Investment comes with trust

The Bhutan Crowdfunding platform has spurred on the growth of three startups in seven months. 

When access to finance is deterring entrepreneurs, and banks turning them down frequently, this platform has come as a promising alternative source of financing. A new investment avenue for the public is being shaped. 

The world’s smallest stock exchange has shown the way concerning innovative financing model and that too backed by technology. What is even more captivating is that the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan has developed these online portals including the trading and live market orders inhouse.

The government may want to take note of these developments because the stock exchange is well equipped to promote the capital market. What they lack is interest from the bigger companies to go for listing and government’s stubbornness to divest shares of state enterprises. 

The stock exchange, however, is preparing small startups to gradually go for initial public offering (IPO). The three startups will be required to hold AGM, form a board of directors and comply with regulations. When these companies come for IPO, it is expected that their operation is already in sync with corporate governance codes. This is besides the jobs they create in the value chain could be huge. 

Notwithstanding the reality, the idea appears promising. 

In reality, the stock exchange is shrinking with few mining companies on the verge of delisting. Lack of incentives coupled with heavy regulation is not attracting new listings. Even as we boast of the success of crowdfunding, our young entrepreneurs are struggling to gain investors’ trust. 

Our economic policies and regulations must be coherent and converge on the same course. Even other policies and laws must be sensitive to the economic needs. Trust factor must be entrenched at every stage, between the government and the private sector in particular. 

Technology should be perceived as an inevitable tool to pursue futuristic economic development.

Nevertheless, the market capitalisation has touched record high due to vigorous trading in the secondary market. But we need more players, not just to promote local investment but to create decent jobs, given the potential and credibility that comes with the listing.

For now, our young faces behind the startups need motivation and investment to scale up. The story of Microsoft, Facebook and other global giants would have been different if their young promoters suffered from trust vacuum.

Our collective effort and a small sum could help them create giant companies that will steer a self-reliant economy. 

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