Self-employment is a relatively new career path in the country – the government is facilitating necessary linkages congenial for their survival and growth through the country’s only startup centre, many say two years’ incubation period is too less to do something substantial.
According to the entrepreneurs, the incubation period of two years is less for them because it takes more than a year to develop competency and expertise by undergoing trainings, import machineries to their respective locations and also to get the required human resources. By the time, they are ready to launch the business, they would have exhausted the loans too.
Many of the entrepreneur graduates of Startup Center are also without business after two years of incubation time given to them at the Startup Center to launch their business, they say this is because of limited time given for them to incubate and launch their businesses.
Some point considerable time is elapsed getting the resources and trainings, and that the culture of start-ups is picking up in the country. “Many of us are of the opinion that the government should give our ideas a minimum of five years’ of time, we have just started to sow the culture of start-ups in the country,” said a struggling entrepreneur, Rinzin Dorji of Eco-Bhutan Packaging. “We also faced difficulty getting the resources, and by the time we got material resources and other trainings, two years of incubation period is lost without achieving anything substantial,” he added.
Another entrepreneur, Chimi Dema of Druna Ghu Biscuit also shares the same opinion. “Two years is quite a panicky time, securing loans and putting up business proposals, two years just goes by,” she said. “If we are given a minimum incubation period of five years, we could really bring out good result,” she added. She also shared that bringing in machineries and working up the loans takes up a lot of time.
Along the similar lines, Economic Affairs Minister also reiterated that most of the start-ups are in productions and manufacturing requiring more gestation period, and some needs to import equipment and tools that takes time to actually test ideas and make products, package and label and do product launch. “We looked at practices in other countries and two years is seen as an appropriate time to design, test and conclude viability of a business in the market,” said Lyonpo Loknath Sharma. “Start-up centre is a space provided to beginners in the entrepreneurs’ journey to provide time for fruition of their business ideas,” added Lyonpo.
Initially, Ministry of Economic Affairs had only approved a gestation period of one year for the entrepreneurs at the Startup Center, many failed to graduate because some needed to import equipment and tool, it hindered them to actually test their ideas and launch their finished products. “We looked into other countries practices before finalizing and later got approval from Ministry to maintain the start-up period at two years,” said Chief Industries Officer of Enterprise Development Division, Tshering Dem. She also added that the tenure depends on the type of business ideas and if it is service related, the two years tenure is not required unlike manufacturing and production, so they graduate before time.
The startup centre established on June 25 2018, aids start-ups to develop and support through networking mentoring, training, marketing, product designing and development, linkages to financial institutions, and other business development services.