This blogpost by Anil Regmi, originally appeared on the GFAR blog.
Anil Regmi, a young Nepali national with a B.S. in Electronics and Communication Engineering who recently decided to turn to a career in agriculture, had the distinction in March of being selected as one of six finalists in the Youth Agripreneurs Project (YAP). A pilot project co-organized by GFAR and YPARD, YAP provides seed funding, technical mentoring and business coaching to promising young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”) so that they can realize their novel projects. In this blog post, Anil Regmi answers questions posed by YAP Mentorship Coordinator, Michelle Kovacevic, to get his first impression of the YAP orientation, his takeaways, and his expectations for how his mentorship will support his endeavor over the next year. Let’s hear what he had to say…
What did you bring to YAP that you are also taking away? Has it taught you anything that you might have always known but not acknowledged?
Initially I came up with the idea of SmartKrishi with only one intention in mind – providing my parents, who are also farmers, with help in their agricultural chores. Later, my engineering background helped to realize the potential impact of the program if it can be scaled through the use of mobile technology. I have been to remote villages, spoken with poor farmers, and felt myself the need of such technology. As such, learning from experience, I think I possesses a unique background. My addition to YAP is the diversity and depth of real-life experience that I bring to the table.
YAP has helped me to grow so much in last few months. From starting with a basic idea of vision generation to designing a business canvas template and reframing SMART goals, I have learned so much. Not only I have been able to refine my vision to concrete details but I have also learned to express myself. Now I spend a few hours every week on email and Skype with mentors learning about entrepreneurship. This has significantly boosted my confidence and ability to take on unforeseen challenges in the future.
What has this group/experience helped you leave behind?
The best part of YAP group is that we “YAPpers” come from different locations and cultures. We represent different types of projects. This YAPpers group has helped me in many ways, like providing new energy and ideas, seeking information or opinions, questioning about the process and development of lean canvas. Clarifying ideas or suggestions, clearing up confusions. As a startup I never managed a budget and going through budget planning helped a lot. Also I have refined our business canvas template overtime, which is a pretty neat capacity built through the YAP mentorship
What have you gained/learnt by being in the YAP so far?
Focusing on a direction: I started to think about my project quite seriously as I wasn’t very aware oflean canvas before. I had tried it few times earlier but it is clearer to me now, which helps me to underline the goals and activities. So far, I have figured out my weaknesses. My weakness is that my idea was initially widespread over a big domain and I lacked direction. With YAP guidance I was able to identify that and narrow down our objectives to concrete achievable tasks, or SMART goals.
Expectations: What were you expecting GCARD3/YAP to be like? Was the reality different to your expectations?
Our expectation from the YAP, YPARD/GFAR and our prospective mentor is to assist us in the design and development, as well as scaling up of our mobile-app ‘Smart Krishi’, which was built on the notion of further developing the agricultural information system for underserved parts of the world. We will require an iterative, formative evaluation in the actual context of how this app is being used and how we can stabilize it to tackle the challenges going forward. We need a hands in catalyzing collaboration with research units in Africa and India. The more help we get , the better it is.
In an attempt to deal with these issues, the importance of training, access to resources and proper access to knowledgeable mentors is highly important. We expect this program provides us (I and my co-founder) access to training, seed capital, and enough supervision to take our ideas to the next level.
We are very happy with the development to date. Cal Foulner has been assigned as our mentor, who has a wealth of experience in working in remote village of Nepal. Since we haven’t been able to make our presence in those areas, we are not much aware of how to train them or deal with them during promotional activities.
We expect our mentor(s) to help us in the following topics in this one year period:
• Monetizing business in agricultural domain, mainly in developing countries.
• Facilitating a wealth of connections in World Bank, IFAD, UN, USAID that could help us provide visibility, connection to the future grants and fellowships.
• Technical expertise in terms of app design and development.
Personally, I am happy to have been selected as one of the YAP-2016 finalists and to be working with successful mentors and entrepreneurs like Michelle, Peter, Cal Foulner, John Keiti. I really appreciate it and I look forward to making more progress.
Blogpost by Anil Regmi (waytomeanil(at)gmail.com), one of six finalists in the Youth Agripreneurs Project, a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”), co-organized by GFAR and YPARD.
Image courtesy: 1-Anil regmi; 2-Venionaire.com