Nima Yoezer, 19, has decided to start a small business.

He made the decision after attending a two-day hazelnut entrepreneurship-training programme on June 7 along with 22 unemployed youth at Lingmethang, Mongar.

The class 12 graduate from Lhuentse High School said he would go for mass asparagus cultivation after returning home.

“Currently, I have planted asparagus on a 10 decimal land and I want to expand my business,” he said.

Nima Yoezer said he became a farmer after he didn’t qualify for studies. “The training has helped me come up with a business plan. I learnt how to identify and assess business ideas, strategy, and the mechanisms available to help me set up the business.”

Like him, another school dropout, Sonam Choden, 21, said she decided to go for agriculture product business.

She is from Atola, a remote village in Thangrong gewog, Mongar where farmers produce vegetable but do not have a market to sell.

She said she wants to help farmers sell their products.

The 2017 graduate of Mongar Higher Secondary School said she babysits her sister’s child in Lingmethang, Mongar, today.

“I was worried about what I would do in life,” she said. “The entrepreneurship training is helpful to start a business and gain knowledge. “I am confident I will do something.”

Labour ministry’s trainer, Dawa Zangmo Tamang, said the two-day programme was expected to create awareness on entrepreneurship and business opportunities in Mountain Hazelnuts Venture.

“Mountain Hazelnuts Venture has identified few ideas for youth interested to take it up. They can also pursue other business ideas,” she said.

The project’s trainer, Kezang Tshering, said they have different business opportunities for unemployed youth.

Managing Director of Mountain Hazelnut, Dr Sean Watson, said the project aspires to not only directly impact hazelnut farmers but also benefit the rest of society.

“While Mountain Hazelnut employs more than 800 staff, an additional 1,200 people earn income by providing goods and services in support of the value-chain. This series of entrepreneurship and financial literacy trainings is another tangible demonstration of the company’s broader commitment in the country,” he said.

He also said that the communities would benefit from additional economic opportunities and help reduce youth unemployment. “During the training programme, unemployed youth got acquainted with various business ideas and opportunities in the hazelnuts field such as tree plantation, labour supply, transportation and drying of hazelnuts.”

Similar training programmes would be held in other eastern dzongkhags. Mountain Hazelnuts expects to train 130 unemployed youth in the eastern dzongkhags.

After completing the training in all the six-eastern dzongkhag, two participants with best business plans from each dzongkhag will be selected to undergo entrepreneurial internship with Mountain Hazelnuts in Lingmethang, Mongar.

Mountain Hazelnuts and labour ministry conducted the training with support from Asian Development Bank and Swedish Government.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar