Many Bhutanese have ventured into entrepreneurial careers, but only a handful of them have story of success to tell. Finance and resources determine the growth of an enterprise, but willingness and the courage of the entrepreneur to upscale their business is critically important.

A five-day workshop at Sherubtse College in Trashigang discussed the importance of physiological aspects to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Marco Van Gelderen, associate professor with the Vrije University of Amsterdam, said that the intention to grow further is one of the important determinants in becoming a successful entrepreneur.    “Although very obvious, there are many studies that have proven this. Those who have the desire to grow are the ones who become successful in expanding their business.”

Sherubtse’s focal person with the enterprise development programme cell, Jigme Singye, said Bhutanese entrepreneurs have not displayed major success with their business ideas. “Companies and businesses that began some six years ago can be still seen at the same level.”

Jigme Singye said that the concept of entrepreneurship in the country is focused only on being self-sustaining. “There are no workshops and training aimed at up-scaling the quality and production of an enterprise. This has to change if we want our enterprises and businesses to grow and contribute to the economy.”

He said that the college is planning to establish an incubation centre where business ideas would be given all the necessary support to help them grow. “The centre will enable entrepreneurs to find the missing link that is hindering the growth of businesses currently.”

Marco Van Gelderen said that a demand-driven entrepreneurial setting, where the demands come from the customers, should work for Bhutan. “If there is no demand for the services of an enterprise or a business firm, it would surely not prosper.”

He said that in the Netherlands, there were initially too many supply-driven entrepreneurs with many ideas, but lack of market space for these ideas led to system to change into a demand-driven setting.

Marco Van Gelderen suggested that if stakeholders from the government, corporations and NGOs could advertise the type of services they require from aspiring entrepreneurs, it would foster an effective service delivery system. “If the government wants more economic activities in the eastern part of the country, they could organise competitions where potential entrepreneurs could come up with their business models. The solution that appeals to them could then be taken on and worked further with the entrepreneurs.”

He said that there are enough issues in Bhutan that could be addressed by introducing such competitions. “It has been a successful model in the Netherlands. This can work in Bhutan too.”

Younten Tshedup | Kanglung