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Ideas to solutions: Promoting a green, resilient, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Hindu Kush Himalaya




ICIMOD, Kathmandu

Date & Time

05 October 2023 to 06 October 2023

About the workshop

With the shared goal of strengthening the entrepreneurship ecosystem, this workshop will bring together representatives from the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) countries who are running incubation hubs. Participants will collaboratively design a strategic roadmap for establishing and managing business incubation and innovation hubs which are green, resilient, and inclusive. The workshop will facilitate knowledge sharing, skill transfer, and partnership development drawing inspiration from the successful model of The Buddha Institute of India on inclusive and social entrepreneurship. As added values, ICIMOD would like to bring sustainability, climate resilience and a ‘greening’ production and marketing process and to make enterprise green. Aligning with ICIMOD’s Medium-Term Action Plan V, we want to contribute to the development of a robust and highly adaptable institutional and regulatory framework that promotes gender-responsive, ecologically aware, and circular mountain business.



  • Knowledge exchange: Share insights, experiences, and best practices from the Buddha Institute of India’s successful entrepreneurship programmes
  • Strategic planning: Collaboratively design a comprehensive strategic plan for setting up and operating incubation and innovation hubs in each participating country
  • Capacity building: Empower participants with the skills and tools required to establish and manage effective entrepreneurship support systems
  • Networking: Facilitate cross-border networking and partnership development among entrepreneurs, institutions, and stakeholders
  • Local implementation: Prepare identified partners to adapt the strategic plan and implement it in their respective countries



Strategic roadmaps: Detailed strategic plans for establishing and operating incubation and innovation hubs tailored to the context of each country

  • Actionable insights: Valuable insights, lessons learned, and best practices from The Buddha Institute of India’s model, applied to the unique challenges in the HKH context
  • Foster partner network: A network of committed partners selected to lead the implementation of the strategic roadmap in their respective countries
  • Enhanced capacity: Participants equipped with the knowledge and skills to drive green, resilient, and inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem development in their regions
  • Collaborative culture: Fostering a collaborative spirit among participants, enabling ongoing knowledge exchange and support for leveraging fund and scaling



15-20 representatives from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal will be part of the workshop. Experts from WorldStartup, an organisation based in the Netherlands which focuses on inclusive and regenerative global economy for a sustainable future, will provide a more sustainable, green and climate-resilient lens to the roadmaps.



Entrepreneurship is a crucial driver of economic growth, innovation, and job creation. To harness the potential of entrepreneurship in the HKH countries, there is a need to establish robust incubation and innovation hubs. These hubs will provide aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to turn their innovative ideas to transform agriculture and food system into successful businesses.

The proposed initiative draws inspiration from the successful model implemented by The Buddha Institute of India and aims to replicate its impact in Nepal and across the target countries. The Buddha Institute is a dedicated platform encouraging the creation of an eco-system for sustainable, problem-solving models among the poor, leading to improved livelihoods, mostly in the agriculture sector. The social entrepreneurship culture is embedded in their system with a focus on marginalised groups over profit.

Along with the learning from Buddha Institute, ICIMOD aims to promote a culture in the mountains that harnesses mountain opportunities while focusing on solving mountain problems and engaging the youth. Adding to the already inclusive approach of the Buddha Institute, we would like to bring in a green and resilient aspect, with the 3P approach: Planet, People and Profit.



Time (NPT) Programme
Facilitator: Anu Joshi Shrestha, ICIMOD

Rapporteur: Krishna Dhakal, ICIMOD

Inaugural session
Moderator of inaugural session, Ajaz Ali, Programme Officer SG2 ICIMOD
09:00 – 09:30 Arrival of guests and registration – Nisheeth Basnet and Krishna Dhakal, ICIMOD

Tea and coffee

09:30 – 11:00 Opening session

Opening remarks – Shekhar Ghimire, Director, Administration, Finance and Operations, ICIMOD

Introduction and programme objectives – Anu Joshi Shrestha, Rural Enterprise and value chain development specialist

Keynote speech on “promoting green economy through developing an entrepreneurship ecosystem” – Nand Kishor Agrawal, Senior Specialist Adaptation and Green Economies, Lead SG-2: Shaping green and resilient mountain economies

Remarks – Mukunda Prasad Niroula, Secretary of Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies Government of Nepal
Remarks – Srabani Roy, Lead, Strategic Group 2: Shaping green and resilient mountain economies

11:00 – 11:15 Tea break and photo session
Technical Session
11:15 – 12:30 Experience sharing (learning from each other): (15 minutes each)

The Buddha Institute, India – Shipra Singh, Theme Leader

WorldStartup, Netherlands – Gerrit Jan Van’t Veen, Director

BetterStories, Bangladesh – Minhaz Anwar, Founder

ScaleX, Pakistan – Adnan Faisal, Founder

Karakoram Area Development Organization- Khayam Beg, CEO

Loden Foundation, Bhutan – Kuenzang Choden, Operation Manager

Antarprerana, Nepal – Shraddha Shakya, Business Development Manager

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:45 Understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem in each country: Samaj (community), Sarkar (government), and Samadhan (innovations & market) – Gerrit Jan Van’t Veen, Founder, WorldStartup
14:45 – 15:00 Tea break
15:00 – 17:00 Co-designing an incubation/fellowship programme for green, resilient and inclusive enterprises in HKH: building on learnings from each partner/programme

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Immersion, exposure, and mentoring
  • Marketing and promotion/communication
  • Internal team capacity building
  • Ecosystem building
  • Fund-raising

Shipra Singh and Girish Agarwal, The Buddha Institute

17:00 – 17:30 Reflections of Day 1 – Adnan Faisal, ScaleX
18:00 – 20:00 Reception dinner at Square Hotel, Jhamsikhel
Day 2
9:30 – 9:40 Key takeaway from Day 1 – Minhaz Anwar, BetterStories
9:40 – 10:00 Agenda for Day 2 – Ghulam Ali, ICIMOD
10:00 – 11:30  

Group work to evolve a country-specific roadmap (what can each country take forward, building on key takeaways of day 1)

  • Mapping of existing practices
  • What can be done differently – learning from Day 1 – the Fellowship Programme; WorldStartup; regional good practices (infusion and customisation) e.g., creating GRIE – profit, people, position, planet in the changing climate and socio (demographic/youth outmigration)-environmental context (resource depletion)
  • Workplan with timeline (what we can do with the existing resources of RMCs (all partners)
  • Anu Joshi Shrestha, Ghulam Ali, Country Focal
11:30 – 12:30


Building Partnerships and common vision and strategies to strengthen GRIE ecosystem in each country – Gerrit Jan Van’t Veen, WorldStartup and Krishna Dhakal, ICIMOD
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 15:30 Developing a proposal outline and resource mobilisation for promoting Green, Resilient and Inclusive enterprises in different countries: money, mentors, market, anchors (team), ecosystem support systems – Tobias Metzner and Nand Kishor Agrawal, ICIMOD
15:30 – 16:00 Tea break
16:00 – 17:00 Closing Session

Way forward/next steps by ICIMOD – Anu Joshi Shrestha

Remarks by Officiating Chief, Entrepreneurship Promotion Division, Government of Bhutan – Chumo Wangmo

Remarks by Chief Investment Officer, Start up Bangladesh – Hasan Arif

Remarks by Theme Leader, The Buddha Institute, India – Girish Agrawal

Remarks from Chief Operating Officer, Antarprerana, Nepal – Angel Chitrakar

Remarks from Operating Officer, ScaleX, Pakistan – Muhammad Sayaf Arbab

Vote of Thanks Abid Hussain