The first batch of entrepreneurs graduated from the year old incubation centre iHub on June 2 in Thimphu

The graduating entrepreneurs or businesses are – Happy delivery, Druk Digital advertisement, Green Vibes, Team Happy, Sadone Design and R2Project.

The businesses include from operating a smoothie shop, sports event coordinator to waste bottle-recycling efforts.

iHub is a pre-incubation and co-working space developed to build a strong eco-system to nurture innovation and startups in the country.

Creative manager of iHub, Tashi Wangdi, said that the six entrepreneurs have completed a year-long intensive pre-incubation period. “The six were able to gain traction and create employment opportunities.”

He said that the pre-incubation programmes enable innovators to build their startups through synergy of the business plan with global best practices. “This helps them to successfully enter the market and scale up their business.”

The pre-incubation period included programmes on market fit and customer feedback, IP and competition, marketing and road mapping, primary market research, finances and pitch methodology and building networks.

Tashi Wangdi said that the graduates would now move out of the incubation centre. “But they can always opt to use our co-working space.”

At the graduation, the entrepreneurs shared about the difficulties they faced as startups, the motivation and passion driving their ideas, and their gratitude to the incubation centre and other agencies that supported them.

The 27-year-old founder of Happy delivery, Jigme Singye, said that entrepreneurs want to make impact in the society. “We are not here just to earn money; we want to make life easier for the people so that they can use that time for some other productive things.”

Director general of department of employment, Sherab Tenzin said there is a need to promote cottage and small industries, which has the most job opportunities. “We need to promote CSIs which are driven by individuals. No amount of government support would help if individuals are not driven,” he said. “Our youth must think of business as a way forward when they are in schools, colleges and universities.”

There are 12 startups at the incubation centre today.

Karma Cheki