Of the 105 entries for the business idea competition of Bhutan (BICOB) 2017, six were awarded cash prizes at the TechPark in Thimphu yesterday.
Garab Dorji won the idea category for his business idea to manufacture self-destarching rice cooker. He won a cash prize of Nu 50,000.
Kinga Yezer won the start-up category. He won Nu 100,000 for his green cooking stove business.
An initiative of the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT), Business Innovation and Technology Centre (BITC), received 24 entries for start-up stage category. It is for businesses that are less than a year old.
For the idea stage category, which includes business ideas that are yet to be executed, 81 business ideas were submitted for the competition.
The ten shortlisted entries for the start-up category and 21 shortlisted for the idea stage category were awarded certificates.
The shortlist is based on the average scores of all the judges that comprise of TechPark and labour ministry officials and relevant officials.
The TechPark’s chief executive officer (CEO), Tshering Cigay Dorji, said the category was divided into two this year.
“Although the competition was for business ideas, there were participants whose business ideas are already implemented and their products tested in the market in the previous years,” he said. “The judges gave more scores to those whose ideas were in execution.”
The CEO said that the competition is aimed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country so that people take up entrepreneurship and self-employment.
He said youth unemployment is a major issue in the country and entrepreneurship is expected to provide employment opportunities to others. “More than 20 BICOB participants, who took part in the competition in the successive years, have started their own businesses, he added.
Meanwhile, even students competed this year. The youngest participant is 11-year-old.
“This is encouraging because we want to raise awareness on entrepreneurship among children,” Tshering Cigay said.
The economic affairs minister, Lekey Dorji, who was the chief guest at the function on May 26, said entrepreneurship is not difficult. “You just have to have a dream.”
Lyonpo urged the entrepreneurs to explore how the East-West highway, transportation can help strengthen their businesses, how to access the fiscal incentives, marketing and credit.
The BICOB 2017 was organised jointly by the labour ministry and BITC at Thimphu TechPark. The BICOB was first organised in 2012.