Your best business development ideas in Nepal

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Nepal is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Nepal? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

Buy in Nepal, handicrafts or other, that's fine
Visit Nepal, trek in Nepal, enjoy the mountains, help the poor, or the children or do temporary work to help others, that's fine.

But, trust my old experience, do not go into business in Nepal.
I am not saying it cannot be done, but if you are a foreigner and care about either your sanity or your pocket book, you will abstain.

Let the nepalese do the business development

Besides, foreigners can have the "best business development ideas in the world" but those are all subject to rules and regulations, and prior approval of the Authorities, most likely Department of Industry; so check with them first to see if your ideas are compatible and acceptable to the DOI.
Example: foreigners cannot go into the handicrafts field, or become travel agents etc.
First step: consult up to date list of what businesses are ok for foreigners to go into
and which ones, you will be prevented from going into.

There's nothing easy about doing direct business (investment) in Nepal

You are so right! I think more tourists are cheated by partnering up with Nepali than get into trouble on the streets in 'after hours' Thamel. If you don't do everything by the letter of the law and cover your butt every step you will not have a chance of recourse. And the Nepali are so kind and gentle by nature it will hit you like a brick to the head when they change their mind and meet another tourist with a bit more money. It's the same in the US. If a foreigner goes into business with an American it usually ends badly, as well. It's about the 'home field' advantage mixed with a bit of nationalism. Actually, I know foreigners in the handcrafts industries, most of whom do business like they are in the old West.

So don't invest more than you can afford to lose and remember that if you were in the West you would easily spend more than you could lose here just by living your life there. You'll have an interesting life and help to develop a country that missed the industrial revolution.

There is a reason they call Nepal "Never Ending Peace And Love." I have a wonderful Nepali family who've adopted me and they always give me more than they take. There are many Nepali like them. 

I'm going to try to upload a picture. Never tried it before. If it doesn't come out right maybe someone will tell me how to do it:

On this same general subject,  one major consideration should be kept in mind before any foreigner considers any possible investment in Nepal. As far as I can see, no mention of it has been made of it in these columns here, to date.
The point is that no investor in his right mind should invest his money in Nepal or any other country on the planet unless he can receive or benefit from full prior guarantees that he can get both his capital and profits, dividends or earnings out of that country when the time comes for REPATRIATION of the funds to his home country.
So let us look at the current situation in Nepal:
1. The hard fact is that the nepalese rupee is not a convertible currency
2. As a result, the nepalese currency is not traded on world currency markets
3. The currency is therefore worthless in Zurich, New York, Paris or London
So, foreign investors should be wary and tread lightly is the best advice one can give

While it is true that Nepal does have a Foreign Investment Act, foreigners who consider making direct investments in that country would be well advised to concern themselves not only about ¨investing¨but more importantly insuring ¨THE FINANCIAL EXIT OF THEIR CAPITAL¨
What texts, present legislation, central bank directives presently provide those guarantees to foreign investors in Nepal? And if they exist, are they presently being applied or enforced?
Ask your banker, financial consultant or lawyer to provide you with solid evidence of that
All I know is that I have never seen them.

You are absolutely right. It is impossible to get the rupee out, well, not impossible, but difficult. If a person thinks they can come to Nepal like the Chinese did in Madagascar and exploit the people and resources I suggest they go elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, you want to help on a humanitarian basis by bringing industry to Nepal, export goods or something else to strengthen the economy, then please know that this is a country filled with warm, friendly people who need help to catch up on the world stage.

One other thing, the Nepali rupee is 1.6 of an Indian rupee, so as India's economy gets better I think Nepal should be able to get a boost. Wouldn't that be the way that would work? I'm not an economist.

Don't invest more than you can afford to lose. Know it is so much cheaper to live a good life with a cook, house cleaner and day helper that you could just amortize it as the money you saved in living expenses. I'm happy to help anyone wanting to come here with honest answers and if I don't know something I can usually put you in touch with someone who does.

