2 years ago
Entrepreneurship has a viable future
Neeraj Pradhan is a US-based entrepreneur of Nepali origin, who has worked with start-ups as well as entrepreneurs for around a decade. He has been a consultant, an advisor for many companies in California and Washington, and helped them formulate strategies as well as in their mergers and acquisitions. While doing all of that, Pradhan got quite an exposure to entrepreneurship and learned to create new opportunities.
He graduated in Economics from the London School of Economics in 2014, and he also has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Mathematics from Columbia University, NY (2006). He is currently working as Director of Corporate Strategy in Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters, Virginia.
In 2014, CWJ had introduced a new brew of coffee, Nitro Cold Brew,which they provide to offices in Washington. He joined CWJ in May 2017 at the sales department and has contributed a lot to up the sales and put CWJ where it is now. Nasana Bajracharya of My City caught up with Pradhan to talk about entrepreneurship and what he has experienced so far.
How have you observed the changes in entrepreneurship in the US and in Nepal?
Entrepreneurship in US started in the 1960/70s and was largely focused on hardware and required manpower and capital. With the advent of internet, US saw a rise in software businesses. Suddenly, it was more about skills and ideas, and not money. So consequently, the new millennium saw new generation of entrepreneurs in various sectors. The growing network and environment also worked in favor of entrepreneursand it’s been booming ever since. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Airbnb have encouraged entrepreneurship and ideas, not only in the US but also worldwide and has affected other areas of work like healthcare and biotech sectors too. In Nepal, I have had a few chances to interact with people from the community and came to know that the number is definitely increasing. But it is not that easy for entrepreneurs here to thrive.
What do you think makes Nepali entrepreneurs’ journey difficult?
There are many legal and cultural aspects. I came to know that most successful ventures here are family businesses. People starting individually, even if they have brilliant ideas, struggle to get investors for initial capital and right network. Also, there is less respect for one’s intellectual property and no provision for its protection. So, people are hesitant to share and discuss their ideas in public fearing that their ideas will get stolen. Nepal also lacks the legal provisions directing entrepreneurship and hinders entrepreneurs’ growth. Comparatively in the US, there are many angel investors that help entrepreneurs get that push and give shape to their ideas.
What can be done to better the entrepreneurs in quantity and in quality?
There is risk in every business so that should never stop entrepreneurs from thinking, working or even investing. Aspiring entrepreneurs should focus on ideas that make people lives well and have better experiences; this increases the product value. One should always have the right/legal papers. They should be able to pitch their ideas in a confident and gain trust.
Where do you see the future of Nepali entrepreneurship?
Colleges and universities alike are encouraging students toward entrepreneurship, to engage in start-ups, and this is true worldwide, so I see more students and aspiring entrepreneurs entering different sectors in the future. Opportunities today are not restricted to the Silicon Valley, but there are new possibilities of exposure. National, international media are directing their focus toward the sector because of how dynamic it has become. Similarly, parents have also been encouraging their kids to engage in start-ups and supporting those who are already there, so in a nutshell entrepreneurship has a viable future.
Any word of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The world is full of information, so gather as much relevant information that you can on your area of interest. Read as much as you can, research and talk about it. Think about the competitive advantages you could have in your area of work. Focus on service-oriented sectors and work on minimal viable products so that you can start with a small capital. Seek ways to raise money and select co-founders and team members with whom you share the ideas for the business. All of it is very important for a start-up to thrive.