Entrepreneurship: Wanting to become rich overnight had killed many a brilliant business ideas.

If today entrepreneurs face challenges getting loans to start their projects, they have only entrepreneurs of the past to blame.

This is what Druk Holding and Investment’s chairperson Dasho Sangay Khando said to more than a hundred aspiring entrepreneurs at the Global Entrepreneurs Week yesterday.

The state had a bad taste of supporting entrepreneurs in the past that had eroded the trust and confidence in the private sector.

The trade and industry ministry had a division similar to Business Opportunities and Information Centre mandated to promote start up. The division helped the entrepreneurs even to develop their project proposals, and seeking loans from banks.

“We realised after training the entrepreneurs that they could not get loans as banks then did not give project-based loans,” Dasho Sangay Khando said.

However, entrepreneurs misused the loans buying vehicles and jeopardising their projects. The ministry and banks then kept an eye on every project to the extent of giving the money directly to the supplier of equipment to prevent misuse.

BoiC had similar issues with some clients filing fake projects to avail of low-interest loans.

Access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges for the start ups.

“We’ve even tried to avail of funding from abroad but did not have much luck,” said Pushpa Chhetri, a social entrepreneur.

Bhutan slipped two places to 73 out of 190 countries in the “ease of doing business” ranking released last month by the World Bank. The country scored poorly on the getting credit criterion at 82nd position and 94th in starting business.

However, Bhutan is the easiest country to do business in South Asia.

Economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji said the country’s access to loans have improved after the government established BoiC, then Rural Enterprise Development Corporation and pumped Nu 2.1 billion into the banks for loans.

He said Bhutan has consistent policy on developing private sector, political stability and enabling environment for business.

“Doing business could ease after completion of East-West highway widening, industrial estates, and the blacktopping of gewog centre roads,” the minister said.

He said proper infrastructure is essential to create an enabling environment for business.

The most significant task at hand for the entrepreneurs in the country is gaining the trust and diligently showing progress.

Tshering Palden