The first Druk Tshongrig Gatoen began in Thimphu yesterday to provide young and interested people with the platform to connect and discuss issues that impede businesses.

Loden Foundation’s president, Karma Phuntsho (PhD), said that the global entrepreneurship week, which was usually organised in November, was not effective in the country. “Last year, stakeholders decided that a local version for the global week would be initiated.”

Druk Tshongrig Gatoen is conducted to help beginners unfamiliar with the concept of entrepreneurship, he said. “The second objective is to help aspiring entrepreneurs who need more skills and support. We have a series of trainers and experts who will provide training.”

The third aim, he said, was to successful engage entrepreneurs to create a new business culture in Bhutan. “A culture that is socially responsible, ethical, environmentally friendly and culturally sensitive.”

Governor of Royal Monetary Authority, Dasho Penjore, said that he was glad to participate in such a festival, which was a new approach to draw young people into entrepreneurship. “However, humbleness should not affect our gateway to doing businesses. Our children should feel that they are born in a blessed country and a good environment. The 12th Plan’s focus is on the economic diversification towards cottage and small industry, which is inspiring for those interested.”

A press release from organisers of Druk Tshongrig Gatoensaid that the festival would not only be celebrated in Thimphu, but also in educational institutes across the country.

It stated that the aim of the festival was to expose young Bhutanese to entrepreneurship and to provide a platform for the community to come together to share entrepreneurial endeavours, experiences, and insights. It stated: “It is also to pledge to become an invaluable part of the ever-thriving startup ecosystem in the country.”

The event will bring together entrepreneurs, thinkers, policy makers, and NGOs to spread awareness about entrepreneurship, empower and educate the country’s upcoming generation of potential entrepreneurs.

Simultaneously, the festivals also have a fair where 30 entrepreneurs will showcase their products and businesses. During the festival yesterday, a book titled “Entrepreneur Stories” was also launched. It encapsulates the entrepreneurial journey of about 90 entrepreneurs in the country.

Loden Foundation’s development manager, Phuntsho Namgay, said that there was a lack of role models in the country. “If somebody wants to become an entrepreneur, we need entrepreneurs who are leading and setting examples.”

Besides celebrating and promoting emerging entrepreneurship culture in the country, the festival was also held to create awareness and build capacity among young Bhutanese, especially those who are unemployed to look at entrepreneurship as an opportunity.

Loden Foundation in collaboration with the labour ministry, United Nations in Bhutan, economic affairs ministry, Thimphu TechPark, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Limited, and Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs organised the festival.

Rinchen Zangmo