Spicing up the family finances: From basic entrepreneurship training to a successful spice grinding business


In Nepal, Durga Niraula went from depending on her husband’s unstable income for financing family needs to becoming the respected owner of a well-run business and is now a role model for other women in her community. It all came about because she participated in business training supported by ADB and ENERGIA.

Durga Niraula lives with her husband and three children in the village of Thokshila in the Udaypur district of Eastern Nepal. Having no land of their own and depending on the husband’s unstable job, the family faced serious financial challenges. Durga was interested in taking up an income-generating activity to support the family but, since she had no specific skills, she was unsure how to proceed. The risk that a new business entailed, especially given that the family had no resources that could be used as collateral to obtain a loan, was another important impediment to starting a business. In 2014, she participated in a basic entrepreneurial skills development training programme, held under the ADB-supported “Improving gender-inclusive access to clean and renewable energy in Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka” project. Durga now owns a profitable spice grinding business.

Taking the leap: Borrowing money to invest

Durga first participated in the basic enterprise training programme. After successfully completing this, she took the opportunity to continue with a one-week advanced training course in the area of her interest – spice grinding. Within a week of completion the training, she convinced her family to purchase a grinding machine worth NPR 30,000 (USD 290). Investing an additional NPR 10,000, she set up the grinding machine and the accessories required for her enterprise. To enable these purchases, she took two loans, one from a cooperative and another from the savings group of which she is a member.

Today, Durga is the proud owner of a spice-grinding unit, registered with the Ministry of Industry’s Cottage Industries Department. She sells her packaged products and also provides grinding services to her neighbours. With these endeavours, she has a gross weekly income of NPR 300 per week.

“I am happy to have had the opportunity to participate in the training,” says Durga, “I was encouraged by the knowledge gathered during the training as well as by the Electricity Users Cooperative (EUC), who helped me in selecting the equipment and provided me with the loan to buy them. I am now able to earn extra money for the family. My husband is also engaged in the business with me. I think it will be more profitable for us if my husband is able to get some technical training so he can help with the technical complexities of the grinding machine and its accessories. The work is at present a little difficult as we have no technical knowledge and need to spend a lot of time trying to get the machine working again when it stops.”

An inspiring example for others

Through the training and hand-holding technical assistance, Durga obtained knowledge: on entrepreneurship in general, on identifying a specific entrepreneurial activity, book-keeping, marketing and sales. She was also able to access funds to set up her spice-grinding unit. This is a new initiative in her community and surrounding area. Having established the area’s first spice grinding unit, Durga is today respected in her community and seen a role model for other women. The new business still faces challenges, mainly due to the absence of local technical support, which forces her to travel to the nearest town for even minor repair work. Nevertheless, based on her success so far, Durga is confident that she will overcome these challenges.