KATHMANDU, Feb 18: Women entrepreneurs participating in the 2nd International Women’s Trade Expo have said that not only had they found it very difficult to obtain capital to start their businesses, but that starting a business with a smaller investment was also no longer proving viable.
Sarswati Bhandari, a Parbat-based entrepreneur involved in making and selling spices, candles, josh sticks and mushroom, says running businesses smoothly as women entrepreneurs had been difficult for her and other women small business owners in her region.
“However, sustain my business became much easier after I got some financial support from the Federation of Women’s Entrepreneurs of Nepal (FWEAN). I was finding it difficult running my business early on. But later FWEAN started supporting me by providing different material for my business and by giving opportunities to participate in different workshops.
Likewise, Parbati Kumari Chaudhari, an entrepreneur based in Kailali, says she started her handicraft business with a Rs 5,000 investment.
“After getting in contact with FWEAN, I have got a loan of Rs 100,000 without having to put up collateral. FWEAN has helped me and other women entrepreneurs like me get loans to expand our business,” Chaudhari said.
According to Hajuri Bista, treasurer of FWEAN, says entrepreneurs can get loans from Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.
“To get loans from the fund, the women should first register their firms with the government. FWEAN then recommends the names of firms eligible for loans from the Women Entrepreneurship Fund,” Bista said.
Encouraged by the output of businesses which have received loans from the fund, FWEAN has asked the government to increase the maximum loan amount from Rs 500,000 to Rs 1 million, Bista says.
The 2nd International Women’s Trade Expo, organized by FWEAN in Kathmandu, showcases products and services of businesses owned and operated by women not just from Nepal, but from various other countries as well. This year’s expo has more than 100 stalls and participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, the Philippines, and South Korea, among others.
According to the organizers, handicraft items, organic agriculture products, electronics, food items, ornaments, decorations, and ICT products, among others, are showcased at the expo.