You are absolutely right. 
In respect of your next to the last paragraph. it is a fact that the indian rupee is on fixed parity ratio of 1:60 over the nepalese currency. But that being so, it's a double edged sword if I may put it that way!
If the indian rupee goes up, the nepalese rupee goes up
If the indian rupee should fall (for economic or any other reason) the nepalese rupee will automatically follow suit.
It can only be hoped that one day - and we can all hope sooner rather than later - the central bank authorities of Nepal will change Policy and make the rupee fully convertible on the world's exchange markets.
What better way for attracting more direct Foreign Investment into the country and stimulate economic growth in Nepal?.......

.......the ¨best business development idea¨ that comes immediately to my little mind!

Hi, I'm Sven, currently living here in KTM on a tourist visa.  Thanks all, your contributions are really inspiring and  helpful. I came across a Nepali in Qatar who worked so hard under terrible circumstances to support his family.  Now, I would like to buy a cow farm in KTM Valley and give him a chance for a better life. He's got the know-how, I have the funds to make it happen. However, I expect a return of investment at some point in time.  Any suggestions on how a contract should look like to let him feel most responsible? Unfortunately, joint venture doesn't work as he has nothing to put in. Most likely it is going to be a 100% foreign investment. Maybe in 2 years he would be able to buy a share and gradually take over all.
Do you know a capable lawyer I can trust? Any suggestions could be posted here. However, I would be grateful for a contact on WhatsApp. My WhatsApp  number is xxx or telephone in Nepal xxx Thanks all. Sven.

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You are to be commended on your initiative, ready and so willing to help the nepali people in such a  direct, generous and constructive way.  Nepal needs people like you.
This having been said, I must be honest with you. The truth is that I really know nothing about farming, Besides, as I happen to be out of country, I would urge you to take advice from other contributors like you say.
In browsing "wikihow" one can read that "Dairy farms take a lot of money and capital to start up, way more than a meat operation does.  Know what you are doing...." etc and they add...."contact Government Institutions, University Agriculture Extensions, and established dairy farms.."
An organization called "agriculture in Nepal" informs us that "there are only few commercial dairy farms started in Nepal" - email is   agricultureinnepal[at] I believe.
From the reliable Himalayan Times, one learns that cows raised at the Laligurans Dairy  Farm and Research Center in Khairahani 11 in CHITWAN constitute, they claim, "the largest farm in the country"
As we all know, eating beef is strictly taboo in Nepal - that's obvious - but on the dairy/milk side, the questions most often raised appear to be these as far as I can tell:
- is there local demand for the milk? 
- and how much TIME AND MONEY does it take to raise a calf to milk producing stage?

As I said I am the wrong person to ask and cannot pretend to have the answers to any of these questions, but my gut feeling is that the place to start is to find a professional in Kathmandu who knows this field and can produce a FEASIBILITY STUDY for you, and take things from there, particularly as you mention ROI (return on investment) at the end of two years.  Better safe than sorry particularly if you are planning to INVEST a fair amount of money in this field in Nepal. Only a professional familiar with dairy and cow farms can tell you how realistic it is for you to expect an ROI in such a short period of time, Likewise, an expert can guide you on the best breed of cow to get, the location, and a reasonable time frame to get this project up and going before it reaches the break-even point?  Who knows, Chitwan may weill be the more attractive location, in preference to Kathmandu Valley?

Hi Theo, really great to hear from you in such a short time. I appreciate your advice. Well, a feasibility study is a professional approach. My partner has a background in horse keeping and competed a local training about animal farming recently. That gave him an insight into the subject. We have visited 2 exceptional farms with business character so far. The owners have been welcoming and sharing their experience. Success cannot be guaranteed, it depends a lot on good management and human relation. There is a demand for milk. I got to either trust my partner or stay away at all.  The good thing is that I know how hard and reliable he worked in the past.  I got to give it a try knowing that the effort could become a loss. Thanks again for your thoughts and time. Best wishes, Sven.

