The third Bhutan International IT and Training Event (BIITTE) was held from June 21 to 22 in Thimphu to promote Bhutan as an investment destination for global IT or Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) business and to promote techno-entrepreneurship startup eco-system.

Themed ‘promoting techno-entrepreneurship for digital economy’, the event’s aim was to connect Bhutanese startups with international investor communities, facilitate and provide platforms for local industry to explore international business opportunities and partnerships, learn from knowledge, experience and review best international ICT initiatives and practices.  

President of Bhutan ICT and Training Association (BICTTA), Phub Gyeltshen, said that although government has come up with many initiatives, the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs and startups is finding investors. “We are trying to network the incubator centres, startups and entrepreneurs in the country with international investors.”

He said that entrepreneurship is a way forward to transform ICT industry in the country from dependent to innovative one for which the BICTTA intends to be the catalyst through such events.  “Technology has now become a necessity and there is a need for transformation from sale and supply to solution. To transform ideas into business and deliver services ICT is the key,” he said. “It is the industry which can create self employment with limited resources.”

Director general of Department of IT and telecom (DITT), Jigme Thinlye Namgyal, said that the startups in Bhutan were still at a nescient stage but that the government had been encouraging youths to take up entrepreneurship. “We need students to come up with new ideas, then start up, incubate and built a company. We are looking at creating that kind of scenario.”

He said that ICT is one enabler sector which can be used in any business or company. “They could use ICT to drive in efficiency, to reduce turnaround time, and to connect to the outside world in a better and cheaper way. In ICT if we work alone we will not progress much.”

Information and communications minister DN Dhungyel said that ICT had become an essential part and revolutionaised the way people do business, acquire knowledge and avail services, communicate, share views and interact with friends and family around. “ICT industry in Bhutan is at a nescient stage. The development of IT and IT based industries is identified as one of the prime priorities of the government.”

BICTTA in collaboration with DITT and Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) organised the event.

ASOCIO established in 1984 is an ICT federation organised by ICT associations with representives from 24countires throughout Asia-Pacific. The core objective of ASOCIO is to promote, encourage and foster relationships and trade between its member economies and develop the computing industry.

BICTTA was established as an industry representative body for ICT and training industry of Bhutan with the mandate to promote and develop the ICT industries both at national and international level.

Karma Cheki