Aditi had a conversation with Thomas (forgot his real name) from Europe. What he liked about Nepal (and what I now think is adept for all the South Asian, and developing countries in the world)- that every one, in some way is an entrepreneur. Here’s how…
a story I know
Seven years ago, during months of November, Mr Wagle (name changed) and his wife came knocking at our place (my parents place). Stayed with us for 20 days, and moved out to a small one room (12 by 10 inch) rent apartment (?) which is 15 minutes walk away. On the second month in Kathmandu Mr Wagle had a job to run an office canteen (in partnership). Worked there for next nine months. When this office moved out, he began selling one liter (in plastic bags) morning milk from national dairy association (DDC Nepal) for few months and then skipped this to become a small “nanglo pasale” near a bus stand.
“Nanglo” – a small bamboo made, approximately 2 feet radius, flat plate/dish.
“Pasale” – shopkeeper
Nanglo pasale means a shopkeeper with a size of shop that fits in this small dish/plate. Mostly selling small stuffs, like chewing gum, cigarette, biscuits, etc. They are super mobile, open up early in the morning, close late night, can carry their shop around, and are somewhat illegal (run from police and local authorities).
So what does this absolute mobile shop near a bus stop do? Bus and micro-bus often require coins, and when they run out they need someone nearby who can give them coins in exchange for a small price. Last I heard, 10 one rupee coins cost NRS 11. This earned him good money, and he could even finance his daughters wedding. After four year, Mr Wagle recently upgraded to another job. He is now a shopkeeper to a small coffee shop. Cold and crowded with monthly rent of four thousand, this is his fifth job in Kathmandu. His daily income now is around two thousand, which is around five hundred to one thousand of savings every day. He is struggling, but has enough to make his life available for this busy life in Kathmandu.
back to being entrepreneur.. .
Any one can open up a coffee shop in Kathmandu. If its a small shop with no rent/legal problems, you don’t even have tax cuts. There are (mobile) vegetable shops in every nooks and crannies of Kathmandu. Every evening food stalls spring up in most town centers. Most of the central city roads are usually lined with street shops at side lanes. They are too many of them, and often it becomes difficult to walk. ..
will be back.. with part ii .. in few days time..
I want to find/write more examples of what i think is nepali entrepreneurship, and hence doing my first local reasearch. Sadly there is very less in internet. I seriously need to go find a party venue for my wedding. Plus – a wedding photographer, invitation card designer, and a tailor for daura suruwaal.
P.S. Aditi is a friend, colleague, partner and my boss. We’ve been together for seven years and getting married soon. Exited. Will soon be writing few words on skewed (nepali + english + indian) wedding culture of Kathmandu.
next post – December 31st – 9.30pm NST
- Nepali Rice Field (thelilacaroundtheworld.wordpress.com)
- Nepali women find economic independence as street vendors (upi.com)
- Reflections of Nepal: Escaping Kathmandu (ekostories.com)
- 2012: Musically yours (thehimalayantimes.com)