Small-time female entrepreneurs to avail grants through UNDP-funded programme

An Income Generation Start-up Programme (IGSP) that would help females to set up business in high-poverty headcount regions was announced on April 9 and will end on April 24.

The program aims to train a selected batch of people through training courses such as Basic Entrepreneurship Course (BEC), Comprehensive Entrepreneurship Course (CEC) and Entrepreneurial Skills Development Training (ESDT) and then grants them loans to start their own enterprises.

Those who cannot avail loans are given grants.

The IGSP initiated by the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) was intended to assist unemployed youth in starting small-income generating businesses for self-employment and more importantly to sustain unemployed youth in the future.

For the first time, only second-timers, that is those who were already trained will be selected for the programme and now, unlike previous schemes provided by the ministry, entrepreneurs would be given grants instead of loans.

According to Program Officer for Entrepreneurship Promotion Division (EPD) under Labor Ministry, Gap Tshering, around 500 graduates were trained v and 100 of them  availed loans from financial institutions with support from the labor ministry.

Now, 95 of them are employed and around 24 have their own business.

“Still there were a few of them who could not avail loan since they didn’t want to take the risk,” said Gap Tshering.

Around 15 graduates who did not avail loan facilities earlier will be granted a sum of more than Nu 0.1 mn which they will not have to repay.

This time, regions such as Samtse, Lhuntse, Trashigang, Chhukha, Mongar, Samdrupjongkhar and  Sarpang  will be  benefitted by new enterprises set up through IGSP.

Employment and poverty eradication are a few of UNDP’s Millennium Development Goals therefore preference was given to women.

The participants are expected to have their business plans which are technically and financially viable ready.

The business plan should have key components of business management, marketing, service, production and accurate financial plans.

But the Program officer said that financial plans are not given high weightage; the authorities look at the business idea, its uniqueness and market.

Many are expected to be service business like beauty parlor, restaurant, ticketing and travel agents, and automobile workshops while few would take up manufacturing as it involves high capital costs.

Originally the program was started in the year 2009 by supporting 44 business enterprises in three dzongkhags which had the highest poverty incidence: Zhemgang, Samtse, and Mongar.

It was a success therefore United Nations Development Programme UNDP agreed to finance the  IGSP again.

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One comment

  1. isn’t this sort of program bordering on gender discrimination if not outright discrimination? It’s not a question of adequate ‘male representation’ in the business community, it is a question of equal rights. there are plenty of men entrepreneurs also looking for support.

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