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A week with very promising teams, brilliant people from the local universities and amazing supporter – less amazing government actions.

Our work In Nepal was a great finish for our five week Asia Tour on one side and a disappointment at the very last day, at the investor summit.

After an impressive pitch event, the winner teams and organizers, judges and investors all together. The creativity of entrepreneurs is universal. And so is their spirit to find solutions for their local markets first.

Private World Innovations Forum Dinner with representatives from the private and public sector, entrepreneurs, investors and enablers. It’s also a thank you to the amazing work the team has performed in Nepal.

With the introduction of Private Direct Investments, private investors should now able to invest in private businesses, explained Minister for foreign affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. This would make a huge difference to Nepal’s startup ecosystem.

Nepal’s government representatives explain the new investment strategy, in which industries investments are welcome and up to 7 years tax exemptions to attract as many investors as possible. It was made very clear that with the new investment policies and regulations, the government is introducing major changes, trying to turn to economy around. For the past decades, Nepal was depending on donations. Now that shall change and Nepal will want to stand on their own feed.

However, weeks later the website to register and get approved as an investor did not work. Trying to get support was hopeless. It was difficult enough to figure out which site a prospective investor is supposed to register. Attendees of the event never heard back from the event organizer. Neither how to register nore any next steps. Even our local connections could not figure out whether the new rules are even in effect. So far no progress at all.

 

DEVELOPMENT AID OF THE LAST 70 YEARS

Trying to help 3.5 Billion people in 75 of the poorest countries getting out of poverty seems to be a daunting task. In the past 75 years it failed, despite staggering 4.7 Trillion Dollar donations. Even if we try to be fast and complete the job in the next 10 years, we have another, major challenge: With 130 Million new babies born each year, we would need to nurture and educate 1.3 Billion newly evolving people in 10 years from now. Our job would never be completed.

HELPING FROM WITHIN

Ctrl-Alt-Del – Completely rethinking development aid. Why not applying the much admired Silicon Valley thinking here and develop a radically different perspective. Instead of trying to help an astronomic number of people across the globe – why not replicating what already worked so much better in the past: Building an economy from within a society through innovation and entrepreneurship – instead of donations that lead to a society that is perfectly educated to apply for more donations.

A PROVEN CONCEPT OVER CENTURIES

19th century Germany: a small number of entrepreneurs, including Carl Benz, Robert Bosch, Max Plank und one or two handful of others, created startups that should turn the nation into one of the most prosperous in the world. 150 years later, the 85 Million population is running a 4 Trillion$ economy.
In the 1950’s, in Northern California, USA: a small number of startups including Fairchild, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Apple and later on many others created products, that in just two or three decades revolutionized the world’s way we communicate. Silicon Valley became the epicenter of IT innovation. And short thereafter in the late 1990’s in South Korea: only three startups: Samsung, LG and Hyundai were necessary to turn one of the poorest countries on earth into one of the most developed nations just 2 decades later. The most interesting leaning: Innovation and entrepreneurship is geographically independent.

TALENTS ARE ALL OVER

During our travels around the globe we realized one incredibly important fact: a few exceptional talents are in any country – enough to change their whole economy for the better. We have seen exceptional people in Ghana, Nepal, Kenya, Peru, Bosnia, and other countries. We therefor know: unless the respective governments kill their nation through corruption or any major dictatorship – every nation on earth has enough engenius people to turn their country into a prosperous nation. What need to stop however is the stealing of foreign resources. Some hundred years ago was the stealing of natural resources, today it is the stealing of intellectual resources.

THE IDEA

If the poorest countries have some sort of Universities today. Some produce over 50,000+ academics like in Nepal. We (all of us together) should be able to empower the best of the best in each country to stay there, build a business and contribute to their own ecosystem. Within 10 years such a country could become a developed country. All we need is on average 100 top startups – which we can distill out of 1,000 who try. With 75 countries to develop, we are talking about 75,000 entrepreneurs. Now, I’m asking: isn’t it much more reasonable to help 75,000 entrepreneurs to fire up a self propelled economy, then trying to help 3.5 Billion people to survive?

WORLD INNOVATIONS FORUM

This is what the World Innovations Forum is all about. Obviously we can’t do that alone. But we know, we will get enough support, enough supporter, enough mentors and enough instructors to help 75,000 teams to thrive. This is what keeps us up and running every day.

What we exactly do?

1) Immediately helping 5,000 teams to understand what it takes to build a robust company that can go global and accompany the teams on every step of their way. We intent to hire approx 250 people locally to help us do that and look for another 1,000+ volunteers to do just a little but very meaningful support.

2) Building up investor networks and working on ways to make foreign investments much easier. A Swiss startup may look for $300,000 seed rounds. A Vietnamese startup can do the same for $30,000 and one in Nepal for $3,000.

