•      Mon Jul 22 2024

Chandra Dhakal: A Journey of Resilience and Entrepreneurship

Chandra Prasad Dhakal is a distinguished entrepreneur and businessman in Nepal, holding several prominent positions in the country’s private sector. He is the Executive Chairman of IME Group, one of Nepal’s largest business conglomerates, and the Chairman of Global IME Bank, the nation’s largest commercial bank. Additionally, he serves as the President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the apex body of Nepalese private sector organizations.

Under Dhakal’s leadership, the IME Group has grown to encompass more than two dozen enterprises across various sectors, including banking, remittance, energy, tourism, automobiles, insurance, information technology, and infotainment. The IME Group has created over 25,000 job opportunities, both directly and indirectly, contributing significantly to Nepal’s economy.

Dhakal began his entrepreneurial journey with a small grocery store in 1984/85 and later founded IME Remit, Nepal’s first remittance company, in 2001. This initiative has played a crucial role in formalizing and institutionalizing remittance inflow in Nepal, enhancing financial access across the country. He is also the Chairman of Global IME Bank, which has become the largest bank in Nepal through strategic mergers and acquisitions.

The IME Group, committed to developing infrastructure in each province, is actively working on several cable car projects to boost tourism and hospitality. The group’s philanthropic efforts, led by the IME Foundation, focus on education and primary healthcare for underprivileged children and humanitarian services during crises.

Dhakal’s contributions have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including ‘Sukritimaya Rastradeep,’ ‘Prabal Janasewashree (Fourth),’ and ‘Gorkha Dakshin Bahu IV,’ conferred by the Government of Nepal. He has also been honored with the ‘Commercially Important Person Award – CIP’ multiple times and the ‘Largest Taxpayer Award’ for four consecutive years.

In addition to his business endeavors, Dhakal has served as Nepal’s Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia since 2010, further strengthening international relations. His extensive achievements and visionary leadership continue to drive socio-economic transformation in Nepal.

Early Life, Education and Beginning of Career

Dhakal was born in 2022 BS in Amlachaur, Baglung, into a lower-middle-class family. Growing up in a family reliant on farming, life was challenging. At the age of 16, Dhakal’s father passed away, leaving him with the responsibility of caring for his two sisters and younger brother.

Despite these hardships, Dhakal was determined to pursue his education. He moved to Kathmandu in 2041 BS to continue his studies and support his family financially. Initially, he worked at his uncle’s grocery store and later secured a job at Pepsi Cola Company in Nepal.

Dhakal’s professional journey took a significant turn when he joined Rastriya Banijya Bank in 2045 BS. Although his initial salary was lower than his previous job, Dhakal was attracted to the stability and prestige of a government job. His dedication and hard work at the bank were evident, as he went above and beyond his duties, managing banking matters for traders and handling additional tasks like data submissions to the Nepal Rastra Bank.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

Dhakal’s entrepreneurial journey began with a cold store business in Thamel, which he ran with his cousin. This venture marked his initial foray into entrepreneurship. In 2048 BS, Dhakal and his cousin launched a cargo company, a risky but determined step that eventually proved successful.

The cargo business required substantial investment and navigating initial challenges, including managing expenses and building a client base. Despite these hurdles, Dhakal’s reliability and reputation from his time at the bank helped the business gain traction.

Recognizing the challenges faced by Nepalis working abroad in sending money home, Dhakal saw an opportunity to establish a dedicated remittance service. In 2057 BS, he founded IME Remit, a pioneering effort in formalizing remittance services. The company received support from various government agencies, including the Nepal Rastra Bank and the Ministry of Labor.

Dhakal’s success in the remittance business paved the way for further ventures. He established IME Finance Company and later transitioned to opening a bank. In 2063 BS, along with 32 colleagues, he founded Global Bank, which evolved through mergers to become Nepal’s largest commercial bank.

Dhakal’s entrepreneurial spirit extended to other sectors, including tourism and hospitality. Inspired by the Genting Highlands in Malaysia, he initiated the Chandragiri Hills & Cable Car Project, which became a significant attraction in Kathmandu.

IME Group: A Business Empire

Under Dhakal’s leadership, IME Group has diversified into over two dozen businesses across various sectors, including banking, information technology, communication, energy, tourism, hospitality, automotive, insurance, sports, and entertainment. The group directly employs over 20,000 individuals and indirectly facilitates self-employment opportunities for over 40,000 more.

Dhakal’s entrepreneurial journey is guided by three key principles: addressing genuine societal needs, aligning with state priorities, and ensuring personal and team benefits. These principles have been instrumental in garnering government support and overcoming challenges.

Reflecting on Nepal’s business landscape, Dhakal observes a significant shift towards a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs. The liberalization of the economy has fostered private sector growth, contributing over 81 percent to the national economy. Despite challenges like bureaucratic hurdles and policy constraints, Dhakal remains optimistic about the future of entrepreneurship in Nepal.

Dhakal’s journey from a humble background to a successful businessman is a testament to his resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. His contributions to Nepal’s economic landscape, particularly in the remittance and banking sectors, have been instrumental in driving growth and development. As Dhakal continues to explore new avenues for business expansion, his story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the importance of dedication, innovation, and a commitment to societal welfare.

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