The financing scheme provides grants and loans that are interest, guarantor and collateral free
Six entrepreneurs are raising funds through the Kuen-Phen financing platform, which went live for fundraising on August 16.
Kuen-Phen is a not-for-profit undertaking spearheaded by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in collaboration with the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan (RSEBL) and Bhutan Care Credit Limited (BCCL) that will raise funds through an innovative mix of crowd sourcing and bridge financing.
The initiative is geared towards providing an inclusive financing platform and opportunities for the vulnerable and marginalized segments to engage in meaningful economic activities for livelihood enhancement.
The six entrepreneurs are referred by the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and include areas like home-based poultry farm, stationery, printing and photocopy services, home based Azay making, Kabzays (made out of organic and local ingredients), Micro Retail Store venture and agriculture.
All campaigns are, meanwhile, physically verified and carefully selected.
Mon Bahadur Rai, a Class X school dropout living with his old aged parents and school going sisters, is one of the entrepreneurs that started a home-based poultry farm in Tsirang.
He requires about Nu 350,000 to buy chickens, built semi-permanent structures like poultry sheds, fencing and hatchery house.
He said that his strength would be the training support that he received recently from the livestock and agriculture office in his gewog. Additionally, he is hopeful with the relevant government officials from the gewog office at Tsirang Toe having wholeheartedly committed to also explore markets for his produce.
Jamyang Choden, a 21 years old with speech and physical disabilities, has started a retail stationery venture.
She said that she got hope when she heard about the inclusive opportunity with Kuen-Phen financing for the marginalized, financially disadvantaged and for people with disabilities like her.
“Given the opportunity and after assessing my own limited capabilities, I would be really interested to open my own little stationery shop with photocopy, lamination and binding services,” she said.
Sonam Zangmo, a mother of two toddlers who also looks after her younger sister, started the home-based Azay making business.
As someone living with physical disabilities, Sonam Zangmo said she aspires to immediately start earning to support the basic necessities of her home first and further leverage her sister’s painting skills and open recurring savings accounts for the three kids at her home.
Sangay Lhamo, a 22-year-old and single mother to a son, started making home-based Kabzeys.
“With Kuen-Phen financing, I would be able to immediately start my home-based business and hope to save enough for my son’s future when I am gone,” she said.
Thinley Lhamo, a single mother with three disabled children, started a micro retail store venture.
She said that with much experience from selling goods, she feels that she can uplift life by opening a small retail store in Paro. “I hope to get Kuen-Phen’s support to uplift my children’s happiness and be able to save for their future,” she said.
Yeshi Nidup, 39, is a nomadic Monpa. He is a father of four school going children.
The immediate need for Yeshey is to own some farm machinery in order to work on the little extra field for commercial purposes. Yeshey puts forth his submission to raise enough funds on the Kuen-Phen platform to buy some farm machines.
Meanwhile, Kuen-Phen will provide grants and loans that are interest, guarantor and collateral free. Funds sourced through the crowd will be used through a re-lending framework to help more beneficiaries. The initial funds for the bridge financing will be provided through a Revolving Fund (RF) set up by the RMA.
Kuen-Phen financing is also a micro-business facilitation package that would offer additional pre and post mentoring and monitoring support.
A business will get a maximum of Nu 500,000. Suppose a business is not able to raise the entire amount through crowdfunding, the RMA will support 15% as a grant and the remaining amount as an interest-free loan. However, at least 20% of the total amount needs to be raised through crowdfunding for the business to be eligible for the grant and interest-free loan. Beneficiaries do not need collateral or guarantors.
However, in case of unsuccessful campaigns that are unable to meet the RF unlocking criteria of 20%, then the donation made will be directly diverted to the Kuen-Phen RF to support other needy beneficiaries.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu