Startup First for ‘Bhutan First’
‘Bhutan First’, the theme for 114th National Day which was emphasized highly by his Majesty the Fifth King in his address to the nation, resonates with the much esteemed and historic words of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
As we dwell on and try to decipher the significance of the theme long after the National Day celebration, we realize the weight of it. Our country should be our highest faith and topmost priority. The theme speaks of selfless service and sacrifice to the nation and of putting the nation first before oneself. While all of this is true, here’s a more fundamental truth: Bhutan is the sum of its people, its crowning glories ours to wear and its unfortunate failings ours to bear. It is the sum of every Bhutanese and their shared impulse for service to the nation that will define the nation’s greatness.
His Majesty, in his address to the nation also emphasized on Bhutanese people’s dependency on the government to provide for them and take care of them. The country can only do so much for its people with its limited resources. It is ultimately people ourselves who have to walk the walk because remember, each one of us Bhutanese make up a small part of Bhutan and it is our collective goodness that defines the country’s strength. The country and the people are not separate entities-we are one.
In the same light, Startup First aspires to be a platform for people to walk the walk, a place where creative and innovative ideas meet. As the name ‘Startup First’ suggests, we are driven by our motive to keep ‘Bhutan First’ while working towards helping create a nation of successful entrepreneurs. Making a strong and stable nation also requires the creation of greater economic prosperity for the people. Generational prosperity for the country as is mentioned in His Majesty’s address to the nation, can be achieved if the people have the right opportunities to develop their potential and hone their skills.
Startup First provides one such opportunity for teens and adults alike to engage in training to promote business ideas, creativity and innovation to level up the startup ecosystem in Bhutan. It also engages in research and providing consultancy support to the teenpreneurs-the building blocks of our nation. Among many other concerns, one of the overbearing concerns that His Majesty talked about was losing young people to lucrative opportunities abroad. It has become Bhutanese people’s dream to study and work abroad-a gateway to better lives and opportunities. Looking at the number of Bhutanese people going abroad, it is only a matter of a decade or two before we lose every young, innovative mind to nations abroad.
Through Teen Startup School Holiday Program, Startup First aims to tap into the potential of Bhutanese people from early age of 11-19. The age of 11-19 is described as being the age of highest explorative capacity. The program gives the youth a space to realize their highest potential which would later be seen as a vital force in creating opportunities out of one’s own potential rather than going abroad looking for opportunities. It provides a foundation for creating a greener pasture in one’s own country than going abroad looking for one. This is the overarching feature of ‘Bhutan First’ mindset-looking within the country for opportunities to tap into before setting one’s eyes elsewhere.
Strategic Entrepreneurship Program is yet another program initiated by Startup First that enables Bhutanese people to understand the strength of imagination, creativity and innovation. It also teaches people about profitable decision making during disruptive times.
As an entrepreneur, one can have a ripple effect. One doesn’t just employ oneself but hundreds of others. This can reduce the ongoing brain drain to countries abroad and harness potential within our own country. In addition to being an engine of job creation, a successful entrepreneur also becomes an inspiration for many others to follow.
As we embark on our journey of creating positive social impact through entrepreneurship, we at Startup First commit to always put ‘Bhutan First’ in all that we do and be as selfless in our services to tsa wa sum.