Chhimi Dema

To provide support in social entrepreneurship education and innovation skills, the Youth Development Fund (YDF) launched Innovate Bhutan (iBhutan) centre on Thursday, October 29.

iBhutan would support aspiring entrepreneurs in finance, technology and other intellectual resources, according to YDF’s chief of social enterprise, Kinley Tenzin who added that the pandemic situation had taught the importance of investing in innovation.

“Recognising the young people’s potential in the post-crisis, iBhutan is a social-economic response to create an impact and epitomise what responsible Bhutanese entrepreneurs can accomplish,” he said.

Based on the four i-pillars— interconnection, innovation, investment and impact—entrepreneurs would receive end-to-end support and collaboration from iBhutan centre.

Kinley Tenzin said iBhutan would be a platform for young entrepreneurs to test their ideas and transfer it into reality. iBhutan will also support aspiring entrepreneurs with other skills in business, human and technological know how.

The first cohort with 32 participants will begin their training next month.

Participants comprises individuals interested in learning business skills, those unemployed and returnees from overseas.

Kinley Tenzin said that participants would identify a problem in the community and align it with the sustainable development goals. Based on the problems, participants will build business ideas.

Upon completion of the weeklong training, Loden Foundation would fund three social business ideas, he said.

iBhutan hopes to connect the programmes on entrepreneurship and innovation held in silos and create a young social business leader in the future, he said.

Kesang Om, founder of the implementing partner-Institute for Learning Solutions, said it was difficult when one does not come with a business background.

“But that does not mean it has to be true for the younger generation who are aspiring entrepreneurs. We want to make sure we want to set a good path,” she said.

The iBhutan centre provides co-working space, mentee-mentor support, power events and networking opportunities for the entrepreneurs.