January 9, 2019, Kathmandu, The 4th Edition of CEO Unplugged was organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. on 9th of January, 2019 at Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu. The program was held with the objective of “Today meets Tomorrow” and had three panel discussions with 2 key note speakers. The event had three different themes for the three panel discussions: Business Coalition for SDGs, Practice of Skilled Based Education and Future of SMEs of Nepal were the panel discussion topics for this year.
CEO Unplugged 2019 was a one-day event that started from 1:00 pm. There were 15 speakers, and 100 participants seated for the event. The program was co-organized by King’s College and was promoted by Nepal Tourism Board. The program was supported by Landmark Education with official hotel partner Soaltee Crowne Plaza. The research partner FACTS Nepal and airlines partner Turkish Airlines also showed their immense support in the program.
The event was commenced with the speech of Mr. Suraj Vaidhya, who was the Past President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Immediate Past President of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, about his personal struggles and success in trying to promote and develop the tourism sector in Nepal. He remarked that people of Nepal take things for granted and don’t see the resources and opportunities to start business in Nepal. He stated that the lack of infrastructures, transportation, amenities in rural parts of Nepal are not something to be overlooked but something that is a chance to invest and add. He claimed his positive outlook towards future in Nepal because the technology and access to resources enable the new business start-ups to grow quickly with higher impact. The business obstacles faced by Nepal are comparatively lower than other south East Asian countries. He said that the theme for Nepal Tourism 2020 is “feel good”, which means feeling good in Nepali culture, heritage and identity.
The second speech, by Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board was about the historical context that had impacted on business and tourism. Nepal had spiritual leadership in the ancient times, then the autocratic rules, and in the contemporary time, it’s a business leadership that influences the country. He mentioned the process how any business can prosper by creating, curating and communicating its objectives and services.
In the next session, FACTS Nepal presented data of the small and medium enterprises in Nepal. The data showed the types and number of industries in Nepal. The data of employment in the industries was also shown. The industries registered with foreign investments in Nepal, had service sector as the dominant category. The same team presented facts/figures on data of education in Nepal after panel discussions.
The discussion of the panel was under the theme of “Future of SMEs of Nepal”. In the discussion regarding agriculture, the issue mentioned was the subsequent decrease in agricultural business due to the lack of proper technology and difference in the products that are demanded and supplied. The panelists agreed that in any type of business, there is importance of scaling it to a greater degree. Business done for livelihood or subsistence doesn’t help in the economic growth of the country in a wider-scale. The number of women entrepreneurs and their businesses has sprung up quickly in the contemporary time, enforcing the women’s empowerment in economy as well.
The discussion of the panel was under the theme of “Business Coalition of SDGs”. The hard facts of Nepal’s access to safe healthcare were brought up. Only 40% of rural Nepalese have access to proper healthcare and medicine. The sustainable development goals not only promote framework to induce welfare of a country but also areas that can be used to make changes. The medical sector in Nepal, with the ideas of SDGs in mind, can promote its objectives significantly. The panelists acknowledged the undying necessity of SDGs in businesses of any kind.
The discussion of the panel was under the theme of “Practice of Skill Based Education”. The 7 Essential Life Skills was given emphasis on the discussion, such as self-control, perspectivism, communication, critical thinking, making connections, taking on challenges, and self-directed learning. The idea of having a vocational training or skills training that is covered by the mainstream education was the thrust of the conversation. The curriculum of schools and colleges has been outdated with the type of knowledge and skills that they equip the students with. The current academic institutions have failed immensely to bring out productive human resources to employ in the current demands needed to compete in the job market.
The program was a success because it met the objectives. The participants were enlightened with the exposure to three different panel discussions that spoke about the relevant issues of Nepal. The knowledge gained from the event with stay invaluable for the participants, and a source of life-long motivation to take their stance in building the country together.