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A startup venture turns COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity

With only One lakh rupees to his name, he started a venture in manufacturing masks and supplying other essential items. Within a short span of 12 months, his business has grown exponentially



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Employees attaching strings around the masks at E-Traders and Suppliers, New Baneshwor. Photo - Kshitiz Siwakoti

By Kshitiz Siwakoti, Kathmandu, Apr 19: A small startup in New Baneshwor, E-Traders and Suppliers has turned the pandemic into an opportunity by manufacturing masks and supplying hospitals, airlines and shops with PPE gowns, surgical gloves, face shield and Hand sanitisers. 

Kabya Mani Bhatta, a former manager at a Manpower agency lost his source of income a year ago when a lockdown was declared to break the chain of Coronavirus.

With only One lakh rupees to his name, he started a venture in manufacturing masks and supplying other essential items. Within a short span of 12 months, his business has grown exponentially to a net asset of 1.5 million rupees. 

Bhatta along with his two other partners manufacture cotton non-surgical masks in their factory in Jorpati which has employed 25 women. Once the masks are manufactured, Bhatta’s share of the masks is transported to his firm in New Baneshwor, where 13 women work in their respective shifts attaching strings around the masks. 

Along with manufacturing, E traders and suppliers is also a distributor of Hand sanitisers which are imported from India, PPE gowns and face shield from China and surgical gloves from local manufacturers. 

The startup has provided a stable source of employment to 13 women in such volatile times. They each earn around 10,000 rupees a month. They work for three hours a day attaching strings at the edges of the masks. 

Hasna Shrestha is an employee in the startup who works for 3 hours a day. She attaches strings around 1800 masks per day. Along with this work, she also works as a sweeper in a school. “I feel good working here. Further this also a steady source of income for me as schools could shut down any moment due to the current situation,” Shrestha said. 

According to Bhatta, there is intense satisfaction in starting something that is one’s own. “I used to earn 50,000 rupees a month in my previous job, but now my business makes a profit of around 150,000 rupees a month. More than the profit I make it is running a startup that I founded that gives me immense pleasure,” Bhatta told The TRN online

Bhatta said that he has learnt a lot from this startup. The most important lesson he learnt from his work is that one should not put all his/her eggs in one basket. One should not be dependent on a single source of income and should adapt to changing situations.

“Once the Covid-19 pandemic is over I plan on extending my business into supplying other necessary surgical and sanitary items like diapers and sanitary pads,” Bhatta said. 

"In Nepal, we have a habit of looking down on menial work, no work is big or small, all professions are important in their own right,” He further said. 

Bhatta is also of the opinion that if entrepreneurs work hard and are dedicated to their work, there is are a lot of opportunities in Nepal as well. 

The story of his startup serves as an inspiration to all that one can find opportunities even in the darkest of times if we have the dedication and think outside the box.

(Kshitiz Siwakoti is an intern with the TRN Online)