Top Five Business Ideas Bag Grants at National Start-up Weekend

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Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said during the prize awarding ceremony that although the government has been promoting entrepreneurship, providing support in terms of policy and finance, it is time to streamline these processes.

Top Five Business Ideas Bag Grants at National Start-up Weekend. (Source: http://www.kuenselonline.com)

 

About the Top Five Business Ideas

SUNGJAB, an electronic scarecrow to protect crops from wild animals made using light-emitting diode (LED) lights in the shape of a tiger, motion sensors and high pitched sound bagged the first place in the Bhutan National Start-up weekend (technology edition) on March 18, in Thimphu.

The idea was chosen as the best among 24 ideas, which were selected from 157 individual ideas on March 16.

It won a grant of Nu 800,000 from the government through the information and communications ministry that would be used to materialise the idea.

A Smart Switch System to turn on and off selected electrical appliances such as house lightings and geyser won the second prize of Nu 600,000. Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) sponsored the prize.

ShaVeggi won the third prize of Nu 400,000, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR). The fourth best business idea, Bhutan Yacon Productions got Nu 200,000 from DHI and Meals on Wheels stood fifth to win Nu 100,000 from the Bank of Bhutan.

The organisers said that the fund would be disbursed phase wise, based on agreed deliverables and conditions stipulated by the government.

“The fund will be released as and when they implement the idea.”

The pad vending machine, DRUKVENDS won a certificate in the social impact category.  The idea for Natural Water Filter won the popular choice award of Nu 150,000, which was sponsored by the Tashi Group of Companies.

Other incentives given to the winning teams

Along with the cash prizes, the winning teams would be given special membership of Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre. They will also be invited to the Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre (BITC), Thimphu Tech Park sponsored workshops, seminars and events, and if desired, the entrepreneurs would be supported in developing the ideas further for submission to funding agencies.

The -Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) would also assist the teams in liaising with other government agencies to materialise the idea into a commercial business. The teams would also be given books on entrepreneurship, innovation and startups.

Starting in February this year, more than 600 ideas were pitched in the seven colleges of Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, Sherubtse College, Gaeddu College of Business Studies, College of Language and Culture Studies, College of Science and Technology, College of Natural Resources, the Royal Thimphu College and at the BITC.

Of these, 157 ideas made it to the start-up weekend from which 24 were presented on March 18 for the final round.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said during the prize awarding ceremony that although the government has been promoting entrepreneurship, providing support in terms of policy and finance, it is time to streamline these processes.

Start-up Bhutan for youth to incubate business ideas

“So in the 12th Plan, Start-up Bhutan will be one of the flagship programmes.  Through Start-up Bhutan, we hope that our youth will have a platform to transform their business ideas into reality.”

He added that the MoLHR would immediately establish a Start-up Bhutan office to provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with services, information and support. 

“We need to have a one stop shop that can provide a total solution for our budding entrepreneurs for start-up Bhutan,” he said. 

“MoLHR will be tasked with the responsibility of setting up this Start-up Bhutan office and the Gross National Happiness Commission will be tasked with the responsibility of designing a flagship programme for the 12th Plan.”

My Druk Ride, an online taxi hiring service application was also launched during the event. The application is expected to make it easier for taxis and clients to find one another. So far, 50 taxi drivers have registered with My Druk Ride.

The start-up weekend, which started on March 15 was the sixth held so far in the country.

 

By Karma Cheki (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared in Kuensel.

 


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