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"Entrepreneurship promotes women empowerment," says Hima Upadhyay

"Entrepreneurship promotes women empowerment," says Hima Upadhyay

My entrepreneurial journey has started in 2011. I was working as a national level magazine distributor at that time. Then, I have started my own business because I felt the gap between the economically prosperous and the poor. Due to the lack of business background and poor financial background, I faced many problems at beginning of my business. Firstly, it took some effort to raise and mobilize capital. Working in a team, group mobilization was also a challenge for my business. I got married when I was in class 12 and I was also distributing newspapers. Then, I invested in a printing press. Now, we have invested in about 15 sectors in the name of BC Group including the printing press.

Although Karnali is large in terms of area, it has been lagging behind economically. The first problem for entrepreneurs face here is the lack of access to finance. The second thing is to be centralized thinking of everyone. Now while I am doing printing business, a lot of work goes out of Karnali. Another problem here is the lack of capable manpower. Among other numerous problems we face, a lack of capable young people, lack of raw materials, irregular power supply are some of the most pressing problems faced by the entrepreneurs in Karnali.  Similarly, the government doesn't have a targeted policy towards entrepreneurship and increasing investment in entrepreneurs. Neither the entrepreneur nor the government can guarantee that they will get investment.

My experience as a woman entrepreneur is that entrepreneurship and women empowerment are tied to one another. Women can become entrepreneurs. However, it is not easy for women to start any business. It is difficult for many to manage the time between the enterprise and the family. I think Karnali will only prosper when women become involved in entrepreneurship. Thus, we also need targeted government policy to encourage women to engage in entrepreneurship.

I never had the mentality that I should get a job. If I had a job, I would have only one source of income. Today dozens of other people have found employment because of my ventures. I encourage others to start their own businesses as well. If someone wants to start a new venture, the first thing he/she needs is a business plan. You need to know the market for the goods and services you produce or distribute. Investment is also needed for the enterprise. But not all ventures require a huge investment. Start with a small investment but entrepreneurs need confidence that I can do it.

The growth of entrepreneurship is being hindered largely because of government policies. There is an absence of policies to motivate entrepreneurs. The government needs to formulate an entrepreneur-friendly policy. Regardless of how many local and provincial governments are formed, nothing will change unless they change their centralized thinking. Despite the abundance of resources in Karnali the lack of an investment-friendly environment and inconvenient government policies are preventing the growth of entrepreneurship in Nepal. I think the government should come up with a real policy that will be implemented not only on paper but in practice as well.

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