It will support Loden Foundation that has similar programmes

Entrepreneur: The Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) has decided to do away with its Business Entrepreneurship Growth and Innovation (BEGIN) Programme, to avoid recurring initiative.

However, to render its support in promoting private sector, it has provided Loden foundation with Nu 20 million for entrepreneurship development. Half the amount is given by Bank of Bhutan, a DHI owned company, free of interest.

A separate funding window was launched yesterday, called the Loden-DHI fund, for aspiring entrepreneurs, which is collateral and interest free.

Such investments from the DHI would continue from the fund it used to set aside for BEGIN program, assured DHI’s officiating chief executive officer, (Dr) Dambar S Kharka.

“Our interest in supporting private sector can be achieved by such indirect investments,” he said. As the state investment arm, he said DHI realized that putting hand in too many things was also not good.

He said that Loden Foundation has the potential and expertise with success stories in mentoring and training young people, which resulted in the partnership.

(Dr) Damber S Kharka said DHI would continue to provide assistance wherever possible but the funding criteria would be as per the guidelines set by Loden Foundation.

Nevertheless, he said its equitable distribution of fund must be there to ensure that all fund does not land up in one or two project proposals. “We encourage entrepreneurs to start small.”

The President and the Founder of Loden Foundation, (Dr) Karma Phuntsho, said that the state was the main driver of the economy until now. But that is changing, he said, from subsistence agriculture the country’s economy has now moved towards a capitalist and consumerist one. “Loden’s attempt is to make that transition happen smoothly,” he said. “And the state investment company working with us is major milestone of public-private partnership and timely.”

However, he said should the country aim for a sustainable and strong economy, private sector ought to be the engine. “But it is both the state and the private sector’s responsibility that the business culture grows in a responsible and ethical manner rather than being driven purely by profit motive.”

Meanwhile, the call for business proposals will be made by September 5.

Tshering Dorji