3) Assembling partnerships with local and international organizations to build the ecosystems that truly enable entrepreneurs to build self propelled economies. To do so we reach out to universities, city councils, corporations, incubators, mentors, governments, technology provide and so forth.

Knowing that we will get the support, we already started. We have ambassadors in several countries and want to expand. We collaborate with the local embassies, met already over 1,000 entrepreneurs, presidents from universities and many politicians. Why not just join us.

“Prosperity for every nation”
may become the most promising project of mankind.

 

Axel Schultze

P.S.
Changing the world is what hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs are doing every day – for their companies and their markets. It’s time to spend a tiny piece of time and maybe money to empower entrepreneurs in nations that are less fortunate with education, capital and support.

Join us

There is a lot we can learn from Nepal. The very beautiful and sometimes considered mystic country could not have more orthogonal dimensions. Nepal is at the very low end of the GDP list, is unfortunately high up on the list of “perceived corruption”, is a nation with the one of the most kindest people on earth, has exceptional talents, a still under developed infrastructure, is still dependant on donations from foreign countries, yet some extraordinarily ambitious people to turn the nation from a “receiver” nation into a fast emerging nation on the way to become a “giver” nation. When such a country, with a new generation of sheer infinite determination can organise to breed talents working on globally latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence, with goal to turn the nation to prosperity – we must ask shouldn’t that be possible in other countries too. We also must wonder if the combination of a new agile government, highly engaged academia, highly motivated entrepreneurs, all working together – is a superior model of the future? Or will the model of a public being permanently on confrontation course with their government, ego driven groups with nothing but steering up the nation with horror scenarios for their own good and media loving to confuse information consumer for the sake of popularity be the winner of the future?

Khem Lakai – Nepal

While we, the World Innovations Forum, has pretty much all ducks in the row here in Switzerland, a very active community in San Francisco, where it all started, and a very good start recently in Bosnia, great energy in South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Macedonia, Nigeria, and other countries, our current Role Model is Nepal. Khem Lakai our Ambassador, had by far overachieved our wildest dreams. After our first Meetup in 2018, and a good exchange during the year, Khem understood, it was important to get top technology created in Nepal. Since natural resources are limited and industrial production is not too well developed yet, competition in other countries is fierce, he decided to help stimulate tech development. Together with Ranjan Mishran, a Nepali who is studying at ETH in Zurich they inspired a team of PhDs from Zürich and other Universities to come to Nepal. The Swiss Embassy in Nepal immediately recognized the importance and supported his actions.

Kathmandu, Nepal

In nearly no time, students in Nepal are being trained and built an AI systems and have been stimulated for Entrepreneurship. With yet another group of Nepali tech enthusiast in diaspora, lead by Prof. Bishesh Khanal who decided to quit his dream job in London to move back to Kathmandu and help Nepal move forward with other very successfully tech professionals and experts in the field of AI. Khem worked closely with various entrepreneurial enthusiasts in the nation, co-sponsored national events with Nepal Tourism Board and mentored youth in politics from all different political parties to raise awareness for a “visionary leadership”:  Nepal is to change the narrative of poor and sorry nation to a successful strong nation.

 

Premier Minister Khadga Prasad Oli of Nepal with World Innovations Forum Chairman Axel Schultze.

A few months later they invited Axel to speak with the Prime Minister Oli about the World Innovations Forum’s overall plans and also having talks with their Finance Minister Dr. Khatiwada. The power play continues this year with a first International Investors Summit in Nepal. Now Axel is preparing to attract international startup investors from the US, Germany, UK, Switzerland and maybe a few other countries to Nepal. While the country is still perceived as a rather corrupt nation, we see already Nepali Finance Minister starting to bring the legal framework in alignment with International expectations. The extraordinary journey is just in the beginning.

Khem Lakai, the World Innovations Forum Ambassador, together with his connections and a very ambitious country is making the sheer impossible a reality. It’s the concerted effort with an exceptional leadership that made this work. It was only a spark of inspiration from the World Innovations Forum,  yet the highly focused, ambitious and self determined Khem Lakai did what he felt is right for Nepal, connected with likeminded people and relentlessly executed. It’s that mindset and the understanding what really makes sense for the larger part of a country that moves mountains. In the meantime a new innovation lab is in the making. Also a collaboration between another Swiss university with a Nepali University is considered to create an exchange between some top Nepali talents and Swiss talents to also shorten the distance between cultures.

Its the right time for the right action with the right people that makes a change possible. This is the spirit the World Innovations Forum is trying to embrace. Our most sincere THANK YOU to Khem and his team of equally ambitious team of exceptional people like Ranjan Mishran, Prof. Bishesh Khanal and many others to build this World Innovations Forum poster child.

Even though Khem is the prototype of a self starter, let us inspire all of you to do what is best for your country as every country is in a different situation. But we are all one world – together.

@MaritaR