KATHMANDU:  Ministry of Industry (MoI) honored 75 women engaged in small-scale industries with Best Women Entrepreneurs Award, on Friday.

The awardees representing 75 districts of Nepal were presented with appreciation letter and Rs 10,000 in cash prize each. A nine-member committee formed by MoI had selected the winners. Score was given based on employment creation, taxes paid to the government, inclusion of women from minority groups, causing of less pollution, and location in rural areas.

Renaud Meyer, country director of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said the program was a testimony to the efforts of women empowerment. “There are 120,000 micro entrepreneurs in Nepal and 75 percent of them are women. Programs like this are extremely helpful to encourage these entrepreneurs. They make the women politically strong,” he said.

Meyer asked awardees to go back to their districts and encourage other women to become entrepreneurs as well.

Sharada Rijal, acting president of Federation of Women’s Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN), said that the women micro entrepreneurs should be supported so that they grow up to the level of becoming taxpaying industrialists. She added that women entrepreneurship helps in promoting equality and positive social change.

Kamala Shrestha, a noted beautician and entrepreneur, said that the awards presented were official encouragement to the micro entrepreneurs.

“They can become role models and grow into bigger industrialists in the future,” she said, adding, “I have experienced that the entrepreneurs have idea, creativity and energy but they lack capital and investment skills. They also lack specific skills like packaging their products. Government should think about allocating budget for the development of such entrepreneurs.”

Talking to Republica, Narayan Mani Lamichhane, deputy executive director of Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industry (FNCSI) said that Nepali entrepreneurs are yet to become commercially strong. “Women are trying to do a lot in the country. There are many opportunities in Nepal, be it in the rural areas or urban. But the women micro entrepreneurs can’t compete with foreign products. We need to do something about it.”

 REPUBLICA

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