Agribusiness Innovation centre opened in CapitalThe World Bank Group, with the support of Finland, Norway and Sweden, launched the Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Centre, a business hub designed to enhance competitiveness and promote growth of local agro-processing companies, in Kathmandu on Friday.
The World Bank Group, with the support of Finland, Norway and Sweden, launched the Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Centre, a business hub designed to enhance competitiveness and promote growth of local agro-processing companies, in Kathmandu on Friday.
Over the next 18 months, the centre will support over 150 small and medium enterprises by providing a customised suite of services, including coaching, training, market linkages, and investment facilitation, says a statement issued by the World Bank.
The centre was opened considering the rise in demand for ready-to-consume food products in low-income countries, like Nepal, due to rapid urbanisation and a growing middle class.
“Nepali producers and agro-entrepreneurs are well-positioned to reach local and regional markets, but they need resources to expand. By supporting their growth and promoting investments in Nepal’s agribusiness sector, the Agribusiness Innovation Centre will contribute to increasing agricultural incomes, creating jobs and fostering competitiveness,” said Takuya Kamata, World Bank’s country manager for Nepal. Small and medium enterprises play a significant role in the country’s economic growth.
According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector lending arm of the World Bank, small and medium enterprises employ 1.75 million people and account for 22 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Companies operating in the agribusiness sector are particularly important as they can generate a multiplier effect along the supply chain by raising demand for agricultural products, packaging items, transportation, and farm equipment.
In the initial phase, the centre will work with 20 top companies selected through a boot camp. The boot camp was organised this week by the World Bank Group, through its Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, in partnership with the IFC and Nepal Entrepreneurs’ Hub. The main objective of the boot camp was to identify the first group of companies that will work with the centre.
The organisers of the boot camp had received 650 applications. Of these companies, 25 were shortlisted to receive intense training and business coaching. “After a final pitch competition, the 20 top-performing businesses were invited to join the newly established centre,” says the World Bank statement.
The Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Centre is a World Bank Group/infoDev initiative supported by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden.