To help entrepreneurs do businesses, right interventions and support will be provided based on the kind of support entrepreneurs require, according to officials from the Department of Cottage and Small Industries (DCSIs).

This was discussed at the Druk Tshogrig Gatoen’s workshop at the Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited’s hall in Thimphu yesterday.

Economic affairs ministry’s chief industries officer, Thinley Palden, said that Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) were selected for flagship programmes as it had the potential to generate and employment economic growth. “The country had been relying on hydropower sector for revenue generation, now we want to focus more on non-hydropower sector, which is economic diversification. Through the flagship programme, we intend to improve the production and manufacturing sector as people are importing more.”

In the 12th Plan, five of the eight flagship programmes are under economic diversification, which includes CSIs flagship programme, startup flagship, organic product, one gewog one product, and tourism, she said.

As of September 13, there were 21,228 operational CSIs in the country with the highest number of about 16,672 industries in service sector, followed by production and manufacturing at 2,421, and construction at 2,135.

Currently, about 95,526 people either own or are employed in CSIs.

Thinley Palden said that agencies concerned would work to nurture innovative ideas. “We are asking for proposals from you where we will also look at the kind of support you need.”

She said that the support would cover creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem. “We are working on stock-taking of current challenges and initiatives and focusing on the kind of support entrepreneurs and CSIs need. Enabling policies and legal framework would be reviewed, which would be accordingly amended.”

Urging over 60 participants attending the session to submit business proposals, she said that the interventions would be based on the information that the entrepreneurs submit.

She said that there were many agencies providing support to CSIs, mostly in bits and pieces. “Training and programmes are all given to the same people and for the same reasons but agencies have been working in silos.”

For instance, after attending training, there was no way of knowing whether the person was using the knowledge for the business, or whether the person was even continuing it, she said.

In a span of five years, the ministry has a target to create about 10,000 jobs. “At present, we are looking at helping 1,547 CSIs, but this will change with more incoming proposals.”

One of the participants, Pema Singye, said that before moving to IT Park, he was in the startup centre. “We were excited to work at the centre but the rental fee there is between three and six thousands.  We also have to pay electricity charges.”

Service centre has internet facility available only in the ground floor, he said. “Many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t have money.”

Thinley Palden said that these things needed to be mentioned in the proposals and that it was demand-based. “If you need to test your ideas you need to go to startup centre but if you want to straightaway go into production, then you can apply for the government land on lease from DCSI.”

As the aim of the flagship is to enhance contribution of the CSIs to the national economy, there are about 13 agencies that will work towards it.

DCSIs will lead the implementation in collaboration with the labour ministry, Department of Trade, Department of Intellectual Property, GNHC, agriculture ministry, Royal Monetary Authority, Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Limited, finance ministry, Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Land Commission, and Druk Holding and Investments.

Rinchen Zangmo