The two-day Better Business Summit began yesterday in Thimphu with a panel discussion on GNH in business.

Addressing the summit, Prime minister Tshering Tobgay said that a strong economy is only possible if the private sector is equally strong, resilient, and robust.

“The summit will provide opportunities for private and public sectors to further understand and shape the direction of the economy,” he said.

He said the summit would play an important role in achieving collective aspirations to expand key business sectors and increase entrepreneurship as the country prepares to graduate from Least Developed Country status.

Discussing happiness in business, founder of Gross Corporate Happiness Institute, Ruediger Fox (PhD), said that happiness is not a regulation but a shortcut into the future, which comes in anyway.

“In business what we have been actually measuring is profit or cash for 250 years. But, we have to take off our mental norms that measurement is only about financial norms that we have learnt during business classes.”

He said that by getting rid of control, efficiency is achieved. “I personally believe that GNH in business is an extremely efficient way to make your company mid term or long term profitable as it shifts you into different efficiency level.”

Conditions for happiness and employee motivation, he said, are important and that one cannot financially motivate innovation.

Yangphel Adventure Travel’s chief executive officer, Karma Lotay, said that the company has adopted a sustainability programme by recycling the waste the company generates. “We need to look into the welfare of the staff. It is important to grow business while being conscious of the purpose in society.”

President of Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS), Dasho Karma Ura said there is a need for positive business ecosystem in the country.

A press release from the economic affairs ministry states that the summit would be adevelopment forum to promote the growth of businesses by presenting an opportunity to understand and shape the direction of the economy.

Economic affairs secretary, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi, said the summit would provide the needed public private forum. “The theme sustaining goal, underscores the importance the government places on the development path that is consistent with our development philosophy.”

The government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), Bhutan Commerce of Chamber and Industries, CBS and Royal Monetary Authority organised the two-day summit.

Rinchen Zangmo