Mark Zucherberg’s speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing on why people should start a business couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for me. Months of thinking, learning, mulling things over, and some actions along the way have led me to believe that starting a business is indeed the right thing to do. There are many things I have yet to put in place so as to start executing. Let’s just say, I am still working on figuring out the “HOW.”
But the thing that pushes me is that….. I know the “WHY?”
And today I want to share with you the “WHY” behind my decision to start a small business.
Like any other business, the business aspect is there. But, this business venture for me is guided by far more than a profit motive. It is about on the urge to contribute to something that I truly believe in and an area, I think I will be make a positive change.
Let me give you some numbers first from the Central Bureau of Statistics, 2014 from the National Planning Commission in Nepal:
- Female Adult literacy rate is 48.8%
…. as opposed to the male literacy rate of 71.7%
- For a country where 51% of its population is female
In 9% of the households, females have any ownership to land
In 19.7% of the households, females have ownership on fixed assets
In 25.7% of the households, females are household heads
….46.8% of women are economically active (as opposed to 62.5% of the male population)
Now, on to some interesting findings on the social inequalities in Nepal as noted by Lynn Bennett (2005) in her own words:
Men participate in/take advantage of local development services 1.6 times more than women.
Men try to influences the institutions that are supposed to deliver services to them 2.7 times more than women do.
Men are 4.8 times more able to actually influence their institutional environment than women
Only when the influence of men are taken out of the equation, do the caste hierarchy appears in the social groups among women.
But then there are inspiring realities that excite me and wants me to act, to try an contribute in my own small way. There is increasing evidence that allowing women the financial freedom brings along women empowerment, healthier family, and a healthier community.
Katherine Esty, Ph.D. summarized why Noble Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the father of microcredit, primarily focused on working with women:
- Women borrowers are most likely to spend the funds to help their families over time…. providing more food for their malnourished children or to sending them to school
- For women everywhere, the longing for independence and autonomy runs deep. In Bangladesh, ……the mere act of joining group discussions allowed them to forge supportive friendships and start successful business ventures.
- Access to credit is a basic human right
- Women who have additional money available to them usually adopt healthier lifestyles and are empowered.
In Parroha village in Nepal, women of Jaya Durga Self-Help Group (SHG) used the training in vegetable production and a fund of $4 each from Heifer International to scale up vegetable production where one group member Sushila brings in $5,300 in year as her husband left his work to help out with vegetable production. But there’s more, the community has successfully received funds from the government and set up a permanent vegetable market and then a better road access.
Success stories like this are many in Nepal, yet there needs to be many more, many many more.
This is a family venture as I team up with my sister.
It will be a small start, but definitely a START.
Along the way, we want to create small opportunities and access to markets to hopefully create a rolling stone effect.
If we can have success stories for even a handful of women in Nepal, it will be a venture well worth it.
And I share this goal with you because without your support, this will not be possible.
I will share more on this venture with you all soon.
Please feel free to leave a comment, support or suggestions below!
…………………….Now onto figuring out the HOW?