Essay 10 : DELTA Essay Writing Competition
Amidst the Melody of Turning Gears
by Tripti Sharma
When I first joined engineering, the common social response I received was that it has an evergreen scope for employment. ‘Jagir’ is stable, risk-averse and produces periodic income, the reason why it is such a rooted concept for earning in the Nepali mindset. We’ve seen a lot has changed in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the past few years: We see more effective waste management with Khaalisisi. We travel faster to our workplaces or colleges with Tootle and Pathao at less than Rs. 100. I just sold my old toaster at a reasonable price at Hamrobazar without any third-party commissions. Despite these drastic changes in the entrepreneurship sector, we, including myself, wouldn’t still want to invest in a startup, but would rather take up a steady job for a steady income.
Part of the reason for this lingers somewhere in the words of Udaya Shamsher Rana, Minister of State of Finance, at Newbiz Conclave 2017, where he says “90% of startups in Nepal fail in their nascent stage. It’s only the rest 10% that make it past the first five years in a healthy condition.” By this, we know that it’s not like we aren’t trying for a change here, with entrepreneurship replacing employment. Yet there are certain factors, we are missing out, on loop, which are making us make the same mistakes over and over again.
For a long time, the telecom business included a famous name in its list: UTL. UTL provided satisfactory service, although it was slightly more expensive than the other competitors in the sector. But over the years, UTL failed to meet expectations and was unable to compete with NTC in the long run. Slowly, it’s quality degraded and ultimately, the company crashed. The major reason behind this was bad market analysis. UTL was unable to come up with new, better schemes, or reduced price packages that ultimately, made the customers lose their trust in the company. It is often underestimated that companies survive only when they compete. It is essential to meet customer needs and expectations for a company to succeed. Startups today lack proper business background analysis, which is why they can’t address the customer’s concerns. A major reason behind this is the lack of educational background of engineering students in marketing. Our engineering colleges deem the practical applications of subjects like Economics and Business Administration as subjects of least interest, due to which market analysis is inadequate. An adverse effect of this type of education also leads to students wanting to attend universities abroad, so that they can pursue a better mix of education. These are the same students, who end up studying abroad, working abroad, living abroad and never returning back.
I remember when I was younger, we used to catch glimpses of electric Trolley buses wheeling down the streets. The mere thought of it sounds like a fantasy today. I asked my father one day why all the electric buses were on a vacation all of a sudden. He looked at me and said,” We Nepali don’t deserve such technology.”Growing up, I’m understanding what he said.
We have people. We have resources. We have problems and we have solutions too. We have personalities like Mahabir Pun who don’t give a second thought to selling their own self-earnt property for public welfare. What we do not have is good leadership. I believe the best start up ideas, even amidst this global pandemic, would originate with computer, electronic, civil and mechanical engineers working around in Mahabir Pun Sir’s lab, thinking, discussing, experimenting and transforming new ideas into reality. The best thing our engineers could do right now is collaborating with him to make more sustainable and need focused products for our country. Haven’t we seen people succeeding like this before too? We’ve seen Kulman Ghising eradicating loadshedding in front of our own eyes and undeniably, it was no less than a miracle. All in all, we need visionary leaders to guide our youth towards the light that lies at the end of the tunnel. This way, we can create much better products and more sustainable design in the long run.
Another factor to keep in mind in entrepreneurship is managing costs. Nepalese people and market favours satisfactory service over high prices, so we should also provide them back what they favour. For example, let’s see the mobile market in Nepal. It’s obvious to see that a typical Nepali would rather prefer Xiaomi’s versatility and affordability over the latest iPhone’s cutting edge design and vivid camera quality. Entrepreneurs should think about making profits through the sale of large quantity of goods rather than putting a high profit margin per sale. In this way, reduction in costs could help entrepreneurs gain customer’s trust, without having to compromise with profits.
As an electronics engineering student, the final thing to keep in consideration is recyclable design. By the end of this century, we will be dealing with more of global problems like the COVID-19 outbreak. We will face climate change, natural disasters, overpopulation and food crisis. Among this, waste management is going to be a great global issue. Thinking of the future, our entrepreneurs should make more practical, recyclable and manageable product designs so that we wouldn’t need to suffer much in the future.
Most to-be engineers in Nepal like myself plan a future abroad, and not in our own home country even when the very thought of seperating myself from my country leaves me shattered. I’ve seen my Nepali brothers and sisters bowing down to our soil, and sorrowfully then getting onto airplanes, flying abroad, in hopes that someday this soil will call out to them again, even when we all, somewhere, know that our system has left it silenced forever. I wouldn’t suggest banning foreign employment, because that would leave us with more unemployment than before. We do not need gigantic changes; what we need is small efforts that can provide suitable environment for entrepreneurship in our country. We need baby steps that can leave long lasting marks in our industries. We need small forces that can get the gears turning. Only then, these dreams that sparkle in our eyes can create a fire of technological revolution, eventually inflaming a spirit of national welfare among the youths of our country.