You are here

Realising the dream in Nepal

Aid & Trade

When a senior expert advises a business, he or she quickly understands its potential for international trade. When a business shows promise as a trade partner, the expert delves into his or her extensive network of contacts in the Netherlands and makes introductions; these are often followed up by a business link visit to the Netherlands, export contracts and even joint ventures. In 2016 we facilitated 74 “Business Link” visits to the Netherlands. A very effective tool, these visits are a logical step for helping enterprises reach their next level of growth. Each year Business Links generate many millions of euros for the Dutch economy. Please read below an example of a Business link visit that resulted in concrete assignments and cooperation agreements with Dutch companies.

Smart Solutions from Nepal is an IT firm that offers Efficiency through technology. With some 40 employees, predominantly product developers, programmers and (technical) support staff, the company applies the 3D philosophy: Design – Develop – Deliver. The firm, founded in 2005, has grown strongly in the past 10 years. The software they develop is sold mainly in Nepal, but they also serve as an offshore company, i.e. a subcontractor, for companies in the US and Singapore. The founders/owners of Smart Solutions want to take it to the next level.

PUM expert Herman van Veen screened the company during a mission in 2015 and gave advice on how they could work better, more efficiently and smarter. As follow-up mission, a Business Link visit to the Netherlands was organised. One of the objectives was to find out whether there were companies in the Netherlands with which they could do business. CEO Niraj Gorkhali, who founded the company together with his cousin Ujjwal Pradhanang, explains: “With relatively small investments, start-ups here can grow much faster by outsourcing their development work.”

PUM expert Herman van Veen organised a full programme with 17 visits for the gentlemen. Not only to gather knowledge and expertise, but more in particular to study the commercial opportunities and take advantage of them. During 13 days, visits made were to largely SME enterprises like WeWork and Remain Software, but also included a few giants like Cap Gemini and TNO. After each meeting, Herman gauged the first impression and asked for an appraisal score. The average score was 7+ with an outlier to 10, but also a 4-. All that counts at the end of the day are the concrete results, however. The outcome was one direct assignment for Smart Solutions and two contacts with whom a small project was agreed. It was agreed with another company to make an offer for a website.

'What I saw in Nepal was a company with enormous potential.  I expect that a Business Link will give these entrepreneurs a real opportunity to take the next step and realise their dreams.”'

Concrete results

Herman van Veen: “As the preparations for this Business Link were very demanding in terms of time and effort, it is very satisfying to see that the visit has already led to concrete assignments and cooperation.” Our Nepalese guests are impressed by what they have experienced during the past few days. They are amazed by the omnipresence of art in the Netherlands and how it is integrated in daily life. Niraj Gorkhali: “Everything here is designed, has a unique design element. It is a form of branding that we do not yet know in Nepal, although it is a point of attention in our company.” PUM asked the Nepalese entrepreneurs what impressions they would be taking home with them. Ujjwal: “Everything here happens with enormous efficiency and attention to detail. Rather than knowledge or expertise, that’s a mental attitude that we can learn from.”

Niraj and Ujjwal both studied in the USA, which is why their commercial network is located there. So why did they return to their country of birth? Niraj: “Nepal is a country in which the potential is as large as the challenges. 70% of the population is younger than 25 years and they all need to eat and work. Unemployment in Nepal is huge problem and we feel it is our responsibility to help.” His cousin Ujjwal adds: “It is important that we in Nepal keep in step with knowledge development in the West. We have plenty of smart minds, but they lack access to knowledge. We can make a positive contribution by preventing people from leaving the country.”