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Bhutan launches business, technology innovation hub

Publication Date : 09-05-2012


The Bhutan Innovation and Technology centre (BITC), accommodated within the country’s IT park in Thimphu, was launched Monday.

It will serve as a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and enterprise creation in Bhutan. It is also made up of three components: a business incubator, a data centre, and a shared technology centre.

"Both BITC and TTP aren’t intended to be a holy sanctum, a quiet and empty place for cogitation and inward looking activities,” said TTP CEO, Mike Holland, speaking at the opening ceremony. “TTP and BITC are intended to be a lively, sometimes controversial, place for push and pull, of debate and discussion, that’s a part of innovation, part of incubating new businesses.”

Information and communications minister, Nandalal Rai, first inaugurated the business incubator. During his tour of the incubator, he received a brief explanation on the concept of incubating businesses.

BITC will provide its incubatees, who are entrepreneurs and small start-up businesses, with services ranging from physical facilities to intellectual collaboration, including both international and local, to create a viable and sustainable business that can operate successfully in the real market.

Mike Holland informed the minister that incubatees were chosen, not simply for their business ideas, but on how viably and sustainably the idea could be executed.

A TTP employee also explained to the minister that international mentoring would be provided to the incubatees, starting from June.

The business incubator is currently made up of 43 workstations, four manager cubicles, two training rooms, one meeting room, one video conferencing room, and space for a library.

The businesses will also be provided a number of services, ranging from administrative and financial, to building international connections.

Ten local companies have been selected by BITC that qualify for incubation.

Lyonpo Nandalal also inaugurated the data centre component of BITC.  A data centre is a physical facility used to house equipment that stores large amount of data, such as computer systems and, for instance, in the case of a bank  account and other information of its clients.  This is accompanied by uninterruptible power source, air conditioning, and security systems.

The facility at TTP is managed by a joint venture called Data Centre services, between a local IT company, New Edge Technologies, and Burland Technology Solutions in the UK.

Lyonpo Nandalal was informed that the facility already has two customers, and that marketing of the facility is continuing.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Richard Vass of Burland Technology, pointed out that the data centre facility at TTP “rival and even surpass many of the facilities” in the UK.

"In the absence of oil, Bhutan is blessed with the next best thing, cheap, environmentally positive reliable hydroelectric power in abundance, and provided that we’re ready to work hard, to reduce connectivity costs, we can leverage this advantage to the max and provide cost effective, reliable, data centre services beyond the borders of Bhutan,” Richard Vass said.

Thunder Motors, which deals in electric vehicles, is one of the companies that will be incubated at BITC.  Its managing director, Tashi Wangchuk, said the services the company is looking to obtain from BITC is assistance in finding investment and expertise.

Bhutan Media Services, another incubatee, plans to establish an online news agency similar to Reuters. 

Nima Zangpo of BMS said the company is seeking “professional technological networking, know-how, and data centre services, besides incubate services, facilities and entitlements from BITC.”

Animation and graphics company, Green Dragon Media’s Kinga Sithup said that, as the company plans to enter the international market, the IT park and BITC offered the best platform.


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