To promote the development of knowledge-based enterprises in the country, four aspiring entrepreneurs and three entrepreneurs received cash prizes at the seventh Business Idea Competition of Bhutan (BICOB) in Thimphu yesterday.

Kinley Wangdi’s Green Vibes, a fresh juice bar company from startup category bagged the first prize of Nu 100,000.

Zigyal Tshering, Rohit Upreti, and Tshewang Rinzin’s One click Shop, an electronic shopping mart from idea category bagged the first place with a cash prize of Nu 50, 000.

Happy Pack Lunch Delivery Service, by a group of students from Rangjung Central School, bagged the special prize of Nu 25, 000.

Thimphu TechPark’s chief executive officer, Tshering Cigay Dorji (PhD), said that as Bhutan prepares to diversify its economy and focus on entrepreneurship, it is only fitting that all Bhutanese realise the need to strengthen the economy as one of the means to strengthen the sovereignty.

“If your idea does not win a prize today, it does not imply that the idea is inferior. A business idea’s real worth lies in the successful execution and not in the idea itself. Therefore, real winners will be those who execute their ideas successfully.”

He said that prizes and certificates are only encouragement to execute entrepreneurs’ ideas.

More than 30 business ideas submitted to BICOB since 2012 are under various stages of execution, he said.

Of the 14 entries for the startup category and 125 entries for the idea stage category, 10 were shortlisted for the startup category and 20 for the idea stage category.

Startup category includes those business which are already in the market but have a business license not older than a year, and the idea stage category is for those business ideas that are yet to be executed.

Judges interview the shortlisted entries. Based on the scores the ideas and startups received, winners were selected.

It was learnt that the organising team also visited some schools to raise awareness about the competition.

One of the members of One Click Shop, Rohit Upreti, said it is the right time for entrepreneurship in the country. “In the past, jobs were generated only through government, whereas today, we have the chance and the time to work towards business.”

He said that the team is working on turning their idea into a startup.

This year, a special prize of Nu 25,000 was kept for the best entry for students to raise awareness on entrepreneurship among high school students. About six entries were registered in the category.

BICOB aims to promote innovation for providing gainful employment to the youth, promote inclusive growth, and to lay a stronger foundation for the Bhutanese economy.

It was found that shortlisted entries would be provided free incubation space in the Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre along with a boost camp to enhance their knowledge on business development.

Thimphu TechPark in collaboration with labour ministry and UNDP organised the BICOB.

Rinchen Zangmo