UMA Ventures, Johan Hekelaar, Frost & Sullivan, California Center for International Trade Development, Crispreport, and Apprit Technology Group, among others, are jointly organizing an investment summit in Silicon Valley, USA. Senior officials from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Maldives including Ministers, Secretaries of Industry, Trade and Investment Board, Governors of the Central Banks will attend the event. Executives of several mid to late stage companies from Nepal, India, other foreign companies doing business in Nepal and executives of businesses led by South Asian entrepreneurs in the United States will exhibit their companies. Potential participants also include United States Congressional Representatives, Trade and Commerce officials.

Ravi Sodhi, the conference chair, said that the event will provide an opportunity for United States based companies to learn more about Nepal investment and business opportunities, the regulatory environment, investment process, taxation and repatriation of profits. In addition, United States and Nepal business executives will be able to network and find partners.

Several private equity, venture capital, asset management and international companies are expected to attend the conference. Guests would include representatives of global private equity firms and international business leaders who do or plan to do business in Nepal and South Asia. The event will be a great venue to connect with other experienced business leaders who have been operating business in Nepal and have extensive knowledge of Nepal market, opportunities and the challenges. Venture leaders in the Bay Area will present their views on Nepal business.

A discussion on Nepal’s major opportunities and potential for economic development is expected. In general, global companies and investment communities are unaware about investing or doing business in Nepal. Nepal is a democratic country strategically located between India and China. Nepal shares an open border with India. There are many treaties that Nepal and India have jointly signed to facilitate cross-border business. It is cheaper to produce in Nepal compared to India or China. A company can produce in Nepal and sell to both the Indian and Chinese markets. While Nepal’s number two export market is United States, it does not rank even in top ten for imports. At the conference, US companies can meet with Nepal regulatory agencies and key decision makers to learn about Nepal export and investment opportunities.

There are many investment firms investing in the emerging markets but it’s extremely rare that a Fund has considered Nepal. Although Nepal is located between world’s two largest economies, Nepal has been overlooked. It’s difficult to find the very basic necessities of life in Nepal at a reasonable price as there are only handful importers. The market is supplier driven. Consumers are willing to spend but the services and products are rarely available.

In January and February, Uma Ventures had similar conferences in India and Nepal which were highly successful. “We have noticed an increasing interest in Nepal lately from foreign companies”, said Pankaj Shrivastava. Details of the summit can be found at www.southasiasummit.com.

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