Thukten Zangpo

Three business ideas pitched by the college students from nine colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) were declared winners at the university business idea competition held in Thimphu on October 21.

The RUB initiated the competition to promote an entrepreneurial mindset among RUB students in the face of dwindling job opportunities.

A friend of Bhutan and philanthropist, George Goh from Singapore, will sponsor the prize money of SD 10,000 (about Nu 550,000) each to the winners (the full amount will be disbursed during the incubation and start of the businesses). An upfront cash prize of Nu 30,000 each will be also awarded to the three winners from the RUB’s internal fund.

One of the winning ideas, a boxing studio pitched by a Royal Thimphu College student, was to extend their studio.

A member of the boxing studio, Tandin Lhamo, said that they will invest the prize money to upgrade the studio and procure more equipment. The studio has 52 clients.

“The initiative encourages the youth to come up with entrepreneurship ideas,” she added. The studio offers exercise routines that combine shadowboxing, cardio, plyometric, core work, and heavy bag training to provide a fun and fitness fusion experience.

Team Zumtrul of College of Science and Technology

Team Lean-C Technology of Sherubtse College

The Boxing Studio team from Royal Thimphu College

Another winner, College of Science and Technology’s ‘Zumtrul’, is a web-based platform on augmented reality for better schooling and learning. It digitalises the objects into three dimensions.

A member of Zumtrul, Loday Tempa Gyeltshen, said that their hard work of four months has paid off, since the technology is new. He said the prize money will be helpful in making their ideas come into fruition even better. The college has also assured them a sum of Nu 0.5million. They have plans to localise the contents to take up augmented reality into lessons in schools.

Sherubtse College’s Lean-C technology uses an automatic light intensity controller using a light-dependent resistor (LDR) sensor and timer coded in an ATMEGA 328 microprocessor with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb. This would save electricity consumption by automatically operating the light.

A member, Chogyel Tenzin, said that the initiative gave them the platform to innovate and plan for further development of the prototype in their college incubation centre.

Gracing the event, Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Karma Dorji, said that the economy of the country will greatly benefit if the educated youths in the country are trained and involved in entrepreneurship economic activities.

Lyonpo assured that the government will provide a conducive environment with policies and initiatives in place to support a culture of entrepreneurship.

He said access to finance, access to markets, and fiscal incentives for 21 identified products, among others, will be made available. Lyonpo added that the government is carrying out a feasibility study for a dedicated entrepreneurship institute.