Step Up Providing Business Skills for Entrepreneurs

Labour market insertion
In the last few years, Itahari has become a major business hub of Province 1. However, the businesses that have been established in recent years lack proper business skills and knowledge which could possibly prevent them from sustaining or growing their business. 

Covering all the bases before starting a business and having the knowledge and capacity to address the numerous challenges that arise while and after starting a business is imperative to every startup’s success and sustainability.

Considering this, Step Up conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) for ‘Entrepreneurship Development Training’ in the Biratnagar-Itahari economic corridor. The main objective of the ToT was to create a pool of trainers who can provide relevant trainings to aspiring entrepreneurs on the process, requirements, and other aspects to start and sustain a business. The ToT was largely based around the training manual and curriculum on Entrepreneurship Development Training developed by Step Up. Altogether, four Training Service Providers (TSPs) in Biratnagar and Itahari participated in the ToT which was conducted from 7-11th April 2022.

Earl Electronics and Technical Institute (EETI) was one of the TSPs that took part in the ToT. EETI has been providing technical training in electronics (basic and advanced), computer hardware and software and chip level repairing, mobile and laptop repairing, electrical house and industrial wiring, plumbing, cutting and tailoring, beautician and any other vocational training required in the labour market. Managing Director of EETI, Yagya Raj Dahal shared, “I have learnt more about entrepreneurship and business management from the ToT that I received from Step Up, which is also first of its kind in Itahari, than from any other trainings I have taken before.”

The five-day long ToT concentrated on:

  • Entrepreneurship and concepts of business
  • Information about supportive organisations for youths in business
  • Business failure and successful entrepreneurs’ characteristics
  • Business selection process, marketing and targeting customers, and sales strategy
  • Business plan, its preparation and importance, market plan, production plan, and expenses plan
  • Training management and methodology and business counseling
Yagya Raj Dahal, Itahari

After completing the ToT, Dahal said, “I am confident that I can share my understanding and knowledge with those who are in dire need of it." Subsequently, EETI conducted an Entrepreneurship Development Training to aspiring entrepreneurs from 19th to 22nd May 2022 in Itahari. Altogether 16 aspiring entrepreneurs, two of them female, successfully completed the training.

One of the graduates, Bimala Phuyal, 20, of Pauwadungma Rural Municipality in Province 1, joined EETI three months ago for basic computer training. Currently, she responds to inquiry and shares her knowledge with participants of computer training at EETI. Phuyal, after taking part in the entrepreneurship development training, shared her experience on what she was able to learn from it. “I learned about the concepts of a business, the importance of a business plan, the financial aspects of it, salesmanship and sales strategy, market plan, and gaining access to the market”, she said. “I learned about the expenses plan and how to gain profit so that my business does not go into loss”, she further added.

Bimala Phuyal, Itahari

Bimala is currently learning more on computer hardware and wants to be involved in training. “The knowledge and skill that I gained in the entrepreneurship training will stay with me for life,” she says confidently. “As I now know what it takes to start and sustain a business, I am confident that I will be able to support myself and start any business that I am interested in.” For individuals like Bimala, the entrepreneurship skills gained through the training also translate to life-skills that are demanded by the job market and enterprise.

Ram Lal Mehta, 30, of Kalabazaari, Itahari started his own mobile repairing shop in 2011 from a small room in his house. To learn more skills, he participated in mobile repairing training conducted by EETI. While receiving the training, he also got chip-level training informally from a friend who had returned from abroad learning the same. Mehta’s passion for the work pushed him to explore various ways from where he could learn different skills.

Ram Lal Mehta, Itahari

Knowing the importance and need of business skills and knowledge, entrepreneurs like Ram Mehta and Bimala Phuyal are willing to pay for the training they receive. “The entrepreneurship training even taught me how to be self-reliant. So, I pushed myself to expand my shop right after the training,” says Mehta.  

In just a month, from a small mobile repairing shop, Mehta has expanded his business to selling refrigerators and fans too. After getting financial tips in the training, he took loan of NPR 1 million and invested in his shop to attract more customers. “I have noticed that you attract more customers, and they even trust you when you have a bigger shop providing a variety of services,” he said. Mehta makes more than NPR 50,000 a month now, as compared to NPR 400 per month, a month before. He is now looking to hire a staff to take care of his shop while he focuses on repairing works.

“My aim now is to be able to sell mobile phones in this shop which requires a hefty investment,” he said. “Five years down the line, I see myself achieving this and clearing all my loans.”

Step Up focuses on job creation and employment through entrepreneurship and increases the employability of unemployed youths by supporting training service providers to offer demand-based trainings. The primary goal of the project is to increase the income of the target groups — unemployed youths especially unemployed women and returnee migrants and those unemployed due to COVID‐19, through productive and sustained employment which will contribute towards poverty reduction and resilient livelihoods.

Step Up works through three interlinked intervention areas to attain the project goals. It does so in partnership with a local NGO partner, selected service providers, and the private sector while also closely collaborating with the 3 municipalities to leverage resources and streamline initiatives. Among the three interventions, Intervention 2 focuses on promoting demand-based vocational and entrepreneurship trainings. Within this intervention area, Step Up supports training service providers like EETI to conduct demand-based trainings and also promote their businesses and services.

2021 - 2024
Labour market insertion
Step Up – Improving labour market access for unemployed
Nepal faces enormous employment challenges that are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Difficulties to find gainful employment for the unemployed include lack of information on jobs and business opportunities, appropriate skills and access to networks and support services such as career guidance or counselling. In addition, business support services that provide entrepreneurs with services to start, sustain and improve their businesses are weak or even missing. The project aims to address these deficiencies in the current employment ecosystem and contribute to the Government of Nepal’s efforts to increase job creation and the employability of its labour force.