What are the Udhyamis up to today? – KD Oil Group
By Falguni Basnet
Twelve startups participated in the first edition of an intensive 6-day entrepreneurship guiding programme, the Udhyami Seed Camp. Almost a year since the camp, they have taken off in different directions in terms of building business models. For most of them, the 6-day camp and the subsequent 2 months of follow-up sessions became a stepping stone, packed with information and guidance from experienced individuals. It accelerated their learning process, and helped them come up with polished blueprints of their businesses. Their position in the Nepali and international market today, is exemplary. In this final part of the four-part look back at Udhyamis from Udhyami Seed Camp 2017: Women Edition, we talk to Kalpana Maharjan and her business KD Oil Group.
KD Oil Group
Kalpana Maharjan, from KD Oil Group, learnt about Udhyami Seed Camp from Kantipur’s weekly supplement, Koseli. She was immediately intrigued by what it had to offer, and was able to find the contact person’s details. A 35-year-old family-run mustard oil business, Maharjan named it KD Oil Group so she would be able to participate in Udhyami.
The family business is locally run–there is a mill from where the oil is sold in kharpans, only to the people in and around their locality. The mustard seeds are brought from Siraha, as well as other parts of Terai. “My family is hesitant to change the way this business has been running, since this conventional way of selling oil is the only method they have known, and they are unaware of the benefits branding could have,” said Maharjan.
Maharjan’s goal, since Udhyami is to give their family business some recognition by packaging, labelling, bottling, and establishing a brand name. For this, she must convince her family members that expanding their business this way could be beneficial for them in the long run. “The only way I can accomplish this is to actually show from my work, to my family members, that this is actually plausible and will do us good. I plan to start buying mustard oil from my family, and package it, give it a brand name, and launch it in the commercial market,” she said.
Udhyami was helpful for Maharjan mostly in terms of learning the basics of marketing and promotion. “I learnt a great deal about online marketing, how I should be establishing my brand. I was really inspired by the speakers of the program. I couldn’t work on my business right away after Udhyami, because my priority lied on summiting Mount Everest, which, after 1 and a half years of training, I was able to do,” said Maharjan. Now that she is back, she will be committing herself to starting this business, and taking it to a place where it is financially sound, there are no hindrances in production, the quality is assured to be good, and her family is happy with it. Right now, she has been looking for investors, and has also been able to find a doctor, who will be able to provide a warranty on her products.