Culture and Attitude

We just think about filling our stomachs, not our brains

An innovator of agriculture in rural Nepal

The most important of all dimensions, culture of and attitude towards entrepreneurship, is also the most difficult one. Actually, like any complex phenomenon one wants to study. From an external perspective, we might too quickly draw conclusions on stereotypical reflections or bias, while local investigators might have become too sinister. In a country like Nepal, however, with such difficult past and gloomy outlook, who could be blamed?

‘It is about being patient and believing in one’s long term vision

A bakery shop owner

Though, oftentimes we were surprised by the positive response to our inquiries about the cultural and societal challenges entrepreneurs face. Discrimination based on gender, religion, or towards minorities have frequently been documented in international media. And, indeed, Nepal’s caste system still poses challenges. However, young(er) generations perceived this categorization impacting them much less than what we expected to hear. Though, we couldn’t help ourselves not to feel a sense of embarrassment from our interviewees, but then was it?

It is a fact that things are progressing very slowly in Nepal, given its difficult geopolitical location and socioeconomic situation. From a mere business perspective, one would have harvested on most developmental efforts a long time ago; considering lack of returns and loss on investments. Nevertheless, we felt a strong hopeful attitude, in particular from aspiring and young entrepreneurs. Some of them having returned to Nepal after studying or working (saving money) abroad. It seems surprising to return to a country after living the lush life of the West. Though, perhaps, the integrative approach of collectivism wins over an individualistic attitude.

One cannot progress without taking risk in life

An entrepreneurs that had suffered from a deadly disease

Or family first? Sure, entrepreneurs faced society’s incomprehension if they failed launching their ideas. Or family and friends scrutiny when announcing to found a startup in first place. Personally, I didn’t feel that this is a unique situation. In a country like Germany, I experienced something very similar. Though, I do believe that the support from family and friends goes much deeper in a collectivist country like Nepal. In short, it seemed to be a calculated risk, weighing the emotional distress of being alone in the West with the communal support received in the East.

But most importantly it is about having an idea and interest and being persistent in one’s endeavor.

The successor of a successful hotel chain in Western Nepal

Without concluding just yet, Nepal is a land of untapped opportunities. Most entrepreneurs we encountered understood as much. It is difficult and challenging, without a doubt, but the support one receives from her/his community seems to ‘give one wings’. And, even if it’s only a few individuals with such an entrepreneurial mindset, I do agree that there is hope for Nepal. So let’s move on to the last chapter and conclude this write-up, which you will find >>here.