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by Vartika Upadhyay

The Young Entrepreneurs Summit Women is a platform for young entrepreneurs from all over Nepal to come, network, learn, share, progress and drive the national economy. A flagship event of NYEF since 2013, the theme for this year was “Accelerating Success”. The summit was held on March 18 with a focus on taking the spirit of entrepreneurship forward among women. YESW also recognised five women for their outstanding contribution in various sectors.

The Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs Forum (NYEF) is an apex body of young entrepreneurs in Nepal. It is a membership based non-profit organization established with the vision of empowering positive business thinking. It aims at creating outstanding entrepreneurs through idea exchange, fellowships, education, training and advocacy among the Nepali youth.
Along with glimpses from the summit, meet the five winners for 2023.

Women Entrepreneur in Manufacturing Sector

Deepa Kunwar is the Managing Director of KPA Cashmere which has been manufacturing and exporting cashmere knitwear and handwoven products mainly to Europe and North America for more than three decades. The products are made by local artisans, mostly women. Deepa is also the founder of Plush Cashmere in 2011 in the USA which focuses on introducing new cashmere designs every year. They were selected as one of the emerging designers in WWD MAGIC, Las Vegas and participated in LA Fashion week in 2017, and were nominated for LA Business Journal Fashion Award in the Rising Brand Category. Deepa is also the Co-founder of Re-glam which promotes sustainable fashion and mainly focuses on reusing and recycling fashion wear and accessories.

“Being recognised and awarded for one’s work is undoubtedly very motivating. From a very young age, I have expended endless hours of hard work and dedication as an entrepreneur and what I have achieved is a result of this. I always had a personal sense of gratification about what I do but this public recognition has made me realise that we have indeed come a long way and there are many possibilities yet to explore. This award will give me added incentive to strive harder to harness the opportunities and make better accomplishments”

Women Entrepreneur in Hospitality Sector

Rachana Thapa is a Certified Hospitality Educator with 20+ years of experience and adheres to two firm beliefs: excellence and care. She leads by leveraging her team’s strengths and aligning them with their core values. She truly believes that people-focused and goal-oriented leadership is what makes the biggest impact, and she aims to achieve that every day. Apart from her role as an educator, she is also actively involved in other committees aimed towards national development, such as her role as the Secretary of the Rotary Club of Kathmandu Midtown.

“Winning an award is a great way to feel proud of what you have accomplished and to show your appreciation to those who have helped you along the way. Recognition received from YESW holds a special place because it’s women entrepreneurs who lead the event. Knowing that my contribution and zeal to excel impacts young entrepreneurs is a satisfying feeling. Women need to uplift each other and must have a sisterhood camaraderie. To be recognised for one’s achievements is always a good feeling. It has added an extra zing to my work and vision.”

Women Entrepreneur in Service Sector

Dr Shrujana Shrestha is a Consultant Dermatologist and the Owner and Managing Director of a dermatology and plastic surgery clinic called Absolute Aesthetics which currently has two successful branches in Kathmandu. Shrujana is the owner of one of the popular restaurants in Nepal, the Pan Asian Affair. She also looks after Yeti Airlines as its Executive Director, which is her family business.

“I was happy to have been recognised while working in a field I am enthusiastic about. I aspire to continue to do better and perhaps be a source of inspiration.”

Women Entrepreneur in the IT sector

Sonika is an impact entrepreneur with a background in computer engineering who has used her decade long experience to design tools that help bridge the financing gap for women micro entrepreneurs in green sectors such as agriculture and electric vehicles. She is the Co-founder and CTO of Aloi, a fintech company that uses digital token technology to bridge the gap between informal sector green entrepreneurs and climate financing.

“Receiving recognition as a woman in the IT sector was a truly memorable experience for me. The positive energy that came with it was incredibly uplifting. It has motivated me to continue breaking barriers and paving the way for other women in the industry to achieve the same level of success and recognition.”

Women Entrepreneur in Social Enterprise

Priya Sigdel is the Co-founder and President of Hatti Hatti Nepal which is a non-formal and tailoring training platform for underprivileged women of Nepal. The organisation makes products from upcycled sarees. Priya has also represented Nepal as a young change maker in Switzerland, India, Turkey, and Bangladesh.

She is the Country Coordinator for Udaan Freedom which works for awareness on adolescents MHM. Priya also travels across Nepal interacting with women of the country on women’s leadership and the importance of vocational skills. Priya won the Miss Nepal Earth 2018 and was a semifinalist in Miss Earth 2018 in the Philippines.

“I feel humbled and grateful to have received this recognition. It has motivated me to keep on doing what I do. Being consistent and working for impact is what I believe to be the most important things.

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