It is late June 2016 when we meet Sita again. It has been nine months since she received the business skills training, Training of Starting Entrepreneurs (TOSE). Her spice grinding business has been officially registered at the Cottage and Small Industries Development Board. Sita and her three partners are very excited as they have just received an additional loan of NPR. 100,000 (equivalent to Euro 850) to meet the operational cost of her business, from the same Board. The loan was provided without any collateral and with a low interest rate, which makes the financial burden manageable. However, the first challenges already have presented themselves.
External factors play a role
Back in May 2016, when the team visited her, Sita had to adjust her initially high expectations of her spice grinding business. “Unfortunately, we are not yet able to put our enterprise into action yet” she told us. “The machine arrived a few weeks ago, but we had to send it back to the shop to get the right one. Now, monsoon is coming near, the roads will be bad and we will not be able to transport the machine. It will be difficult to reach our village.” She further emphasised “This will delay our work. I am worried with the delay; however, I am still motivated to launch my enterprise.”
Another change in plans was the decision to move the grinding mill from its initial location to Sita’s home, where she also runs a small grocery shop. This location is closer to the community settlement, making the mill, which can also be used to grind wheat and other staple food grains, more accessible to the community members.
Keeping up the good spirit
“I am very happy the machine finally has arrived. I was very worried about the transportation of the machine during monsoon season. But despite the heavy rains, the community people carried it and were able to make it!” Sita says, her eyes glowing with excitement. There is still some work to be done on the electric wiring in the shed where the machine will be placed and Sita expects to start operating the machine in July.
Mr. Lilanath Niraula, Chairman of the Community Rural Electrification Entity (CREE) that offered the Training of Starting Entrepreneurs (TOSE), is very confident about Sita’s capabilities to run this new business. “Among the four women that make up the spice grinding team, Sita has been selected as a Team Leader primarily because she is educated, most senior in age and can convince her partners” he affirms. “The CREE has great expectations from her and believes her leadership in building this enterprise will be exemplary in the district. Sita is already working on marketing the goods through a well-known department store that has chains in several districts of the country.”