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Thimphu Techpark employs more than 700 Bhutanese

What was once tagged as a white elephant, the Thimphu Techpark Limited (TTL) today has employed more than 700 Bhutanese youth.

It has also rented out all its space and has six foreign companies operating at the park.

This means that the park had met its initial target to employ 700 Bhutanese people by 2016.

The Techpark’s chief executive officer (CEO), Tshering Cigay Dorji said that most of the employees are women in most of the companies and the companies can still take in more youth.

He said that Scan Café, a US-based company, employs the highest number of people. It employs about 470 people. “The other companies employ 10 to 50 people.”

The CEO also said most of the employees are class 12 graduates.

He said that they are exporting services where our Bhutanese employees are serving foreign clients. “But the number of employees fluctuates because few leave when they get better jobs,” Tshering Cigay Dorji said. “But it doesn’t go below 700.”

The CEO said three companies are 100 percent foreign direct companies.

The Techpark also has a number of Bhutanese start-ups that operate from the incubation centre inside a centre named Bhutan innovation and technology, which is aimed to promote entrepreneurship by providing incubation space, training and mentorship.

Two foreign companies are still under registration process, according to the CEO. “Once these two companies get approved, the 60,000sq ft Techpark space would be fully occupied.”

He said that they are exploring the possibility of expanding the IT Park, as they keep getting inquiries. “We’re hopeful that other companies might rent the park.”

The companies pay Nu 27 per sq ft that is generated as revenue for the Park while the Park pays a land lease of Nu one per sq ft to the Thimphu Thromde.

Tshering Cigay Dorji said the Park not only met the employee target but also made a profit since 2015 after running into loss since its inception from 2012. “The staff received a bonus for the performance for 2016.”

The CEO added the Park has also been able to meet their monthly loan repayment to the Bank of Bhutan for the construction of the park. The park pays about Nu 500,000 every month.

He said that since the companies at the park mostly serve foreign clients, they bring in much needed foreign exchange. “Although we don’t have exact figures but it is estimated that the Park bring in at least a few million US dollars annually.”

He said the job demand is increasing, as they recently received applications from 300 people for three vacancies.

The Park was inaugurated in 2011. Druk Holding Investment (DHI) owns 51 percent of the share. Bhutan Telecom owns the rest.

However, some of the companies’ officials said Internet fluctuation affects their work.

Tshering Cigay Dorji said the park has redundant fibre-optic cable connections and services from both the main ISPs in the country.

Yangchen C Rinzin

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