Four Jabchor sessions identify four business owners

The guest and the participants at the 4 Jabchor session

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

Four business owners with at least a year of experience in their field were chosen for the fourth season of Jabchor, and they have been trained for longer than a month.

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) collaborated to organize Season 4 of Jabchor on 18 July in Thimphu.

The press release from the BCCI states that the platform has already pitched 15 entrepreneurs in last three Jabchor seasons and the program has proven to be popular with increasing buy-in from prospective investor circle.

Jabchor is a pilot initiative inspired by the concept of ‘Angel Investors’. Angel Investors are individuals who provide entrepreneurs and startups with capital during the early stages of business, in return for ownership equity, states the press release.

In addition to capital, angel investors can also provide valuable advice based on their own experience and connections to their networks. Angel investors invest individually or through the formalities of groups or angel networks which enables in pooling of capital and better access to finance.

The RMA initiated the Jabchor program and currently it is being coordinated by BCCI with support from relevant stakeholders.

UNDP Resident Representative, Azusa Kubota said that everyone knows that Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating impact, particularly on micro, medium and small business. “However, we were finally seeing the end of the pandemic.”

She said that all are riddle with multiple challenges such as global inflation, increasing in fuel and food prices and continued disruption of supply chain.

The compounded crisis does not make economy recovery easy particularly for CSI, she said “We must accelerate our effort to support platforms like the Jabchor.”

“I hope the Jabchor program would serve as an effective networking platform amongst young and older entrepreneurs and new and mature, micro and small business,” she added.

Ramesh Rai, a founder of Paro Poultry Farm is one of the pitchers from Sanggacholing, Samtse. As a first-time entrepreneur, Ramesh said that he bootstrapped his poultry business in 2019 with only Nu 30,000. Paro Poultry Farm is now the largest poultry farm in Paro and has one percent of the total market share in Bhutan.

Ramesh said he aims to become the country’s undisputed leader in the poultry business within the next decade and plans to reduce his production cost by investing in an in-house production of feeds and cutting supply chain cost by up to 30 percent.

Founder of Azha Pasa, Kinley Wangchuk, an entrepreneur and some consider him to be a brand master, but he likes to think of himself as an artist whose expressions comes in the form of business. At the age of 27, he quit his government job as an engineer and started a one-man show – Bhutan’s first privately owned radio station. He then set up Bhutan’s first live music club “Mojo Park.” His latest start-ups are ‘Azha Pasa’ and ‘Sibjam’. Both are e-commerce platforms. Azha Pasa is on a mission to disrupt the culture of over pricing and the take it or leave it attitude towards customers.

Kinley Wangchuk said during the first nationwide lockdown in the country, people in Thimphu did not have access to fresh vegetables and farmers could not get their farm goods to market. “This provides us with an opportunity to reach out to the farmers nearby Thimphu to pick and deliver fresh vegetables to the people.”

Chimi Dema, founder of Druna Ghu is from Dawakha, Paro. Chimi is a foodie and particularly loves Bhutanese traditional food. Her passion is to create new recipes from local ingredients, which was the inspiration behind her entrepreneurial journey with Druna Ghu. Druna Ghu is the first Bhutanese cookies brand developed with native cereals and naturally flavored with local fruits, vegetables and spices.

She said Druna Ghu is inspired by the rich agricultural practices and food culture of Bhutan. Due to the diverse agro- ecological zones of the country, Bhutan has diverse crops suited for different zones.

Another entrepreneur, Manish Sharma, founder of Innovates graduated with a BSc in Information Management System, he said that realizing the opportunities of digital transformation, he freelanced as an IT consultant and soon quit his job to start his own IT firm.

Over the years, he said innovates expanded from being an IT services company into an IT trading firm, and now he aims to become the largest player in the market within the next decade.

The company had annual turnover of Nu 9.20 million with over 180 clients and 30 percent of market share in the management software segment in Paro and Thimphu alone.

Meanwhile, the season 4 entrepreneurs pitched their business to the potential and interested investors and invited the business partnership in exchange of equity stake.