Akshay Golyan: A little bit of homework and hard work comes a long way

The Annapurna Express

Akshay Golyan is the Managing Director of Golyan Group, one of the leading business houses in Nepal. As a third-generation member of the Golyan family, Akshay has been leading the group’s business verticals for the past few years. ApEx caught up with Akshay to talk about the Golyan Group’s business plans. Excerpts:

As someone with an academic degree from abroad, how applicable do you find your education to be when it comes to utilizing it for your group?

I think education gives you the necessary knowledge to understand fundamental issues and use them in business according to the context of the country. Getting a good education is very important to holistically understand why things happen and how you can tackle the issues. My educational background ranges from finance, marketing, management, and accounting to business development. For me, this is relevant in the context of Nepal. The academic knowledge in these areas has helped me form a solid backbone with respect to business. What differs in Nepal is the way of working which differs from other countries. But the things I learned during my MBA program have provided me with the fundamental knowledge to manage a business.

You represent the new generation in the Golyan Group. How have you planned the group’s investment?

As a group, we focus on four key verticals of Manufacturing, Hotels & Real Estate, Renewable Energy (hydropower and solar power) and Agriculture. Within these four broad sectors, we have certain plans to add new businesses. For example, we are studying an expansion project in our Reliance Spinning Mills. We are also working on establishing two new hotels in Nepal. And, there is also homework going on real estate and hydropower projects. We have tried to focus on these four sectors that are relevant to Nepal in terms of business and are also important for the country’s growth. If we look at each sector, manufacturing is export-oriented. Hydropower is going to be the backbone of Nepal and there is the possibility that we will be the net exporter of electricity in the next 2-3 years.

The problem is that our policies are not conducive to the things that are going to improve Nepal. Industries in the country are still struggling to get a reliable power supply. There are still 8–9 hours of power cuts in large industries including ours. While we talk about power exports to India highly, no one cares about the power cuts that domestic industries are currently facing.

The agriculture sector has been the priority sector for the Golyan Group in recent years. What led the group to invest in this sector? 

Though Golyan Agro is registered as a profit-oriented company, we don’t trade in large margins. We work on zero to close to zero margins, maybe 2 or 3 percent. Golyan Agro aims to invest in agriculture for the future and to partner with local farmers, local products, and local entrepreneurs to promote Nepali products. Food items or non-food items like tissue paper and sanitizers, everything is made in Nepal.

My family’s way of thinking is a little different than other families. We like to do things differently. We like to do things that can add value to the people around us. We saw a gap in terms of our food items which have always been imported and way back during the import restriction, there was a shortage of necessities like gas, petrol, and food. Then we decided that we need to contribute towards the growth of Nepali products, produce and agriculture.

Your group has also made sizable investments in the energy sector. What are your plans for the future in this sector? 

Currently, we have planned to produce around 800 MW from hydro and solar power projects. 800 MW of electricity is a very big portfolio. The only way we can execute this is if the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) signs the power purchase agreement (PPA). Currently, we have signed PPAs with NEA for around 200 MW. And, these projects are either in the construction stage or already started generating power.

But, there are other projects in our portfolio with a total capacity of 600 MW; the construction of these projects is yet to be started. Our group has already invested close to Rs 1 billion in these projects without signing the PPAs. Nepal needs more electricity for its industries. Therefore, signing the PPA by NEA is crucial for us.

Out of these four verticals, which one do you find most challenging? 

All of them have a different set of challenges. Renewable energy is facing challenges due to the changes in the policies of the government. As for the manufacturing sector, the challenge lies in the operations of companies. The agriculture sector has challenges, both in terms of policies and operations. The hotel sector is slowly recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenge here is to attract more tourists to the country.

As a young entrepreneur, what are your advices for startups and new entrepreneurs? 

Whenever you want to start a business, you should first decide to do something that you enjoy. No matter how profitable it looks on paper, you should first be interested in it. Then you should look if it’s reliable and observe others what they have done and how they are doing it. A little bit of homework and hard work comes a long way.

What are the Roots of Nepal and the Feri Bidesh campaigns of the Golyan Group?

The Roots of Nepal is a basic idea of what we have been doing for ages. From our history, we have always been told that the Golyan Group is working on energy itself, tourism, hospitality, and agriculture as the base and ultimately the roots of Nepal in the future. So currently, we are trying to focus more on those aspects which is the idea of the Roots of Nepal campaign.

Feri Bidesh is just at the initial phase of the Golyan Group where we are trying to focus on the youths of Nepal. Brain drain has been a major issue in Nepal for a long time and we want to share this message with the youth that there are opportunities within the country and new opportunities are also coming.