As we know Nepal is an Agriculture country but few years past people from Nepal stop doing most of agriculture and migrate to foreign county for better life .
so most of Nepalese don t want to invest in agriculture because lack of manpower and financial problem.i suggest one of the fast growing business in Nepal is fish farming and poultry farming. 
Fish farming might be a good idea for a small farm holder or interested entrepreneur. The type of fish to raise depends on the topography (mountains, hilly, or plain area); climate and temperature; and type of water available (still water like pond, or running water). If you are starting to …
As am doing a poultry farming recently its seem easy money but is not as we know if we work hard u will be in top of success so i think this two business is much more better the other business in Nepal.

Like this contributor points out, poultry and fish fish farming may indeed be two interesting fields to consider in Nepal. As we seem to agree that the other alternatives in the country are few and far between for a variety of reasons, better to do that and make money, than lose it, no?

In browsing this popular and informative site about Nepal, I can't help but notice the overwhelming number of "views" that this topic  (i.e. about best development ideas) has attracted  - numbering at this writing,  an impressive 480..... and running! That number gives a clear indication of reader interest on this particular subject.
Those who want to know more might also refer back to the comments also posted on this same site by another contributor, Leo Schilts, on 23 May, 2014 - cross reference to other topic "Buy Property in Nepal"  - I found it most informative as Leo sends a clear message about his experience in doing business in Nepal, over admittedly a very long period of time, with all the consequences that he describes. My own experience was not so dissimilar, so I can sympathize with this other contributor. The hard reality is that Nepal is not an easy place to do business in and I know of no one who wants to end up in costly and endless litigation. And then, say you win in Court,  after going successively from District, to Appellate, to Supreme Court over, say, 7 years....What banker, what lawyer, who ?.....may I ask will guarantee that you can repatriate to your home country,  your hard earned money, investment, earnings, whatever at the end of the day?  Food for thought.

Following excerpt of news report will interest all Foreign Entrepreneurs, considering making direct Foreign Investment in Nepal in present conditions. It is provided by Dinesh Thapa who wrote for the Himalayan Times (August 4, 2017) as follows:
"....Foreign Investment has declined in Nepal...." and he adds...."It is not strange that when new foreign investor tries to apply for approval to start their business in Nepal, they are compelled to wait for more than a year when the firm is technically, socially, economically and environmentally feasible. Without bribing the table workers, their files are not even looked. In spite of helping and providing tax exemptions and other facilities, some of the bureaucratic officials try to take bribes discouraging foreign investments"
To read full article by Dinesh Thapa, click: … -building/


I read every things, details that u mentions in your post. in my opinion Nepal is agriculture country and here mostly people are in agriculture and the rate is cheap for worker so ..poultry business is most suitable and easy to do now in Nepal because its daily needed things for people if possible u can do egg poultry also..and one more things that u can do as a foreigner u can invest in tourism business by coordinate to your travel agency in your country and u can invest in the land near the chitwan national park and can make some small type of resorts..from where u can explore the wild life for foreigner people..for more contact u can email me in hemanta.annapurna[at] ..

Thank u have a good time ahead.

I wholeheartedly agree with Theoaunepal's assessment. KIVA is a great way to invest in Nepal while helping the small business person. There are organizations that allow people to make small loans and statistically they are pretty good investments.

I recently wrote a blog post that I think outlines the best way to help: I helped my friends to get a website and now we make a bit of money when we need it and we are helping to support the cottage industries. I don't need to have a business visa to do that.

When I look at places like Brazil and Madagascar and see what the Chinese investors have done I am glad Nepal is exactly as it is. 

Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Also be clear in your heart what your motives are. Is it to excel here because you couldn't make it back home? Do you have some idea that you are smarter than the average Nepali? If so, Nepal will help you through such delusions.

I think some enterprises including unemployed women must be good, for example, reusable sanitary napkin production, organic farming etc.

hahaha..nice experience

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