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Unleashing the potential of young entrepreneurs in Nepal

Posted on: Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Young people with disabilities in Nepal are developing new businesses and accessing support and training thanks to CBM’s Futuremakers project in Nepal.  The project supports people with disabilities aged 18-35 to build secure livelihoods, funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation. By gathering together to share ideas and access services, these young people are starting to turn their ideas into realities.  

In the Lumbini province of Nepal, a self-help group of young people with disabilities gathered this month to discuss ideas for small businesses. One wanted to study accountancy; another wanted to train to be a tailor. Another already had a tailoring business and wanted to register it with the government to take it to the next level. One wanted to invest in goats; another already had goats, but wanted to build a shed to protect her goats from the tigers! 

These were just some of the ideas being shared and shaped by young people who are determined to build secure livelihoods for themselves and their families – and which the Futuremakers project will help them to develop and deliver. Young people have been impacted hugely by the Covid pandemic – especially those with disabilities. Research by the National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal (NFDN) found that 40% of people with disabilities (and 49% of women with disabilities) lost their source of income during the Covid pandemic, and a further 20% were at high risk of losing their livelihood. 

The Futuremakers project, which started in 2022, is enabling young people with disabilities to unleash their potential and flourish in business. The project links local young people with disabilities into self-help groups run by our partner Disable Empowerment and Communication Nepal (DEC-N), a community based organisation run by and for people with disabilities. Gathering together provides solidarity, builds confidence, and stimulates ideas. Through the project, participants are able to access invaluable training and support to foster new business ideas.  

Karen Glisson, CBM UK Programme Manager, visited Futuremakers in March. She says,  

“I loved meeting so many young people with disabilities, who have such energy and determination to support themselves through setting up small businesses. They have so many ideas.” 

Futuremakers offers a range of support for these young entrepreneurs from skills training to seed funding – which people with disabilities often face barriers to accessing. All participants are offered entrepreneurship training covering topics like how to develop a business plan, how to apply for business loans through banks and cooperatives, and financial literacy skills. The financial literacy training is run by Standard Chartered, a leading international bank, with staff from the local branch volunteering their time to teach and train the Futuremakers participants. Karen says, “As many of the participants did not have a chance to go to school, this training is a game-changer’. 

Some businesses are already established, like a local family-run pig farm. The farm is run by a father and son, who has a physical disability. The business is already established and thriving. Their hope now is to develop it into a demonstration farm for other pig farmers in the district to visit and learn from their methods. Through Futuremakers, they are able to access the advice and support they need to see this business development become a reality.  

A group of four people looking around a pig farm

Image: Karen and Narayan look around a pig farm, run by a father and son who hope that through Futuremakers, they will develop it into a demonstration farm for others to learn from their methods.

Narayan Rimal, CBM Global Nepal says,  

“Young people with disabilities have potential and also have concrete plans to initiate or rebuild resilient livelihoods affected harshly by covid-19 pandemic. The Futuremakers project with diverse and tailored made supports could be an affirmative actions to pushup their plannings and flourish their livelihood businesses in long-term”.  

This project is funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation and delivered by CBM UK. It is part of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, a global initiative by Standard Chartered to tackle inequality by promoting economic inclusion for disadvantaged young people, including those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DECN logo          Standard Chartered Foundation logo

Main image: A self-help group of young people with disabilities gathering to discuss ideas for small businesses.