Dechen Dolkar

Four entrepreneurs were selected at the fourth season of  Jabchor in Thimphu yesterday.

The season saw proposals from seven entrepreneurs.

All the selected entrepreneurs had a year’s business experience and they were groomed for more than a month.

The Jabchor has so far launched 15 entrepreneurs in its last three seasons.

The program is increasingly becoming popular with increasing buy-in from prospective investor circles.

Of the four selected businesses, one is Ramesh Rai’s Paro Poultry Farm from Sanggacholing, Samtse. As a first-time entrepreneur, Ramesh bootstrapped his poultry business in 2019 with only Nu 30,000 just with 150 chickens.

The farm has plans to raise Nu 3M and float 20 percent equity shares.

Ramesh Rai aims to become the country’s “undisputed leader” in the poultry business within the next decade.

Remesh Rai said that with the fund he plans to extend the farm by 1,500 chickens, construction of feed manufacturing, feed pelletizer machine and raw materials for the production of feed.

He plans to reduce operating costs by 30 percent through in-house production of poultry feeds, undercut egg prices to achieve major market penetration with consistency in quality, and target 5 percent of market share within 5 years.

The farm is currently the largest poultry farm in Paro and has 1 percent of the total market share in Bhutan.

Azha Pasa, an e-commerce platform, requires Nu 10M fund; it wants to float 10 percent equity shares.

Founder of Azha Pasa, Kinley Wangchuk, quit his government job as an engineer and started Bhutan’s first privately owned radio station. He then set up Bhutan’s first live music club, Mojo Park. His latest start-ups are Azha Pasa and Sibjam.

Azha Pasa saw an investor showing interest in the enterprise on the spot.

Kinley Wagnchuk said that Azha Pasa is an e-commerce mission to disrupt the culture of overpricing and take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward customers. Sibjam is on a mission to make Bhutan self-sufficient in food.

He said that he plans to seek funding through crowdfunding, build a company worth Nu 1B in the next three years, and float an IPO. Azha Pasa has plans to build deliver links in 20 dzongkhags.

“Azha Pasa is not just a business, it is a brand with fans and happy customers,” Kinley Wagnchuk said.

Druna Ghu, a business led by the only female entrepreneur at the season, Chimi Dema, said that all the raw materials are sourced locally, benefiting the local communities and reducing the imports.

Druna Ghu is the first Bhutanese cookie brand developed with native cereals and naturally flavoured with local fruits, vegetables and spices.

Druna Ghu intends to raise funds of Nu 1.5M and float 12 percent equity share.

Chimi Dema said that she plans to produce premium products and invest in better packaging and purchase machinery to expand the production.

The founder of Innovates, Manish Sharma, realised the opportunities of digital transformation. Innovates intends to raise Nu 5M and float 25 percent equity share.

Innovates plans to be the largest IT service and trading company in Bhutan within the next 10 years.

Manish Sharma said that with the fund he plans to invest in recruiting employees and train them in management software, increase product inventory and service areas, and launch an e-commerce platform to increase sales.

Over the years, Innovates expanded from being an IT services company into an IT trading firm.

Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in partnership with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) organised the Season 4 of Jabchor.

Jabchor is a pilot initiative inspired by the concept of ‘Angel Investors’. Angel Investors are individuals who provide entrepreneurs and startups with capital during the early stages of business in return for ownership equity.

In addition to capital, angel investors can also provide valuable advice based on their own experience and connections to their networks. Angel investors invest individually or through the formalities of groups or angel networks which helps in the pooling of capital and better access to finance.

Potential investors are negotiating with entrepreneurs.