In an effort to guide and help better business ideas, a startup programme with focus on accelerating businesses began in Thimphu yesterday.

Entrepreneurship and self-employment division’s deputy chief programme officer, Ram Bahadur Gurung, said that in the past, several entrepreneurship programmes were conducted. “However, acceleration programmes for potential ideas were never conducted and not many people could pursue and start their businesses.”  

He said that after a boot camp for startups, an acceleration programme needed to be conducted. “Only after that the third phase, the commercialisation of idea would begin.”

The startup acceleration programme is a cohort-based programme that includes connections, mentorship, educational components, and seed investments.

Within three months, business ideas will conclude in a public pitch event or demonstrated to a gathering to accelerate growth of the startup ideas, Ram Bahadur Gurung said.  

He said that although the programme would end within a week, the organizers would keep in touch with the participants. “By the end of the March, we will help launch ideas that are ready. In the programme, we will validate their ideas and look at the status.”

About 10 participants and ten ideas were encouraged to attend the programme.

Participants would learn about traction on business model, design sprints, blue ocean strategy, value proposition canvas and refining business models, among others.

The programme would also include interactions with officials from Royal Monetary Authority, Department of Trade, and economic affairs ministry. 

Ram Bahadur Gurung said that although most of the ideas were technology-based, startup such as natural pigment production was also selected because it was innovative.  “These participants have already attended innovation programmes or undergone entrepreneurship booth camp programmes. They were selected based on their will to work harder. We also looked at an idea’s potential for growth.”

He said that ideas at early stages needed to develop minimum viable product and minimum viable test for investment opportunities and usage by customers. “Startups require considerable time for advice and technical support from mentors and experts.”

Incubation support services and facilities would be provided to participants from Thimphu Techpark, Startup Centre, and iHUB.

Some of the ideas include mobile service banking, rice planting machine, sanitary pad, natural pigment production, Bhutan Organic fertilizer, Menjong Credit, Easy find, and Cyprus.AI.

One of the participants, Roshan Rasaily, said that the programme would be very helpful. “We will get to meet experts and interact with them.”

Some of the challenges, he said, were documentation, which include getting clearances and finance. “I think in my case, there is no issue with market. I expect to built my product although my concern is also about the quality control of the products.”

Labour ministry’s entrepreneurship and self-employment division organised the programme.

Rinchen Zangmo