Working differently!

By LB THAPA FOR THE ROAMING POST, originally this article was published in Food & Wine Magazine, Kathmandu, Nepal

Everybody wants to be rich, famous and successful; but in reality only a handful of people become successful—rests are merely the daydreamers. This write-up is about a man who failed miserably in business, but did not accept a defeat. He stood on his feet and continued hard work until he achieved his goal. This man is none other than Ekraj Neupane, a young tourism entrepreneur from Pokhara. Neupane, a local resident of Lakeside, had all those wild dreams to reach the highest pedestal of success, as anyone of his age would have. But he was different because unlike others he dared to dream and worked hard to translate those dreams into reality. Extreme degree of perseverance, self-determination and self-discipline led Ekraj Neupane to climb the ladder of success. Today Ekraj Neupane is among the highly successful tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara.

“Let me make it clear that I did not get anything by chance or by a sheer luck! Whatever I have achieved in my life is all due to hard work and only hard work. However, I think no success is possible without self-discipline. Today I am happy with what I have. I am still young and I can do lot more in days to come” said Neupane confidently.

Even as a young boy, Neupane had never thought of working for others. He wanted to have a business of his own. Young and inexperienced Neupane’s early foray into business was more or less a mixed bag of success. “I learnt more from failures than success,” admits Neupane.

His first business venture was a garment shop at Lakeside, which was solely targeted to foreigners. Though garment business was doing well, he was not satisfied as he wanted to do something better and even bigger. His business aspirations led him to open a restaurant in 1995 he named it “World Vienna Restaurant” at Lakeside.

“When I opened that restaurant I was a young boy at 22. I was young and inexperienced but I had intense desire to succeed. Then I missed the cord, forgot the basic norms of business and got carried away by over ambitions. I was more emotional than rational. Finally, my first major business venture a restaurant fizzled out unceremoniously. I closed the restaurant and kept most of the things at my home. My parents and family members suggested me not to get involved in the tourism profession as it was not my forte…I flatly denied to give in under any circumstances. I sat quiet and gone into retrospection and made analysis where I made mistakes…however, I was preparing to rise again,” asserted Neupane.

When everyone was mocking at Neupane for his miserable failure in the restaurant business, he was preparing to bounce back much harder than before. “I wanted to let the world know that I am down but not out and I have all that to succeed in life” added Neupane.

In order to hone his business skill and learn new ideas Neupane went to Europe and spent 3 years working in tourism sectors. Those three years were extremely productive for him, as Neupane had acquired firsthand knowledge of tourism sector. His work experience in bakery proved a huge asset for him. “I stayed in Germany and Belgium but I spent most of my time in London. I made some good friends over there and I did learn many good skills from them”. Finally, Neupane returned home with refreshed zeal and tons of self-confidence.

An aerial view of one of the apartments run by Ekraj Neupane.

He startled everyone by opening yet another magnificent restaurant in the heart of Lakeside ‘Pokhara Java Coffee House’. He had opened this restaurant after incurring heavy loss from the first restaurant business. “It was a big gamble for me. I had used all my savings and even mortgaged my house to take loan from the bank. But this time I was more prepared, matured by age and had learnt good lessons of tourism business from Europe”.

When Neupane opened a new restaurant at Hallan chowk, Lakeside many people at Lakeside were sure for yet another flop for him. However, Neupane proved them utterly wrong when his restaurant caught momentum and within a year, he opened yet another branch of Pokhara Java Coffee House at Jarebar, Lakeside. The second branch of the restaurant was much bigger and more magnificent than previous one.

Ekraj Neupane, the man behind the success.

“Now I am thinking of opening a chain of Pokhara Java Coffee House in all major touristic places in Pokhara. I have completed preliminary studies and now I am all set to begin the mega project anytime soon,” revealed Neupane.

After the success of restaurant business, he turned to entirely a new type of business. It was a well-furnished apartment for tourists who wanted to stay long and have their own kitchen. This was a new concept in Pokhara, which he had learnt in Europe. He opened the first ‘Pokhara Studio Inn apartment’. And his speculation was right as the success of first apartment encouraged him to open yet another apartment and today he operates five such apartments in Pokhara.

Speaking with Food & Wine, Neupane seems to be more confident of seeing an international airport in Pokhara. “I am hopeful that Pokhara will definitely have international airport. An international airport can change the face of Pokhara tourism. For a balanced and all round development of the country, development activities must be decentralized,” opined Neupane.

This scribe agrees with Neupane when he said that all four wheelers should be banned plying across the main road of Fewa lake. The constant release of carbon has caused more harm to Fewa Lake than good.

LB THAPA, the blogger


LB Thapa is a travel blogger. He is also the author of six books. His books have been published by Nirala Publications, New Delhi, India and Himalayan Maphouse, Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, POKHARA AND ANNAPURNAS has been translated into seven foreign languages. LB Thapa’s books are available on www.amazon.com


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