The Loden Foundation is pleased to call for business proposals from aspiring and existing Bhutanese entrepreneurs or community groups. Interest and collateral free loans will be provided through 3 funding windows with support from UNDP Bhutan and Mountain Hazelnuts.

The 3 funding windows will support a wide range of entrepreneurial ventures that are innovative and viable. It is particularly important that the proposals are aligned to the national priorities of creating employment, substituting import, and improving the resilience of the Bhutanese economy.

Standard Selection Process: An independent panel of judges comprising of both national and international business experts will evaluate the business proposals and the applicants. Shortlisted applications will then be called for an interview in October 2021 at the Loden office in Thimphu, or conducted virtually. In case of changes in timing, prior notice will be given on the website.

Standard Loan Scheme and Repayment Procedure: Selected applicants will be offered an interest and collateral free loan up to Nu.1.5 million, repayable within four years. The loan will be disbursed within two months after the final results are announced and upon fulfilling all necessary prerequisites. The selected applicants will be asked to sign a loan agreement with the Loden Foundation and also present a guarantor. The loan is disbursed in two tranches. The second tranche of the loan shall be made upon verification of the proper use of money received in the first tranche and with positive recommendation from the project monitoring team from Loden.

Mentoring Support: Mentoring support shall be provided to the selected entrepreneurs to support the progress of the business and provided guidance in necessary areas related to business. Once the business is operational, the entrepreneurs shall submit a detailed bi-annual written report to the Loden office. The entrepreneurs are normally given a grace period of upto six months and are required to pay back the entire amount of loan within a four-year time frame.

What business ideas are eligible to apply?

The Loden Entrepreneurship Programme (LEP) exists to help young Bhutanese men and women who have vision, drive and idea to set up or scale-up a business, which is economically beneficial, socially responsible, culturally sensitive and environment friendly.

The proposal will be evaluated based on the following priority criteria:

  1. Financial viability (able to repay the loan)
  2. Cultural, social and ecological sensitivity (e.g. not a slaughter house, fishery, logging, bar etc.)
  3. Clear and realistic
  4. Social impact such as employment generation, community benefit, etc.
  5. Geographic suitability or regional balance (advantageous to be based outside Thimphu)
  6. Non-duplication of LEP funded projects or project (should not be something which is already in the market and where there is no requirement for such projects)
  7. Entrepreneurial drive and motivation (good business is not sufficient; we need real entrepreneurs)
  8. Personal commitment (teamwork and personal investment are a plus)
  9. Skills (understanding competition and key business indicators)

In addition to the general eligibility criteria set above, business proposals must also fit into the requirement of the following 3 funding windows-

  1. Loden-UNDP Bhutan Climate Change Funding Window: This funding window invites proposals, which will make social and environmental impact and contribute to Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

Note: The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) with support from UNDP Bhutan is implementing the project “Gender Responsive Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)” implementation in Bhutan (2019-2021). The project reiterates RGoB’s commitment to remain carbon neutral and aims to develop climate change actions to deliver sustainable and low-carbon development. The project is implemented through the National Environment Commission (NEC) and the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) with funding support from European Union and the Governments of Germany and Spain, and technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In addition to the general criteria, the proposals under the Loden-UNDP Bhutan Climate Change Funding Window will also be evaluated based on the additional priority criteria:

  1. Address environment related problems
  2. Application of improved technologies
  3. Create employment opportunities and participation of women and youth in its implementation
  4. Support ongoing projects that can demonstrate innovation and scale up ideas
  5. Project Impact, sustainability and potential to scale up
    Up to 2 business ideas will be supported through this window
  1. Loden-Hazelnut Programme Funding window: This funding window invites potential business proposals along the hazelnut value chain in Bhutan. Please see the Mountain Hazelnuts website for some potential business ideas (https://www.mountainhazelnuts.com/loden-foundation)
    Up to 2 business ideas will be supported through this window
  1. LEP General Funding Window: This funding window shall support a wide range of entrepreneurial ventures that are innovative, viable and has the capacity to scale up and generate employment in Bhutan.
    A Minimum of 5 business ideas will be supported through this window

Application Process:

The interested applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Business proposal template (AVAILABLE HERE) or your own business proposal (not exceeding 15 pages). Please read the GUIDELINE
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Personal statement explaining why you are interested in the chosen business
  • Duly filled ‘Business Plan Submission form available HERE
  • Latest CIB report of the applicant. If you are married, you need to submit spouse’s CIB report from the Credit Information Bureau of Bhutan. For further details, you may visit: https://www.cib.bt/ProductAndServices/Downloads.aspx
  • CID copy

NOTE 1: Applicants who apply using the Business Proposal Template developed by Loden (available here) do not need to submit the Business Plan Submission Form. HOWEVER, if you apply using your own creative business proposal format, please note that you need to submit a Business Plan Submission Form. Additionally, please ensure that your proposal includes all the elements given in the GUIDELINE

NOTE 2: If you are a returning applicant applying with the same idea, you must explicitly mention what is new in your business plan. You must also indicate if you have received or applied for funding for the same business from other funding sources.

Interested applicants must submit the complete set of documents via email in a single PDF file to ‘application@loden.org’

Applications submitted after 5pm, 11th October 2021 will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the interview rounds. For any further information, you may contact Mr. Lhakpa, Programme Officer, at office phone 77195599 or email at lhakpa@loden.org during office hours.

Click Frequently Asked Question for additional information.