Yangchen C Rinzin 

An autonomous business startup centre would be created by June 2020 under the startup and cottage and small industries (CSI) flagship.

The draft operational modality for startup has been completed.

The flagship programme would provide holistic support covering the entire business phases and create an enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem for the development of CSIs.

The programme will also train youth in the entrepreneurship.

Presenting the CSI flagship programme to the Prime Minister last Friday, department of CSI reported that 40 youth (27 female) were trained in Mongar and 23 females are being trained in Samtse.

The programme will conduct similar trainings in other dzongkhags.

A business advocacy workshop was also conducted for 361 participants.

However, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that more than just providing training, there was a need for the department to monitor and follow up on the outcome/achievements of such training.

“How many of these trained youth are not doing well and has established a business or not,” Lyonchhen said. “What are the hiccups they’re facing so that the government can intervene or intervene through policy.”

Lyonchhen also reminded that the flagship to keep a record and see how it could improve to encourage youth for entrepreneurship whether they fail or are successful.

“The aim should not be only to attract mass entrepreneurs. We’re also working to fast track the work on the autonomy and talking with the GNHC,” he said.

To ensure and enhance access to market, it also plans to create market platforms by organising CSI fairs, Expos and roadshows where new products would be launched. It would also establish business incubation centres in different regions.

A startup centre would be also set up at Gyelposhing in Mongar and Samtse. The service centre at Changzamtog in Thimphu would be strengthened. A Brand Bhutan Guidelines would also be implemented and 10 products have been identified for standardisation.

The department of CSI has also completed a draft implementing modality for product promotion in the dzongkhags to support import substitution of CSI products like noodles and sanitary towels.

However, officials from the department of CSI also requested for government’s support for direct procurement or to allow procurement through limited tendering under flagship to ease the procurement of works/consultancy services for machines and equipment. They cited the work is often delayed due to a lengthy procurement process.

An official also requested support from the ministry of foreign affairs for the identification of partners or to explore possibilities of hiring spaces for market establishment abroad, as reflected in the flagship.

“Although we wrote to the ministry seeking support and also did the follow up on the establishment of a market outside Bhutan,” an official said. “We were told that establishment is not possible within the premises of the embassy.”

A total of Nu 1.2 Billion has been approved for the flagship.

Meanwhile, the flagship, designed as a key channel to boost the economy, department of CSI would be moved to the labour ministry from the economic affairs once the TVET becomes autonomous.