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Mar 24, 2020

Social Entrepreneurship in Nepal: The List of Major Social Enterprises

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels
Social entrepreneurship is still at a nascent stage in Nepal. Lack of conceptual clarity on what a social enterprise is and what it is not, as well as the lack of legal framework (no separate legal provision for social enterprises), has impeded their progress in Nepal. Additionally, when the overall business environment is so unfavorable, social enterprises are bound to face numerous hurdles. Despite this, the social entrepreneurship scenario is abuzz with lots of startups in different sectors and many of them are performing exceptionally well. I was curious to know which were the major social enterprises of Nepal. Therefore, I carried out a small research. After consulting a few studies and several websites, I was able to find out the following social enterprises in Nepal:

  1. Anthropose: An eyewear company that sponsors a free cataract surgery for every ten pairs of sunglasses they sell.
  2. Association for Craft Producers: A not-for-profit Fair Trade organization that provides a great variety of services (design training, technical training, management training, and marketing services) to low-income craft producers (primarily women).
  3. Bakery Café: Not exactly a social enterprise but provides employment opportunities to people with hearing disabilities.
  4. Bhattedanda Women Farmer's Cooperative: Established by Fulmaya Tamang, it provides a loan to female farmers who want to start-up enterprises in the agriculture sector.
  5. Bihani Social Venture: Offers innovative and diverse services and activities to promote a society inclusive of elders.
  6. Café with No Name: Situated in Thamel, 100% of the profit made by this café goes towards projects supporting street children in Nepal.
  7. Chhahari Services: Caters to women with no skills to generate income by empowering them through capacity building and income-generating training.
  8. Circus Kathmandu: A circus founded by and comprised of trafficking (children sold to circuses in India) survivors.
  9. Communityhomestay.com: A network that supports liaison between travelers and communities providing homestay services in Nepal.
  10. Doko Recyclers: Provides a complete waste management solution.
  11. Friends Handicrafts: Provides employment for Nepali women and sustains the ancient technique of felting.
  12. Hampaal Allo Tatha Kapada Bunai Udhyog: Trains women in nettle fiber weaving and employs them. It also trains women to set up similar enterprises in other districts of Nepal.
  13. Hamri Bahini: Employs underprivileged women to produce eco-friendly products such as reusable bags made of cloths. 
  14. Hatti Hatti: Trains and employs women from marginalized communities to produce various clothing items.
  15. Higher Ground Nepal: Runs a bakery, café, and a crafts center to provide income generation skills, job opportunities, rehabilitation & counseling for disadvantaged and marginalized women and youth in Nepal.
  16. Inclusive Empowerment Cyber: Runs cyber café for visually impaired people and provides various other skill development training to them.
  17. Jamarko Paper Nepal: Established in 2001 as a small cottage industry, Jamarko helps create awareness about the importance of reducing consumption and waste, and reusing and recycling materials, and provides handmade recycled paper and products as an alternative to consumers. 
  18. Jawalakhel Handicraft Center: Established in 1960 jointly by the International Committee for Red Cross & Swiss Association for Technical Assistance (now Swiss Development Cooperation) to support the Tibetan refugees in Nepal. It is now one of Nepal's largest manufacture of carpets.
  19. Junar Kendriya Sahakari Sangh: A cooperative representing over seven thousand five hundred Junar (Sweet orange) farmers from across Nepal.
  20. Kakani Himalayan Natural Dyes: Employs marginalized women while preserving the natural dyeing craft of Nepal.
  21. Kalash Milk Industries: Provides sustainable livelihood to more than 200 farmers in the region.
  22. Khalisisi: A waste management company working with local waste entrepreneurs (who come from extremely marginalized communities) with a mission to build Nepal as the TOP 20 Recycling nations in the world.
  23. Kirtipur Hosiery: One of the pioneers in manufacturing and exporting Nepalese handmade knitwear by a group of women.
  24. Krishak Ra Prabidhi (R&D Innovative Solution): Provides support to farmers through information flow and research & development support. 
  25. Local Women's Handicrafts: A fair trade textile and handicraft collective offering unique apparel, accessories & gifts made by Nepali women.
  26. Mahaguthi Craft with Conscience: A not for profit, World Fair Trade Organization Guaranteed Fair Trade Organization which produces, markets and exports Nepal’s crafts. 
  27. Maiti Café: The social enterprise arm of Maiti Nepal, one of the renowned NGOs in Nepal. The café serves freshly brewed coffee along with appetizer and fast food items.
  28. Matribhumi Urja: Provides clean cooking solutions to rural households in Nepal.
  29. Maya Universe Academy: Provides free education to the children of three rural communities with revenue generated from its various social enterprises including a poultry farm and a handicraft center.  
  30. Miteri Recycle Center: Collects used clothes from Kathmandu to recycle and resell them to people from low-income groups. Revenue is used to support women empowerment projects.
  31. My Earth Eco-friendly Bags: Sells affordable cloth bags.
  32. Nepal Connection Café: A café run by the famed social entrepreneur and innovator Mahabir Pun. The profits from the café go to National Innovation Center.
  33. Nepal Society of Disabled Multi-purpose Cooperative: Develops the vocational skills and capacity of people living with disabilities and/or their guardians to help them become financially independent.
  34. Nepal Traditional Handicraft Training Center: The Center offers seminars, workshops, and exhibitions on the development of traditional art. 
  35. Pad2go: Offers sanitary napkin vending machines installed in ladies’ washrooms in different places such as banks, malls, schools and so on.
  36. Sabah Nepal: Works toward strengthening the livelihoods of financially deprived and marginalized women home-based workers in Nepal. Sells textile and handicrafts made by women.
  37. Sarangi Vegetarian Restaurant: Created as a social enterprise to support Gaaines, a small caste of musicians who used to earn a living by going from village to village playing music and spreading the news.  
  38. Seeing Hands Clinic: Provides training and employment opportunities for visually impaired people through massage therapy.
  39. Seven Women Center: Teaches women how to produce products for sale locally and abroad.
  40. SmartPaani: Develops, installs and maintains environmentally friendly rainwater harvesting systems, water filtration, and water recycling.
  41. Sochai: Sells educational bracelets (information on nutrition and reproductive health) made by local artisans and uses the revenue generated for women empowerment.
  42. Tamakoshi Community Resin and Turpentine: Working to extract, collect and sell resin from pine tree sap, the venture uses the revenue for forest conservation, to uplift the local marginalized communities, and to conduct other community development activities.
  43. The Candlestick Women: Employs women from marginalized communities to produce and sell scented candles.
  44. The Himalayan Rabbit Farm: Promotes rabbit farming among Nepalese farmers and provides the necessary technical support.
  45. The Village Café: Serves various traditional cuisines cooked by the women themselves using the ingredients that they have grown in their own fields. Also provides related training to the women.
  46. Tyre Treasures: A green enterprise that produces various household and decoration items using old, used tyres.
  47. Upcycle Nepal: Converts old, used clothing material, along with pre-consumer and post-industrial fabrics into utility products. 
  48. Vijaya Develoment Resource Center: Runs various enterprises (a community FM, microfinance, consultancy etc.) to generate resources for its community development programs.
  49. Welcome to my Yard: Provides day-tour of Kathmandu. The profits thus made go to its various projects which provide community-based support, practical education, training and savings schemes for at-risk youth and families in the community
  50.  Women's Dream Beauty & Multi-Service: Set up with the aim of modernizing the traditional "Dambarkumari" fabric (typical in Newari culture). Trains and employs women to make shawls, baby’s apparel, handkerchiefs, and masks, among others using the fabric.