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Accelerate My Business Impact: Somi Bhagat Guragain’s Story

Program Year: 2024

Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are vital to Nepal’s economy, comprising 90% of businesses and 45% of jobs, employing 2.7 million people. However, despite their significance, women-led enterprises often lack essential skills and financial support. To address this disparity, The Asia Foundation’s Accelerate My Business Program (AMB) under the South Asia Governance Program (SAGP) has successfully trained over 300 women-led small businesses in the Koshi province.

In August 2023, Somi Bhagat Guragain, a small-business owner, participated in the training of trainers (ToT) program conducted by AMB. The training provided experienced entrepreneurs with technical refinement so they could impart their experience and knowledge to train less experienced and novice women entrepreneurs.

In 2010, Somi followed her passion for concocting spices and established her own business, Ruchi Food and Spices Products. Despite encountering challenges, including stiff competition, quality issues with effective marketing, and Covid-19, Somi was able to master technical skills through the SAGP initiative. She learned how to align her experience with the technical knowledge she gained in the training, applying new skills like digital marketing tools, local SEO strategies, competitor analysis, and understanding the essence of customer retention to expand business reach. After completing the AMB ToT, Somi transitioned into a trainer for the program in Biratnagar from September to December 2023. Her insights on practical experience resonated with the 85 participants in attendance during her session and created a ripple effect of empowerment within the trainees.

Two photos on top of another. The top photo is of participant SOmi speaking, and the bottom phot shows her audience.

Building on this success, Somi took the initiative to broaden her impact. During a 3-day “Sipmulak Talim” program hosted in Biratnagar Metropolitan premises, she held a session focused on sales and marketing, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), digital marketing, and cyber security tailored for small businesses, all of which she learned through the AMB ToT. The program attracted 30 participants eager to absorb her wealth of knowledge.

Somi now actively advocates continuous digital literacy training and emphasizes the importance of digitization efforts to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs across diverse segments. She envisions a digital future where every woman, irrespective of her location or background, has access to the tools necessary for success in the digital realm.

Accelerate My Business is a current program under The Asia Foundation’s South Asia Governance Program. With support from Visa, SAGP implemented the initiative in partnership with Vrock & Company, The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association, and Aprabasi Mahila Kamdar Samuha—a network of returning migrant workers.

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