Dechen Dolkar  

The Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship under the labour and human resources ministry conducted entrepreneurship courses for the laid-off drayang employees. So far, the ministry has conducted three batches of entrepreneurship courses for more than 80 former drayang employees at Thimphu, Paro, and Phuntsholing.

The courses were provided to provide opportunities to former drayang employees to develop skills and knowledge necessary for a sustainable livelihood.

The course had been tailored to adapt to the diverse educational backgrounds of the participants.

Labour Minister Karma Dorji said that the entrepreneurship course is meant to change the conventional thinking of employment under an organisation for self-employment through the formation of enterprises and build entrepreneurial competencies necessary for a successful entrepreneurial journey.

Lyonpo said that the course was organised to acquaint the participants with basic skills and attributes of entrepreneurship by providing guidelines to successfully operationalise and implement their business ideas into action.   

Lyonpo said that the training venue was convenient since most of the drayangs are located at Thimphu, Paro, and Phuentsholing.

“To encourage more participants, the qualification of the participants is also not required. The trainers have to re-modify the content. The environment was made more conducive by allowing even their kids at the training,” Lyonpo said.

More than half of the participants pitched different business ideas.

In each batch, the prize money of Nu 50,000 was awarded to the four best business ideas.

Lyonpo said that the business ideas they pitched were very practical and implementable.

Lyonpo said that their proposal would be refined and they will be linked to the financial institutions for the loans.  “If the business is viable, there is a national credit guarantee scheme to support the entrepreneurs.”

Lyopnpo also mentioned that it is not necessary for aspiring entrepreneurs to be successful. “The ministry’s focus is to give skills so that they can perform.”

The programme officer of the entrepreneurship promotion division, Sangay Wangchuk, said that some of the aspiring entrepreneurs had distinct business ideas such as making chips out of jackfruit, smart car washing and producing mushroom ezay, among others.

The director-general of the Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship, Kunzang Lhamu, said that 53 of the former employees did not want to avail any training and wanted to be employed directly.

She said that during the registration, more than 490 came forward but only 161 turned up for the training.

The ministry will also be providing post-training support such as critical skills training under the business acceleration program; Nu 5,000 each for those who start their business through Youth Engagement and Leadership Program and other facilitation support.

Lyonpo said that however, once they have recruited the employees, remuneration would be given to employees only.

Aspiring entrepreneurs were also introduced to basic ideas of business book-keeping, building skills in business management, financial literacy, marketing strategies, business plan writing, prototyping, pitching and networking which are essential and integral parts to start a business, among others.

The ministry spent around Nu 1.7M for the training.