Thimphu TechPark trains 587 youth to be entrepreneurs

Bhutan Innovative and Technology Center (BITC) in Thimphu TechPark (TTP) has trained 587 participants, mostly youth to be entrepreneurs in nine dzongkhags since September last year.

A memorandum of understanding to train 600 youth under the entrepreneurship course was signed between BITC and the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) on August 16, 2017.

TTP has scheduled to train 110 more youth in the next three training programs to be held at Samtse, Pemagatshel and Dagana.

“We intend to train more than the target number.We are still training three more batches,” said the CEO of BITC, Tshering Cigay Dorji.

The training is being provided to fulfill one of the two mandates of the company: to promote entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities in the country and to curb unemployment. The techpark includes an incubation center and conducts seminars and workshops as part of entrepreneurship training.

BITC provides safe-method entrepreneurship training to enhance innovative business ideas and skills.

According to the training coordinator, Tshewang Dorji, the techpark interacts and provides consultation to the participants.

“They are trained by resource persons from different agencies and from different countries,” he said.

Tshewang Dorji added that there are enthusiastic participants who want to learn and are easy to groom.

The Druk Holdings and Investments (DHI)-owned company, Thimphu TechPark, started operation as Bhutan’s first IT park in 2012. It is supported by the Department of Information and Technology and Telecom and Ministry of Information and Communications. Other supporters include the World Bank.

The techpark is developed jointly by DHI and Assetz property group of Singapore and rents its space to seven foreign direct investment (FDI) information technology (IT) companies from the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Bangladesh and India. As of now, 745 youths are employed in various FDI companies under TTP.

The techpark provides two types of entrepreneurship training: the basic entrepreneurship training is provided to class XII graduates for 15 days while the advanced entrepreneurship training is provided to university graduates for 21 days. For the financial year 2017, the participants were provided a daily stipend of Nu 100.

Meanwhile, the construction of a second IT Park building by the techpark within its five-acre premise is underway. The new IT building is expected to cost Nu 77mn and is one third the size of the existing TTP building. The new IT building is expected to rent out space to one more FDI IT company and employ about 300 Bhutanese. It also expects to earn foreign exchange through export of services in the IT sector.

BITC has also initiated a separate program such as Business Idea Competition of Bhutan and StartUp weekend which focus on providing mentorship and consultancy to participants across the country. The fifth edition of StartUp weekend in collaboration with the UNDP concluded recently.

Apart from the entrepreneurship training, BITC conducts training and workshops on leadership, management, finance, customer service and business development.

Pema Choki from Thimphu