Phub Dem | Haa 

Phuntsho Norbu decided to stay home and help his father’s incense business after completing his class 12.

His family began incense production years ago, but the business remained stagnant and limited to the domestic market.

Phuntsho attended a two-week introductory entrepreneurial course, which helped him understand the potential of product diversification and write business proposals to seek additional funding.

His idea was selected as one of the four best business ideas.

The Department of Employment and Human Resources, in collaboration with Thimphu Techpark Limited (TTPL) and Haa dzongkhag administration conducted the course.

The course was aimed at promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial culture among the youths. It also encourages youths to take up entrepreneurship as a preferred career option.

Officials, who provided the training, said the best four were selected based on readiness and viability to start the business immediately.

Phuntsho Norbu said the introductory course helped him understand the support provided by the government and different stakeholders. “I realized the importance of packaging and branding my products to capture the global market.”

With the availability of medicinal and other herbs from Sombaykha to the mountains of northern Haa, he said that Rigsum Incense Plant would target the global market at the earliest.

Meanwhile, 17 youth from Haa took part in the course.

A trainer from TTPL, Tshewang Dorji, said that stakeholders would help the entrepreneurs with post-training services such as facilitating access to finance, equipment, license and clearances. “We will also provide mentoring and incubation space.”

The training was focused on oversea returnees, laid-off employees and job seekers.

The entrepreneurs were introduced to entrepreneurial concepts and relevant officials of various agencies to support the startups.

A participant, Sonam Norbu, is planning to open a Burger Point in a month.

Having worked in a burger company while in the Middle East, he said that he was all set up to open the first fast-food stall in Haa.

With the pandemic, he had to leave his job and return home. “I will use locally available buns, veggies and make local sauces as well.”

Another participant, Pema Tshering, said the training helped him network with the relevant focal person in the dzongkhag.

It has been more than two months since he has started a cookie business in Haa.

He said that branding and packaging were essential to market his produce. “I know the contact points and where to seek support from.”