Three business ideas submitted by students from nine colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) were declared winners in the University Business Ideas Competition held in Thimphu on October 21.
RUB launched the competition to promote entrepreneurship among RUB students in the face of dwindling employment opportunities.
Bhutan friend and philanthropist George Goh of Singapore will sponsor the cash prize of 10,000 SD (approx 550,000 Nu) each to the winners (the full amount will be paid during incubation and business start-up). An initial cash prize of 30,000 Nu each will also be awarded to the three winners of the RUB internal fund.
One of the winning ideas, a boxing studio presented by a student at Royal Thimphu College, was to expand their studio.
Boxing studio member Tandin Lhamo said they would invest the prize money to modernize the studio and procure more equipment. The studio has 52 clients.
“The initiative encourages young people to come up with ideas for entrepreneurship,” she added. The studio offers exercise routines that combine shadowboxing, cardio, plyometrics, core work, and heavy bag training to deliver a fun, fitness fusion experience.
Another laureate, “Zumtrul” from the College of Science and Technology, is an augmented reality web platform for better schooling and learning. It scans objects in three dimensions.
Zumtrul member Loday Tempa Gyeltshen said their four-month hard work has paid off as the technology is new. He said the prize money would be helpful to make their ideas come to fruition even better. The college also assured them a sum of 0.5 million Nu. They intend to localize the content to integrate augmented reality into lessons in schools.
Sherubtse College’s Lean-C technology uses an automatic light intensity controller using a light-dependent resistance sensor (LDR) and a timer encoded in an ATMEGA 328 microprocessor with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb. This would save electricity consumption by automatically activating the light.
A member, Chogyel Tenzin, said the initiative gave them the platform to innovate and plan for further development of the prototype at their university incubation center.
On the occasion of the event, Minister of Labor and Human Resources Karma Dorji said that the country’s economy would benefit greatly if the country’s educated youth are trained and involved in entrepreneurial economic activities.
Lyonpo assured that the government will provide an enabling environment with policies and initiatives in place to support a culture of entrepreneurship.
He said access to finance, market access and tax incentives for 21 identified products, among others, will be available. Lyonpo added that the government was conducting a feasibility study for an institute dedicated to entrepreneurship.