What are the Udhyamis up to today? – Team Vermiponics
By Falguni Basnet
Held in the M&S towers, the second iteration of Udhyami Seed Camp was the “Tech Edition”, and sixteen teams participated in the intensive 6-day entrepreneurship programme to turn ideas into businesses. Almost a year into launching their refined businesses, the startups have taken off in different directions. 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. The following is the first part of the four-parts series, for the second batch of Udhyami Seed Camp, where we catch up with Sandesh Subedi, co-founder of Team Vermiponics.
Four B.SC Agriculture students pitched an idea on Vermiponics, a method of growing plants without using any soil, but instead using nutrients from earthworm waste. This idea eventually led to a full-fledged research project, and Sandesh Subedi and other members of the team realized that Vermiponics had a potential to take off in Nepal. And along with that, it would be an option that is more environmentally friendly than soil-based agricultural methods.
Team Vermiponics came into Udhyami Seed Camp with a plan to make possible for city dwellers to produce organic vegetables on their own rooftop, balcony, or even inside the room. They decided to join Udhyami Seed Camp in order to gain a better understanding of business strategies. “The 6-day program was information-packed. The most important takeaways for us were the trainings on customer dealing, and an understanding on what kinds of products do well in the market. We learnt the importance of sticking to whatever idea sells, and making the effort to build on that idea,” Subedi said.
Right now, the team still has 4 members, and are serving customers within their university in Rampur, Chitwan, the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science. For the future, they plan to expand on their new ideas, one of them being Aquaponics. “Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming or aquaculture, and hydroponics, which is a soil-less method of growing plants. In Aquaponics, plants and fish are grown together in an integrated system,” said Subedi. This system will solve the problems faced by soil-based planting methods, such as pesticide usage, the amount of water required, and so on.