Regional Start-up Network workshop helps Bhutanese start-ups find opportunities overseas

The second Regional Start-up Network workshop in Thimphu concluded yesterday, with 20 start-ups taking part in the two-day event. However, the highlight of the workshop was The Mugwort Solution. It has been selected to be the first Bhutanese start-up to participate in the nine-week advanced workshop at the Startup Nexus Hub in Delhi. It was also selected among the top five start-ups last year.

The Startup Nexus Hub, renowned for its comprehensive programmes supporting start-ups at various stages of growth, will provide The Mugwort Solutions and other selected start-ups access to a vibrant ecosystem of mentors, investors, and industry experts, offering them a unique opportunity to refine their business strategies and foster growth.

The Mugwort Solutions is a start-up that uses locally available Artemisia to produce therapeutic products. The founder, who has already had offers from foreign investors while attending the workshops, shared why such workshops are important for local start-ups.

“The Regional Networking workshop helps us start-ups to meet foreign investors and learn how to raise funds with potential investors. Not only that, but we also get to see business ideas from other countries and find ways to make our business work in other countries,” said Jeewan Baral, the founder of Mugwort Solutions.

Inspired by success stories like that of The Mugwort Solutions, other ambitious entrepreneurs from Bhutan shared their aspirations to venture into the international market.

“This platform that ihub, KIIT and RSN are giving, helps us a lot. We get a lot of knowledge about running a business. The two years of the pandemic have affected us. But this opportunity makes us want to do better than ever now,” said Chhimi Dem, the founder of Crystal Moon Products.

“Start-up teams from the SAARC countries get selected for the advanced workshop at Kolkata. There, start-ups get to showcase their products and have a chance at getting angel investors. So, I took the opportunity to participate in this workshop,” said Phuntsho Wangmo, the founder of Yaata Noodles.

The organisers of the workshop said start-ups from remote areas of Bhutan will also be included in future workshops.

“We can’t really reach the remote areas of Bhutan now where several start-ups are doing amazing work. We wish there was something that we could do to facilitate them from the government’s point of view to help them travel for these particular events that we bring in. We are looking for opportunities and creating those ecosystem partnerships with the ministry and other incubators, so that we can run this programme even more successfully next time, and take even more start-ups from Bhutan than just five,” said Soumya Sankalp Mahapatra, the manager of KIIT Technology Business Incubator, India.

In the coming weeks, the second cohort of the top five start-ups from Bhutan will be selected to join entrepreneurs from Nepal, India, and Bangladesh at the advanced workshop in Kolkata.

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