Financial institutions still neglect women entrepreneurs: Ambica Shrestha
KATHMANDU, Sept 7: Nepali financial institutions still view women entrepreneurs as riskier than men, making it harder for them to get loans, Ambica Shrestha, one of the Nepal´s leading businesswomen, said Tuesday. This trend, she said, was one of the things keeping the economy of the country from achieving its full growth potential.
Shrestha, president of Dwarika´s Hotels and Resorts, was talking as the first guest speaker at Kist Talk, a monthly presentation-and-interaction initiative of Kist Bank, which aims inspire toward young entrepreneurs of the country.
Speaking to women entrepreneurs and media persons Tuesday, Shrestha said women have to prove themselves in businesses and win the trust to shine as entrepreneurs.
Shrestha, one of the forerunner women entrepreneurs of Nepal, has been long been a major force in the development of tourism in the county as well as a contributor in the social sector.
Even after forty years in the business, for Shrestha no retirement is in sight. She started the business with four employees and now has more than 400 people working under her leadership.
Shrestha is not just a successful women entrepreneur but also an optimistic tourism entrepreneur who believes that success does not come overnight. "One has to learn from obstacles instead of running away from it," she shared with her eager audience Tuesday.
In her opinion self initiation is the key way to success. "As long as we blame governments and other factors we will never be close to success," she said.
Sharing the ideas Tuesday, the alluring woman entrepreneur said that one has to be innovative and explore the market. "There is a tendency of following the same sort of business as predecessors, but in order to avoid failures it is important to develop new ideas."
Four decades ago when she started, ´women in business´ was a completely new phenomena, she said. "A lot of things have changed since then, but women still face more obstacles their male counterparts."
She also requested related sectors, including financial sector, to encourage women to help bring more women entrepreneurs. "In my experience, women have proven to be more trustworthy and more honest when it comes to paying back debt," Shrestha, who is also involved in various socio-economic activities including micro credit programs, said.
Meanwhile, Kist Bank Managing Director Kamal Prasad Gnawali said that the bank was already working with a good number of women entrepreneurs and was ready to help out new comers.
Speakers at the program suggested that new entrepreneurs with weak financial backgrounds should start businesses with low capital and slowly expand their businesses.
Shrestha who runs Dwarika Hotel, a premium hotel with one of the highest tariff rates in Nepal, said that she started her business by collecting wooden carved pieces along with her husband.
"There are more possibilities for small scale industries to flourish than for bigger ones in the present context. When one is established in the field, the business can be made larger after having proper knowledge of market," Shrestha said.
Gnawali of Kist Bank said going by the theme -- ´A tribute to Business Excellence´, the bank believes that the initiative will give an opportunity to bring theoretical knowledge into the practical exercise and also help people learn from those that have already made significance names for themselves in the society.