Storytelling, entrepreneurship, and Nepal’s middle class

My American friends have heard of Nepal’s poverty.

Visitors to Nepal often arrive unaware of the costs of daily living (a tourist balking over the price of a guesthouse tea — and the subsequent arguments that ensued — went viral in 2017). They are shocked when I tell them how much it costs to buy a house or car here.

The U.S. Ambassador has written about corruption that plagues society.

The discovery of electricity rationing made local news but managed to evade international coverage.

Too little attention has been directed toward Nepali entrepreneurs.

Nepal’s determined middle class is hard at work trying to improve their communities and provide for their children and make things just a bit better for the people around them.

Ryam, Hairstylist and Salon Owner

Ryam

Ryam went abroad to get professional experience working in a salon. Less than a year later, he returned to Nepal to start a business of his own. Clients now wait in line for a turn in his chair; he estimates he cuts as many as thirty hairstyles per day.

Jen, Zumba Instructor and Owner of Mudra Fitness

Jen

Jen started a beautiful yoga studio in Lakeside’s tourist hub. Large glass windows offer stunning views of the lake below, and polished wooden floors welcome dancers and yogis. In a society in which women have not been encouraged to prioritize their health, Jen is trying to change that through positive messages of strength and wellbeing.

Rajendra, Managing Director at Everest Film Academy

Rajendra

Director, producer, writer, teacher, composer, poet. Rajendra started a film school to teach the trade and art of film. His one-year program provides foundations in acting, directing, scriptwriting, and cinematography to enrolled students.

Biswas, Founder of LevelNext

Biswas

Biswas and his team of friends have built an event and marketing empire. With a fleet of photographers and videographers capturing weddings, performances and community events, they weave memories with experiential strategy. On any given night, you can find a member of their team snapping portraits in one of Pokhara’s hotspots.

Chhiring

One of Nepal’s few female barista teachers, Chhiring shares her love of coffee with local students. Her graduates have gone on to start coffee shops of their own and gain employment in Nepal’s emerging coffee scene.

Ngawang, Executive Director of Learning House

Ngawang

Ngawang opened Learning House, a education center that provides free and low cost classes and workshops. He prides himself on incorporating practical elements into course offerings. At the same time, he is finishing his Master’s in Education at a local university and hopes to inspire others to look for ways to make positive contributions, both locally and nationwide.

Sheetal, Artist and Educator

Sheetal

Sheetal grew up watching her father sketch landscapes for visiting tourists. After teaching arts education at a local primary school, she enrolled herself in a degree program overseas and plans to return to Nepal to develop a countrywide arts curriculum.

Dorje, Owner of Moondance Restaurant and Dorje’s Bar & Grill

Dorje

Serial entrepreneur and restaurateur, Dorje prides himself on providing jobs while delivering quality experiences for tourists and locals alike. Through hard work and perseverance, Dorje has managed to turn one business success into another — and shows no signs of stopping.

Subhash, Editor of Republica

Subhash

The youngest editor of a Nepali daily, Subhash graduated from Harvard Business School with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. He has since charted his own course in Kathmandu newsrooms, representing a newspaper that has partnered with the International New York Times and has demonstrated commitment to reporting on injustice and corruption.

Here’s to encouraging more entrepreneurs — and representative storytelling throughout Nepal.

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Michelle

Michelle

I promote education and leadership in Nepal (www.learninghousenepal.com) and host dinners in NYC (www.projectexponential.com). More: www.michellewelsch.com.