The third session of the summit brought forward an understanding of the various facets of consumption patterns including energy, and the way in which financial capital is deployed, as well as innovation in these areas. The session was moderated by the Chair of Nepal Economic Forum—Sujeev Shakya.
An important area that the session focused on was how in today’s technology driven world, data and open access to it are fundamental in making real changes. Ryan Nadeau, Director of Special Projects at Galvanize Inc. (US), stressing the importance of the same point stated that for businesses today, capital is not just money, but also very importantly the data they collect. He talked about how solutions to the problems of the Himalayan region need to be hyper-local and the ways in which technologies like mobile communication can be harnessed to such ends.
Sumana Shrestha, Founder of Carpool Kathmandu and Medication for Nepal, raised the point about how in Nepal, while the problem might not necessarily be the lack of data, but the lack of enough skilled manpower to analyse such data and make use of them for the better is a real challenge.
Celine Cousteau, French-American Filmmaker, concurred with the two panellists and stated that communication networks are vital in making change and therefore, it is important to have storytellers on the ground to bring unbiased data to the fore.
The session also brought forward important points about how the businesses in Nepal are very risk averse and how failure is seen as an end-all—which could be a cultural by-product—and how such attitudes discourages entrepreneurship. Sumana talked about how the private sector in Nepal needs to be more competitive by combating the entry-barriers that plague almost every sector.
Celine opined that investing in local people within their local cultures is extremely important, and Ryan floated the idea of having a local ‘angels’ fund’ to promote entrepreneurship which would help small businesses access capital at low interest rates. Similarly, ideas were also floated about the possibilities and potentials of jump-starting innovative virtual-entrepreneurshipinitiatives, and while at present such technology is still fairly expensive, the opportunities that it throws open are unbound.
The session was instrumental in recalibrating the discourse around capital and consumption, providing key impetus to the shaping of a new paradigm.