50 Millionaires

Nepali architect - Arniko in Miaoying Temple
Nepali architect - Arniko in Miaoying Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Russia hosts the largest cluster of Nepali millionaires in the Nepali diaspora. By some counts there are about 30 millionaires based in Moscow. These are all self made people. And so you can not argue the NRN leadership has been dominated by wealth.

For the first time NRNA USA has some semblance of existence. There are thousands of members, there are duly elected leaders. But NRNA USA is still no close to aspirations of global leadership.

For me it is less about the NRNA organization and more about Nepal’s economic growth as it can be projected over the next three decades. I did full time work for Nepal’s democracy movement in the 2005 period. Subsequently I put full time work into Nepal’s Madhesi Movement. And I have moved on. And now the issue is economic growth.

You can’t build a successful company as an act of charity, or by thinking about a particular country. Entrepreneurship responds to its internal forces. It is a high risk venture. You have to respond to the market forces. And it is not like I don’t think about me or my family. But I do also have one eye on Nepal.

To me more important than membership drives of the NRNA is the quest to see at least 50 millionaires among the Nepalis in NYC. That is the only meaningful way the Nepalis in America, more specifically New York, can not only hope to provide global leadership to the NRNA but, more importantly, make meaningful contributions to Nepal’s economic growth. So I look more for aspiring entrepreneurs than neta types. A few I might team up with, many I would just want to stay in the loop with.

You have to be in a position to personally invest, you have to be in a position to guide global investments into the Nepali economy, and then you can also hope to collectively propose policy changes that are so fundamental to letting the economy in Nepal bloom to its rightful size.

Working for Nepal’s democracy and Madhesi movements cost me money. I had to eat into my savings. But this next phase is about making money, about creating some serious personal wealth.

I don’t have much taste for old economy ventures. That is not a stamp of disapproval. The richest Nepalis in the city today have all made their money in the old economy. But I am grounded in software, and my ventures are new economy ventures. I find high tech exciting. Down the line that also makes room for clean energy ventures.

Building an ambitious company in a city like New York necessarily means you are going to aim for a global customer base, or at least a globally diverse customer base. That necessarily means you are going to have to build a globally diverse team. You can not have an all Nepali team trying to serve a global customer base. So you build your company following rules that are best for the company’s growth. And you contribute to Nepal’s economy to the best of your abilities, according to rules that best serve the purpose.

New York City is greatly suited for building great companies, especially multi-national corporations. The infrastructure here - and I don’t mean just the trains and buses - is optimal. It has a well developed financial marketplace. You count your blessings and you make your moves.

I have my tech startup, an Augmented Reality Mobile Game. That is recent, and it is pre-launch. I have had my tech consulting firm for years now. I have a strong bias in that I like working with tech startup type clients. Usually I just build the basic prototype. In rare cases I also end up taking a bigger role. I bring more than tech to the table. I also bring my knowledge of tech startups. I have been building a network for fundraising among professional investors for years now. But you can only cash on it if you have built the right company with the right kind of growth rates. Read: wild growth rates. Investors are business people. They invest because they think you will grow their money.

Nepalis in New York should be able to outdo the Nepalis in Moscow. And entrepreneurship is that route. I happen to believe entrepreneurship is for everybody. I am a big fan of network marketing, for example. Because it allows a venue for entrepreneurship even among the low income Nepalis in the city. Or you could invest 5K, 10K in a tech startup. A successful tech startups would give you returns that land in Kathmandu simply can not. Owning a small equity in a high tech venture beats owning real estate in Kathmandu.

The message of entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with the message of dual citizenship, and I don’t mean the watered down dual citizenship that the politicians in Kathmandu are talking about. They are trying to create a second class citizenship for the NRNs, like they already have for the Madhesis in Nepal. That is a no no.

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