Nepalese Women Trading Globally alumna engaging women of Nepal in the floriculture value chain
Basanti Pradhan participated in Women Trading Globally in May-June 2019, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Basanti shares her experience of the program, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy and the way she has pivoted her business to empower women, and how she will expand her floriculture offerings.
Joining the Australia Awards Alumni and making connections with the Australian Embassy in Nepal through Basanti’s role at the Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Association in Nepal (FWEAN) has also led to the development of an online sales platform to support women entrepreneurs during COVID-19.
Read on for Basanti’s story.
I BELIEVE I CAN
Basanti Pradhan, CEO, Batika Nepal Pvt. Ltd.
I learnt how to make an International Business Plan, to select, study and recognise the target market and and how to approach it. I learnt to recognise and advertise my USP building emotional stories around it. I also learnt about push strategies and media strategies. Pitching and presentation skills, freight and logistics, export documentation and legal considerations.
I have been highly influenced by this short course on business acceleration. I learnt very unique methods that have made an impact on my business model. Give more time to research and marketing than for producing products. These researches would be able to bring on small changes in my business model to give my products Unique Selling Proposition that would make my product competitively advantageous. Spending more in the marketing aspect also put me in advantage of selling more products than I would normally.
I became an Alumni of Australia Awards, which brought a whole new world and connections to my sphere of business.
As I am the Secretary of Federation of Womans Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (FWEAN) I have had the privilege of being a committee member in different committees of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Nepal. I was able to recommend women entrepreneur friendly policies and legislations in the current fiscal budget of Nepal where almost all the recommended policies were implemented. I was also able to research on all Nepal Business Sectors and recognise 20 businesses as self reliant for further improvement friendly policies from the Government.
During COVID-19 our Federation has and is providing a lot of trainings and mentoring session to our 5,000 plus members via virtual meetings. The trainings included mental health, good governance and best practices, safety protocol in business during COVID-19 and online business. We have also had virtual workshops to identify constraints faced by women entrepreneurs to lobby and advocate to the government.
The best thing is that the Australian Embassy has granted us funds, due to His Excellency Mr. Peter Budd’s generosity, to relaunch FWEAN’s online portal WINBIZ which will serve as an online platform for women entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products, as marketing through shops seem a little impossible during these trying times. We are also planning on a virtual one day plenary session to disseminate the knowledge we gained from the WTG short course to at least a 100 women entrepreneurs all over Nepal, who again will be able to reach out to 5,000 plus women entrepreneurs.
I got new export orders from Taiwan but that has been postponed due to COVID-19. I was also going to visit Australia again on 10 April 2020, which also got cancelled due to COVID-19.
COVID- 19 has made me take a U-turn in my business. WTG Short course has enabled and enhanced my outlook on business and my capacities as an entrepreneur. Nepalese have started to turn their homes green and floriculture is flourishing locally. Business abroad has been impacted disastrously on exports as they have been very badly affected financially. This may take many years to become stable again post COVID- 19.
I opened a new company that would “go local”, Batika Nepal Pvt. Ltd. And have formulated new business ideas and creations with great USPs and Value Proposition through what I have learnt during my WTG short course. I plan to make more women entrepreneurs along my value chain who can produce various floriculture products for me. There are more than 5,000 plus women in our network who want to be engaged and empowered. The geological differences of their homes will allow me to tap into various floriculture products that I alone would not be able to produce in my farm.
This way I will be able to impact on 3 levels:
- Micro – engage and empower women
- Meso – create a sustainable value chain in floriculture exemplary to other floriculture businesses
- Macro – almost all floriculture businesses are importing and selling thus acting as a trader, but my business will be able to showcase a Go Local and Export Industry
I was very impressed by the networking sessions, field visits and panel discussions. I have become a more capable business leader after WTG short course.
I am making a story that will be remembered along generations to come.
I BELIEVE I CAN.