Nepal, population 28.61 million, is a factor-driven economy meaning it relies on its people and natural resources. Over 55% of the population is under the age of 25 and there are some 450,000 students enrolled at different universities in the country, by far the majority (80%) at Tribhuvan University. While unemployment in the country is low (around 1.5%), graduate-level employment is high at an estimated 28.1%, some 3 times higher than amongst non-graduates. As a result around 1000 young people leave the country each day and 60,000 graduates a year travel abroad, mainly for postgraduate study. Many find employment, though, and do not return.
One such student was Latika Golyan from India who studied Business Management and Computing as an undergraduate at the University of Leeds in England. After graduating, Latika worked for Barclays Bank in London before returning to India, where she was appointed Managing Director of her father’s Chennai-based business, Arya Warehouses Pvt Ltd, building and renting warehouses. Later, on marriage into the Golyan family, she moved to Nepal and in 2004 became a Director of the Golyan Group, one of the country’s leading business houses. In this capacity, she spear-headed various hospitality, construction and manufacturing business ventures, including overseeing the construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel in Kathmandu, due to be opened in 2021.
In 2018, she was appointed Managing Director of Golyan Agro Pvt Ltd, a new venture helping farmers produce and sell quality organic food products. As she believes in creating businesses that have a social impact, she founded, in this role, “Brand Mato” a not-for-profit business promoting the production and sale of organic food products; helping increase the income of the country’s farmers. However, In January 2021, after 17 years on the Golyan Board, Latika exited the Group and started her own company, “Made in Nepal Pvt Ltd”. It aims to help Nepal’s farmers and entrepreneurs by providing training and facilitating access to capital and markets. The intention is that the farmers will grow the products, the entrepreneurs will process them, and “Made in Nepal” will brand, package and export them. This is part of her vision for the country, which involves the Government and the private sector working more closely to increase the efficiency of the agricultural sector and to stimulate the growth of food processing. In this way, the trade deficit can be reduced, exports increased and jobs created, thus helping to retain the country’s youth and decrease the brain drain.
According to estimates, Nepal requires some 700,000 to 1.5 million jobs. Whilst there is a mismatch between courses and jobs, Nepal needs to retain its young people, particularly its graduates, to grow the country and create wealth for its people. In particular, it requires young, graduate entrepreneurs like Latika, who fear nothing and believes everything is possible. To do this, the country’s universities will need to become more entrepreneurial and to produce graduate entrepreneurs who can see opportunities and bring them to fruition. This will require the universities to develop and offer entrepreneurship education programmes to all students, not only those undertaking business degrees. Such a development will take time but meanwhile, Latika is a role model for the country’s students, particularly the females who currently outnumber males in Nepal’s tertiary education system by 1.05:1. As a Board member of Nepal’s YPO (Young President’s Organisation – ypo.org) and the 2020 winner of Nepal’s Business Woman of the Year Award, she has the profile to demonstrate what can be achieved and the way young graduate entrepreneurs can change their country
For Latika, a very spiritual person, “there is no greater happiness than changing the lives of those around you”.
Indeed, with her vision and entrepreneurial mindset, she can not only change lives, but she can impact the economy (by creating decent work and economic growth, stimulating industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and encouraging responsible production and consumption) and society (by helping eliminate poverty, ensuring zero hunger, enhancing health and well-being, reducing inequality and developing sustainable cities and communities). If she does so she will be very happy indeed, as will be her fellow countrymen and women, especially if, as she plans, she achieves her objectives in Harmony with nature and without destroying the factor resources on which the country relies.
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