Startup Account #4- A Sip of Prosperity
Organization: Bagmati tea estate (Gotikhel, Patan)
Please tell us a little about your business.
We started the Bagmati Tea Estate 5 years ago with 4 other partners. My father and uncles make up the partners.
How did the idea of tea estate actually come up?
I grew up in Gotikhel (above Lele, Lalitpur) which has tremendous prospects for tea farming but this had not really been realized then. Thus, we started the tea farming business with the hopes that it would help achieve economic growth through employment generation for the area. One of our main aims included involving local farmers in the tea farming.
How much was your initial investment?
We had initially invested 25 lakhs.
What kind of challenges and/problems did you face during your initial days as a budding entrepreneur?
Our society has always been partial to steady job-holders over those who wish to engage in independent businesses. We also did not get much support from our families when we started out. Other people too were not very aware about financial benefits that could be accrued from tea farming. Local farmers did not consider it as a steady source of income. Even registering as a company was challenging because we were fairly unaware about the process.
How did you handle the mentioned challenges? Did you have anyone to consult with?
One of our partners had engaged in tea farming practices in Ilam and thus had some idea about it. We did undertake a tremendous amount of research before starting operations. In times of need of expertise, we still look to consulting with our friend that I previously mentioned.
How far do you think you have come in this journey from your initial days of struggle?
It has been 5 years now that we began operations and competition has grown intensely. However, we have successfully managed to increase the number of farmers willing to get involved in the tea farming business. We had 5 farmers when we started out and now we have 25 farmers.
How do you view the company registration process of Nepal?
Company registration here is very time consuming. Those looking to engage in business might find the process much harder than they would be expecting.
How much tea does the Bagmati tea estate produce in a year?
We actually produced 1 ton of green tea this year. We have two kinds of products, Pearl Green Tea which retails for 2000/kg and the other one is Roasted Green Tea that retails for 1500/kg.
Where do you see your enterprise after 5 years?
We aim to involve more than 100 local farmers of Gothikhel in our tea farming initiative. Additionally, we have begun our paper works to export our tea to North America, particularly to USA and Canada. We hope that our tea farm would also generate tourism benefits in Gotikhel which may even garner some employment opportunities on its own.
Do you have any suggestions for upcoming entrepreneurs?
I would say that there is a future in entrepreneurship in Nepal but don’t jump into any enterprise building before engaging in necessary research. Understand what you may need to expect in the business. After that, all you need is motivation and dedication towards your work.