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Resilient agriculture and entrepreneurship in Bhutan

Building organic model villages and green enterprises across the country

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We have been encouraging resilience in Bhutan by supporting the Royal Government of Bhutan’s flagship programmes on organic agriculture and startups and cottage and small industries in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Since 2019, we have been piloting an organic model village approach in Nobgang village of Haa district, western Bhutan, promoting organic solutions and green enterprises, need-based capacity building and mentorship, and multistakeholder engagement. In collaboration with the National Centre for Organic Agriculture and other partners, we have replicated this approach in Lhuentse and Sarpang districts and have identified two more villages for similar interventions: Jabesa in Paro district and Jadinkha in Thimphu district. We diffuse successful organic solutions and lessons learned from the model villages to other parts of Bhutan by mainstreaming these approaches in the annual plans of our partners.

We also support startups by building resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems. In 2021, we incubated two batches that enrolled in 2019. We now have 56 startups (out of which 20 are led by women entrepreneurs) which are registered and are providing green jobs to more than 300 people. For soft loans and easy access to green finance, we created linkages between the entrepreneurs and the National CSI Development Bank. In partnership with Antarprerana Pvt. Ltd. in Nepal and the Department of Cottage and Small Industries (DCSI) in Bhutan, we focused on three key areas – business development for entrepreneurs, the DCSI’s institutional capacity to run an incubation programme, and the introduction of a mentorship programme – to help startups become resilient through stronger networking and a more conducive environment.

We recruited 15 national and international mentors to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems through specialised guidance at each stage of their journey. To make advances in digitalisation, we supported the DCSI to develop a technology database for entrepreneurs to access machinery for process innovation. To promote green businesses, we supported the production of 15 promotional videos for startups. We also helped set up a daycare centre at the DCSI’s Startup Center in Thimphu to support women entrepreneurs.

Building on the Startup Center’s experience in supporting its first cohort of entrepreneurs, we are now scaling out the same modality of promoting mentorships and green enterprises in Tsirang and Samtse districts. These new startup centres will focus on involving the youth and women in green entrepreneurial ventures.

We diffuse successful organic solutions and lessons learned from model villages to other parts of Bhutan and have incubated 56 startup enterprises providing green jobs

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