Udhyami seed camp: turn your idea into a business

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Udhyami seed camp: turn your idea into a business

Startups Nepal will be organizing its first edition of the Udhyami Seed Camp: Women-focused edition in April, 2017. The five-day long boot-camp is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses. The boot-camp is the first of its kind in Nepal, even though there have been various attempts earlier at making entrepreneurship more accessible to Nepalis. The Udhyami Seed Camp intends to help entrepreneurs get to the next level by having them go through its well-designed curriculum, which will be taught by seasoned coaches. The camp will also help create opportunities for participants to receive a seed fund from potential investors. 

Boot-camp for aspiring entrepreneurs are now a global trend, and the idea has percolated into the Nepali startup scene in various forms in the part. Startup Weekend, a global movement supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, for instance, came to Kathmandu in early 2013. And the Rec@nnect Startup Boot- camp, supported by US Department of State and CRDF Global, was organised here in 2014 by Microsoft Innovation Center. Similarly the Nepal Young Entrepreneurs Forum (NYEF) also organised its own Entrepreneurship Boot- Camp to support aspiring entrepreneurs. The Udhyami Seed Camp draws from the best of such global and local practices in order to best serve the interests of such aspirants.

The Udhyami Seed Camp is based on a curriculum that looks to engage participants beyond the time they spend in the program. Interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply with a team of two to four members who are willing to work on an idea, mostly so that instead of spending time bonding, they can use that time to work on their business plans. This also means that participants will have had to have worked on their ideas and on convincing others even before applying to the program. The reason behind doing so is the belief that people who will have mobilized others will also have put in more effort on the ideas. And having a team beforehand will also help participants connect the dots after they begin working with the curriculum, which is based on the business model canvas and also focuses on business-pivot strategies. The business model canvas allows participants to view their ideas through different angles of business development, and business pivoting is a process of tweaking ideas to cater to changing market demands. 

Furthermore, one of the prominent features of The Udhyami Seed Camp is its follow-up sessions. Startups Nepal recognizes that the five days allocated for actual coaching sessions are not enough. Many startups learn about the real issues in the marketplace after they face problems. STARTUPS Nepal has planned follow-up sessions every 15 days for at least two months after the seed camp. These sessions will especially help startups navigate through the business-growth stage—thus helping them make informed decisions as they grow. For instance, an eCommerce app with the idea of delivering vegetables  might realize that people prefer to buy their vegetables themselves rather than having someone else buy it for them. Follow-up ses- sions will also come handy when entrepre- neurs need to pivot their business (make necessary adjustments). 

Another key feature of the Udhyami Seed Camp has to do with the opportunity the boot-camp provides for attendees to be trained by local experts: for guidance and encouragement can greatly enhance the probability that entrepreneurs will find success. Visualizing problems and being prepared are the two key elements of business success. The coaches at the Udhyami Seed Camp are experts in their fields and know what it takes to succeed in Kathmandu. Each of these seasoned coaches will help participants progress from the idea stage to the idea implementation stage. For example, Abhaya Poudel, a startup guru and financial expert, will guide participants through the basics of managing money; Ruchin Singh, an avid learner who co-founded Edushala, will share his knowledge on how entrepreneurs can nurture their business ideas to create a successful business; and Mannsi Agrawal, a communication expert, will help teams to refine the pitch they make for attracting investment. 

The Udhyami Seed Camp will also represent the coming together of business ideas and investors. Often, individuals with bright ideas do not get to work on their ideas due to the lack of, say, a few thousand rupees. At the same time, there are people in Nepal who are scouring for bright ideas that could be the next ‘big thing’. That gap can be bridged through the planned seed camp. The final day, called ‘demo day’, will provide the participants who have gone through the rigours of training, and have developed and pivoted their businesses, the opportunity to present their ideas to interested investors.

The first edition of the Udhyami Seed Camp will be women-focused: interested teams must have at least one female co-founder in order to apply for the program. Women have been largely left behind—at the workplace, among other sectors—in Nepal. Out of the 200 startups listed in startups Nepal’s directory of startups, hardly five per cent are run by female founders. And this is representative of the larger startup ecosystem in Nepal. Startups Nepal believes that a lack of encouragement, support and platforms are as responsible for this dismal state of affairs as the general socio-economic scenario of the country. The Udhyami Seed Camp: Women-focused edition is an attempt to show people that they need to start learning to trust and believe in women and to give them a platform to start on their own. 

Applications are now open for the seed camp. Interested participants with a team of two to four members, with at least one female founder, can apply via startupsnepal.com/ udhyami. Twenty applicant teams will be selected based on the strength of their team and their ideas. The application deadline is April 15. So if you are passionate about doing business, think that you have come up with the next big idea, and are looking for a platform to test your idea and validate it and hope to start your big venture, then here is your chance.

Udhyami Seed Camp 

Your Chance to Follow Your Dreams
Application Deadline: April 15, 2017
Apply At: startupsnepal.com/udhyami/apply
For More Info:  www.startupsnepal.com/udhyami
Follow Updates: www.facebook.com/UdhyamiSeedCamp/

*First Published by the author at M&S VMAG.


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