Springboard Plus awards top youth start-ups

The Springboard Plus programme, a six-month start-up pre-acceleration initiative aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship, concluded in the capital today. The event celebrated 16 start-ups that successfully reached Demo Day, with the top five winners receiving cash prizes ranging from 100,000 to 500,000 ngultrum. The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Employment, along with other officials, attended the ceremony.

Drup-Ge, a start-up that manufactures knives, secured first place, earning 500,000 ngultrum.

Springboard Plus selects early-stage entrepreneurs with scalable and sustainable business models, providing them with essential tools to achieve their business milestones.

The programme featured 18 youth start-ups from diverse backgrounds, including college students and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Tashi Wangchuk, the coordinator of Drup-Ge start-up said, “I am very happy to win it. I did not expect it. From now on we have many plans. We have less manpower, so, the money will be invested in recruiting man power and strengthening our market, globally.”

According to the Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship, the initiative has significantly benefited both new and existing start-ups.

Tashi Tenzin, an assistant programme officer with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment said, “So far, the Spring Board Plus programme has benefitted around 70 early-stage start-ups. The past two cohorts, 2022 and 2023, have created more than 81 job opportunities for the country. On average, we can say that five job opportunities were created by each start-up.”

He added there are plans to develop a playbook for start-ups and enhance collaboration with entrepreneurship organisations to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

With the youth unemployment rate at 22.9 per cent so far this year, the programme aims to address unemployment through entrepreneurship.

Launched in 2022, the Springboard Plus programme is led by the Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the UNDP Bhutan and the Loden Foundation.

Sonam Yuden, BBS News

Edited by Sherub Dorji 

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