Youth Development Fund last month.