This company is trying to preserve the traditional music of Nepal

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Sudarshan GC a recent graduate of Bio Technology from Purbanchal Univeristy found a way to preserve the traditional music of Nepal while giving employment to the musician. A concept that he created with his 3 co-founders  that can enable 10,000 jobs to participate in Hult Prize at his university.

1.Tell us about your journey of establishing Baja Nepal? How did you start the company?
We started a small college club trying to work on solving social problems that we noticed around us. Slowly, students from different colleges also showed interest in our projects and the club became team of multi-disciplined members. Around the same time we bought Hult Prize to our university and participated in it as well. Baja Nepal was ideated for pitching in Hult Prize which required business model to create more than 10,000 jobs in a decade. We won the campus competition and will be now going to the regional competition which will be held in Malaysia.

2.What is the social problem that you are trying to solve or what social change do you see your product or service can bring in the society?
We believe that traditional musicians are the true musicians because they have inherited and learned to play these instruments from their ancestors. Many of these traditional musicians are forced to migrate and take up menial work to earn a living and the music is slowly vanishing. With Baja Nepal, we want to connect these musicians to the demand in their own locality through an online platform for occasions such as marriages, bartamandas and other cultural rituals. These occasions require traditional music and the platform will give them employment to prevent them from migrating to foreign countries.

3.What is the legal status of your company? Who are the founders or partners of the company?
We registered the company as a private limited company in December 2018.  Hirendra Joshi, Ujwal Shrestha and Mohan Gupta cofounded the company with me who were also my teammates at the Hult Prize.

4.What stage is the company in?
We are still in the startup phase. Currently we are registering local musicians with our company. We call the musician and inform them about Baja Nepal and get them to become our registered musicians.

5.What challenges did you face while starting the company and what are the challenges you are facing right now?
In the beginning, we thought that we didn’t have any competitors however, later we learned that there were already different local clubs and band baja companies that were operating with a similar model of using internet to connect the musicians to the end customers. Another challenge we faced was during peak season when we had many enquiries from customer but all the musicians were already booked out. So, currently we are focusing on finding more musicians and creating a larger network of musicians to meet the high demand.

6.Who are your target customers? What is the market potentiality for the industry your company is in?
Nepal is a place where marriages are a big deal and people follow all the rituals and cultural traditions very rigorously. We are targeting the wedding market to provide musicians for marriage ceremonies as the existing clubs and band companies have not been able to fulfill the demand. We do believe that Baja Nepal has entered a market which has huge potential.

7.What is the business model for self-sufficiency or profit making model? How many musicians do have registered with your company?
We connect musicians to the events and generate revenue by taking 10% commission. Till date we have connected musicians to 3 events. But we sense there is a huge demand for traditional musicians as we are continuously getting phone inquiries for bookings. Focusing on the “Panche Baja”, we are already connected with 30 bands which means that we have a total of 300 musicians associated with us.

8.What are the key needs of your company?
We did not expect any kind of support when we are starting out the company but we received good response from the Nepal Tourism Board and the Cultural Corporation. We want to make Baja Nepal a known brand for all kinds of traditional music. However, in the present context most people do not know about us and our work so our key need for now is publicity and marketing.

9.What are your future plans with respect to your company?
Firstly, we do not want to limit ourselves to the city; we want to connect musicians who are in other parts of Nepal to the events happening in their locality. Secondly, we have spoken with the Cultural Corporation and are planning to organize events like “The Unheard Music” which was organized on March 9th that showcases traditional music that is slowly disappearing from the scene. We will be doing these events with musician who registered with us. Another thing that we plan to do is get interested foreigners witness the ceremonies and different traditional occasions of our culture. This would be done with the consent of the people conducting the event.

10.Do you consider yourself as a Social Entrepreneur?
I like to consider myself as a social entrepreneur as my business is based on a social , However I also feel I have a long way to go with my organization to do justice to the title.

11.Do you measure the impact of your product/service? If not what are your thoughts about impact measurement?
Yes, Baja Nepal is making an impact. By employing the musicians helps create an impact in three fold ways; one in preserving and promoting the traditional instruments and music, second, by giving the musicians employment for what they love to do and thirdly, by generating income for them, we also prevent them from migrating to foreign countries in search for employment opportunities. So, the Hult challenge was to create employment for 10,000 people and we won because with Baja Nepal we can employ more than 10,000 musicians and conserve our cultural heritage through music.

Interviewed by Priyadarshani Shrestha and Edited by Yangzum Lama