On 9th June, a new Nepali restaurant was launched in North London targeting British food lovers. Though overall business prospects are still dim in Britain, a group of Nepali entrepreneurs launched Gurkha’s Pride restaurant at Ruislip High Street hoping for the best. “Since Nepalese cuisine is getting good reviews, we are optimistic that we will be able to do good business over the period of time,” said Anand Dharel, one of the promoters of the restaurant.
North West London College promoted by Nepali entrepreneurs recently launched its new branch in Reading (outside London). In Aberdeen, a group of Nepali academics and entrepreneurs have launched ‘Higher Education College, Scotland’ in order to cater to local as well as overseas students.
As the number of Nepali community is growing in the UK, a number of Nepali entrepreneurs have started consolidating and expanding their businesses. While restaurant is the predominant sector—with around 200 Nepali restaurants said to be operating across the UK, Nepali entrepreneurs have invested in diverse sectors including retail shops, groceries, real estate, education and media.
Doing business in UK is vastly different than doing business in Nepal, say entrepreneurs. “We have to take care of things like Health and Safety and abide by strict rules and regulations while doing business in here,” said Narendra Kandel, chairman of Nepalese Business Association (NBA) UK. “It’s heartening to see that Nepali entrepreneurs are doing quite good in different sectors and have been able to provide employment to Nepali students and others.”
NBA UK has also started awarding top Nepali businesses on the basis of their performance in different categories.
Businessmen, however, are worried about the likely impact of the emergency budget introduced by the new coalition government on 22nd June. The budget, which aims to drastically reduce government spending, has proposed to raise VAT from 17.5 percent to 20 percent beginning January 2011 at the same time trying to promote small businesses and start-ups, among others.
“The rise in VAT is likely to have adverse impact on overall business especially restaurant sector,” said Kandel adding, “It will add to our expenses and reduce profit margin.”
It may take a while for UK to produce businessmen like Dr Upendra Mahato (Russia) and Shesh Ghale (Australia), but Nepali businessmen operating in the UK are gradually consolidating their businesses. Established in 1996, YBC Cleaning Services Ltd. now employs over 300 people. Yogendra Chhetri, Managing Director of the YBC Cleaning Services, bagged the ‘Employer of the Year 2009’ award set up by the NBA UK.
Set up by Kul Acharya, ‘Holy Cow’ group has got seven outlets in different parts of London which sell take-away Indian food. “We are committed to provide quality food at affordable prices and so far we have got very good response from our customers,” said Acharya, who is also vice chairman of the NRN Association, UK chapter.
While operating in the UK, expatriate Nepali businessmen also have their eyes set on Nepal. “Not only in UK, Nepali businessmen would be happy to invest in Nepal,” said Kandel. “But we must have stability and security first,” he added.