Thinley Namgay

The third Annual Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) Fair 2019 began yesterday at Changlimithang in Thimphu coinciding with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Around 60 entrepreneurs from across the country displayed varieties of local arts and crafts products, food items, religious items, metal products, and utensils.

Department of Cottage and Small Industry(DCSI) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) is organising the event.

The event aims to diversify local products and to enhance inter-business network among the entrepreneurs.

DCSI’s Director General, Tandin Tshering, said that if we did not buy the local products, our startups and CSIs would not be able to make significant contributions for economic growth.

Minister of Agriculture and Forest, Yeshey Penjore, said that CSI had the potential to uplift the economy of the country and the ministry, international communities, bilateral partners and financial institutions of the country must work together to promote CSIs.

“It’s encouraging to see the youth taking part in entrepreneurship. To attract customers, entrepreneurs should focus on producing quality products,” said Lyonpo Yeshey Penjore.

At the event, five entrepreneurs were awarded the Bhutan Enterprise Award (BEA) in five different categories.

The award recognises the entrepreneurs to encourage the culture of entrepreneurship at all levels.

BEA was started in 2013 and it is the seventh edition of the award.

Cottage scale entrepreneur of the year was awarded to Yeshi Dorji Yangden of ‘Crystal Moon Products’ based in Sarpang. She deals with the food items.

Dolay Tshering, 37, from Thimphu was declared as the small-scale entrepreneur of the year. He is the proprietor of ‘Himalayan Incense’ at Wangsisina, Thimphu.

“I am glad that I received the award. Such awards will encourage entrepreneurs which in turn will help create employment opportunities for youth” said Dolay Tshering. He started his business in 2015.

“A total of 11 youth are working under me and currently we sell four different types of sang (incense powder) and two types of incense sticks. We also export our products to India, Nepal, Taiwan, Japan and China,” Dolay Tshering said.

Women entrepreneur of the year is the Dema Tshering of Dema Tshering Paper Manufacturer in Trashiyangtse. She deals with hand-made paper.

Rinzin Wangchuk and Wangchuk Kuenga of ‘Bhutan Herbal Tea’ in Bumthang were awarded the rural entrepreneur of the year.

Service entrepreneur of the year was awarded to Kamal Raj Gurung of Tamu Worldwide Shipping Private Limited.

All the five enterprise award recipients were awarded with the cheque of Nu 200,000 and certificate each.

Seven new products of CSI were also launched at the fair: Herbal tea products, detergent and toilet cleaning products, socks, freed meat, zhabtog app and Bhutan pay app.

Dragon Coder’s chief executive officer, Leki Choden, said that the startup started making online zhabtog app from earlier this year in July.

“It is an online market platform and will allow every shop to register and create a virtual shop to sell the products,” said Leki Choden, adding that zhabtog was developed by the Bhutanese developers to fill the current market needs in the country. “Our goal is to become a global market for digital service outsourcing from Bhutan.”

Participants said that the annual CSI fair was helpful.

Pema Dechen from Kangpara, Trashigang, said that through the fair the new businesses were able to educate potential customers about the products. She is the owner of the baker’s basket located in Motithang, Thimphu.