A Fresh New Player Joins our Team – Meet Samanata!

By Rachana Khatri

Though October is the month to slow down and to prepare for the Dashain holidays, we at Nepal Communitere were busy transforming our team with fresh new faces! Meet Samanata Thapa! Samanata has recently joined the Nepal Communitere team as our new  ‘Program Officer” for our two new business incubation programs that we’ve recently launched- the Tourovation Hub Incubation Program and our I-Cube 2020 Business Incubation Program. With her background in business administration, Samanata is also an entrepreneur herself and brings in a lot of passion and enthusiasm to work in the sector of entrepreneurship development and business support services. She has in-depth knowledge and experience working with marginalized women and youth in Nepal as well as abroad. Hear from Samanata herself since you will be seeing lots more of her at Nepal Communitere!

Can you share with us in brief about yourself and what you did before joining the Nepal Communitere family?

I am a gender advocate and social entrepreneur with experience working with children, youth, women and the LGBTQI+ community locally and internationally over the past 8 years. I am also the founder and co-founder of Project Redefine and Haushala Creatives respectively. Project Redefine aims to redefine the socio-economic status of domestic helpers in Nepal by professionalizing this large informal labor sector. On other hand, Haushala Creatives is an ethical fashion brand that works closely with marginalized women artisans from the urban periphery of Kathmandu. We are one of the first in Nepal to promote slow fashion through the Global Swap in partnership with Global Fashion Exchange. This experience has contributed substantially to my ability to see projects, plans and reports through a critical and intersectional lens with respect to the environment and technology. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Kathmandu College of Management (KU) and I am an alum of AIESEC Nepal, Swedish Institute, Women Leadership Summit (Ujyalo Foundation), UNLEASH, Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (Women Lead Nepal), Common Purpose (South Asia Ventures) and Asia Pacific Youth Exchange. So, as you can see, I have a keen interest in youth leadership, gender equality and participation and am curious how business and environment are linked to these two groups. .

How did you hear about the Communitere  position? What made you want to join?

Well, I heard about the vacancy for a Program Officer at Nepal Communitere (NC) through a Facebook post that was forwarded to me by my friend. During the lockdown itself, I had time to introspect and I was thinking a lot about my career and goals in the next few years. As much as I enjoy running my own company, I also felt the need to explore other career options for myself as I had started my company at a very young age. I found that the position at NC- which also focuses on entrepreneurship development, business incubation, and sustainability, very well aligns with my personal vision and goals. I felt it’s a right fit for me and I will have an amazing opportunity to create a measurable impact in this sector and learn more.

What excites you the most about working at Nepal Communitere? What are you looking forward to?

The incubation and innovation work that takes place at NC is what excites me the most along with the team that is so passionate and committed to deliver what it promises to the business ecosystem of Nepal. Currently, I am really looking forward to how the tourism entrepreneurs we work with will integrate Renewable Energy and/or Energy Efficient solutions into their current business model through the Tourovation Hub incubation program. We recently conducted a 3-day long virtual ‘Tourovation Design Sprint’ workshop with these tourism companies from which we will be selecting final 8 companies for a 7-month incubation program. I’m also extremely excited to work with another 4 startups pivoting and adapting their business models during the pandemic through our I-Cube Program that we have also kicked off. We will be starting our first I-Cube masterclass for this cohort post Dashain. Additionally, I am looking forward to the launch of the Nepal Fab Lab at Nepal Communitere which is already coming to shape and  will allow access to startups to prototype and experiment in Nepal to validate their ideas.

Joining as program officer in Nepal Communitere, what will be your specific role and work?

I will be a part of all business incubation activities at Nepal Communitere from identifying and outreaching to potential SMEs, co-designing training and facilitating workshops, coaching and mentoring our incubation companies, to taking care of the overall implementation, management and reporting of the projects. I will be working closely with and supporting Program Directors- Padmakshi, Program Lead for Tourovation Hub and Aarati, Program Lead for the I-Cube Program to carry out various program activities, workshops and 1-1 business coaching to support young enterprises at this time of crisis. I am really excited to start on this journey together with the supportive NC team and work with the SMEs enrolled in both of these incubation programs.