We start the small business funding story rather dramatically in 2015. It begins with the devastating effects of the powerful earthquake. Tragically, it caused enormous fatalities, economic upheavals, and infrastructure damages. Moreover, an impoverished and politically disorganized country like Nepal had difficulties to cope. The twin earthquakes in April and May of 2015 caused 9,000 deaths and injured another 3,200. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the 75 Nepali districts were affected, causing 70% of the people to seek temporary shelters.
A Personal Call-To-Action
Many personal calls to action start with a tragedy like this. Nepal is beset by a lack of educational and employment opportunities and political upheavals. As a result, the initiator of the small business funding was forced to emigrate. This brought him to a safe haven in the USA. Consequently, he was granted the freedom and encouragement to pursue a successful academic and corporate career. This brought financial independence to his life. He was very thankful to his adopted country.
But the 2015 tragedy triggered a raw nerve that caused him to use his visionary leadership skills. In response, he reflected deeply on how he could do more than just support humanitarian organizations indirectly. Because of his close ties with Nepal, he recognized the problem. Billions of dollars committed by international donors were not ending up where they were most needed. He learned this from a documentary on Bill Gates where the philanthropist speaks about measurable outcomes.
Unfortunately, he felt that there would be a limited positive impact on the rebuilding process. At the same time, he also recognized the resourcefulness of local community leaders to pitch in and help. So, the question became: “How can I help them to help themselves?”
The Start-Up Plan
In response, he proceeded to start up a state-of-the-art small farm and build it in a remote village of Nepal. Also, he selected one which was gravely impacted by the 2015 events. The search was narrowed down to a place where an existing farm was destroyed by the earthquake. This forced the inhabitants to settle in improvised shelters.
As a countermeasure, he decided to raise funding for an experimental agricultural center in the village. He personally provided the initial funding to launch the small enterprise. Many of his friends and colleagues in the small business community of his town pitched in to assist him in any way they could. This included generous monetary contributions and professional expertise. Additionally, voluntary work in raising new funding helped the cause.
From Plan to a Viable Small Business Model
As a result, he was able to move from concept to a viable business model. It is important to accentuate the fact that this project was a collaborative effort. Moreover, it took into account the real needs of the people from the village. He took their economic, social and cultural concerns very seriously. Also, he ensured that the Nepalese employees took ownership of the final outcome. He wanted them to feel proud of turning this project into reality. It became a legacy, not only for the village but also as a model for Nepal.
This exemplary business leader now personally travels to the farm site on a regular basis. He meets with the village elders, farmworkers and ordinary individuals. Moreover, he tries to gauge their satisfaction and asks them for feedback on how the farm is progressing. He feels that it is his duty to be involved on a hands-on basis. Because of this, he ensures that the project is successful over the long term. Where this is not usually the norm, it sets a useful example for other small business projects in Nepal. Furthermore, it provides direct accountability and transparency to the many stakeholders and supporters involved in the project.