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Bhutan National Entrepreneurship congress

Helping Bhutan build a Entrepreneurship culture | National Entrepreneurship Congress

An international payment gateway will soon hit the country, which is expected to benefit new business ventures and young innovative entrepreneurs.

Lack of proper payment gateway and platform to export the products even after the startups penetrate the market is the reason why most startups fail.

During the National Entrepreneurship Congress (NEC) in Thimphu on Sunday, deputy governor of Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), Yangchen Tshogyel, said that the central bank was already working towards high-value E-commerce. RMA is also working closely with Bhutan Post to provide necessary logistic support for the export of local products.

NEC is an entrepreneur-led approach event that provides a platform to bring entrepreneurs and stakeholders together to encourage aspiring startups and to discuss related policy recommendations from various stakeholders.

The day-long programme saw various panel discussions among young entrepreneurs.

Discussion on government’s support in the next five years highlighted challenges young entrepreneurs continue to face. Ease of doing business and access to finance were also discussed.

The event brought exclusive interaction between policymakers and entrepreneurs. Policy makers explained how management and rules work while entrepreneurs shared the challenges they face at the grass root level.


Priority sector lending invited inclusive participation from CSI besides agriculture. Equity of loan had become equally important and a concern for the young startups. Thus, the deputy governor said that the central bank was working with the Royal Security Exchange of Bhutan (RSEB) on ways to crowd fund entrepreneurs.

Since Bhutan is new to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Yangchen Tshogyel said, all stakeholders involved should take a step back. Exposure to the ecosystem and financial literacy must be set in the minds of aspiring entrepreneurs and youths first.

She said that partnership between policymakers and ground participation was vital for the growth. “There should be a dialogue between those entrepreneurs affected by the policy and those making the law.”


Bhutan’s ranking on the ease of doing business has been slipping for the last three years. The World Bank’s ease of doing business report 2019 placed Bhutan in the 81st position, which was critical, according to the economic affairs minister, Loknath Sharma. However, he said the rating was not a concern because it was theoretical.

A sectoral division, an agency that will assist entrepreneurs to complete the paper works within a day will be established. He promised to solve the hassle, by making the process quick and convenient. Fiscal incentives would be provided to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). “Revision FDI policy will include the promotion of FDI for smaller businesses as well.”


A total of Nu 1.2billion was allocated for startup and CSI flagship under prime minister’s office, of which, Nu 320million was allocated for the startup. Labor Minister Ugyen Dorji highlighted the importance of self-employment to resolve youth unemployment problem.

Under the flagship programme, the ministry aims to train 7,320 entrepreneurs, create 642 startups, and 3200 jobs by the end of five years.

Concern on too many stakeholders involved in entrepreneurship development sought coordination among them. Labour minister said that 12 stakeholders were involved in the process and that government, corporations and the private sector should collaborate to create an entrepreneurial synergy.

In addition, he said that the target for entrepreneurship at the moment was between the ages of 18 and 30 which had to be diverse. Young entrepreneurs face problem in coping with policy, management and are reluctant to take the risk. “But involvement of various age groups will help solve this problem.”

The organiser, Tashi Wagdi (founder of iHUB), said the NEC was organised to emphasise on collaboration between the government and the private sector.

All the stakeholders were willing to collaborate and promote entrepreneurship, but there was no clear map to guide the way forward, he said.

NEC will be an annual event. Tashi Wangdi said that interacting with participants and entrepreneurs found access to foreign market the biggest challenge. “Though stakeholders came up with various solutions, iHUB will organise an international event to solve this issue in particular.”

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