A graduate duo gears up for Mekong Business Challenge

A graduate duo will be taking part in the upcoming Mekong Business Challenge, a platform for young entrepreneurs that encourages, supports and connects entrepreneurs to represent their business ideas internationally.

The Mekong Business Challenge will have 13 teams competing from six different countries: Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bhutan and it will be held at Cambodia on March 20.

One of the competitors, Pema Choki said this time they have come up with a business idea called “The Care.”

The Care is a home servicing company which will provide 15 different services categorized under residential and commercial services ranging from cooks to babysitting and home tuition to salesgirls.

The other participant, Kunchok said before the Covid-19 they had launched a different idea known as “Thunder Guide”, which won the silver medal for Bhutan last year. “The idea was a multilingual audio tour guide app, but due to the closure of the tourism sector the idea had to change to The Care.”

“A month after graduating from RTC, we processed our business license in October and have been operating it until the second lockdown,” added Kunchok.

Kunchok said the service will resume after the lockdown and the idea was inspired to solve the problem of unemployment in the country, especially that of uneducated women and lay-offs from the tourism sector.

“If the situation improves, we will be going to Cambodia to compete but if it does not, we will be competing through online presentation,” she said.

They presented their previous business idea online as the pandemic had already struck.

Pema Choki said that they prepared audio and video recording about the business idea which was forwarded to the committee in Cambodia. “It was a challenging process as the team had to balance both the preparation of business idea with academics.”

Winning or losing is immaterial to them as the they plan to continue operating their business and even hope to upscale it with time.”

Even though the team won two competitions during the national start-up challenge in 2009, they never got any support or sponsorship, according to Kunchok.

In the previous Mekong Business Challenge, the same team won Nu 75, 000, which they plan to reinvest to continue the business. “We will keep building on the business.”

The winner of the competition will be awarded a cash prize and a trip to America to compete against Western and North-East Asian countries.

Sonam Tashi from Thimphu