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Addressing unemployment by entrepreneurship

Feb 23, 2010

The labour ministry of Bhutan has concluded its first entrepreneurship training for unemployed youth from the poorest regions. Organised as part of UNDP’s human security project, the programme aims to create new employment opportunities and reduce rural-urban migration.

Bhutan: “Touch the hearts of the people you serve and they’ll be back for more. Engage their emotions and they’ll become your revering fans. Miss this insight and you just might lose your business.”

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This is what Birkha Bahadur believes as he plans to open a dairy farm in Mongar after attending a 15-day long training on entrepreneurship, organised by the labour ministry under its income generation start-up support programme (IGSP).

IGSP is a financial support initiative established under the ministry as a part of the UNDP’s human security project.

About 63 people attended the training.

The programme, said ministry officials, was carried out to reduce unemployment by means of entrepreneurship, and also to reduce rural-urban migration by employing youth in rural areas.

IGSP was specifically targeted towards the three highest poverty incidence dzongkhags of Zhemgang, Mongar and Samtse. The training included the fundamentals of business management, such as production, marketing, management and finance, and also introduced the stages of new venture creation, business idea generation and regulatory issues in business.

Participants said that the program helped them to prepare a business plan with a clear mission, vison, goals and objectives and also to discuss self-employment and its importance in present scenario.

The minister for labour and human resources, Lyonpo Dorji Wangdi, who attended the closing ceremony of the training programme and awarded certificates, said, “Entrepreneurship provides the best security for life.”

At the end of the training, trainees proposed opening weaving centre, poultry and diary farm, tailoring, bakery, beauty parlour, gift and manufacturing, restaurant, IT café, photo studio, potato chips factory, auto workshop, construction service enterprise and courier service.

An IGSP steering committee has been formed with the ministry’s secretary as the chairman, with members from the department of employment, the UNDP, the gross national happiness commission and Bhutan development finance corporation.

A dzongkhag IGSP committee is formed in each target district to ensure effective implementation of the IGSP.

The entrepreneurial skills development training was conducted in two batches by Niche financial service, a local consultancy firm. The qualification required to attend this programme was class VIII and above and for those between 18 to 30 years.

Officials said that the trainees will have to wait for approval of their business proposal by the committee.

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