marianne.iyer@pgalums.com

Loden Foundation

Loden Foundation

Gaby Franco
P&G Alumni Sponsor

Loden Foundation

Empower young Bhutanese men and women through the promotion of education and social entrepreneurship, thereby fostering an educational and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bhutan.

Gaby Franco

5 years P&G experience in Brand Management, Mexico & Latin America

Leveraging her marketing background and social entrepreneurship experience, Gaby is an active mentor for Loden entrepreneurs.  She previously lived in Bhutan and has a unique perspective on the local entrepreneurial community. Gaby collaborates closely with Loden, is actively involved in evaluating the success and impact of the Loden Entrepreneurship Program, and involved with the development and execution of various training programs.  In addition to financially supporting Loden, Gaby visits Loden with regularity and is currently working closely with management to improve impact measurement and reporting standards.

Following years of economic isolation, Bhutan struggles to move from traditional subsistence farming to a capitalist economy.  Beset with numerous economic and social challenges like import dependency or rural to urban migration, it can be very difficult for the youth in Bhutan to find employment.  To combat these circumstances, one of the Foundation’s most notable programs, the Loden Entrepreneurship Program (LEP), promotes social entrepreneurship and business education while providing access to financial resources through collateral and interest free loans.

“The printing and photocopying business is everything to me.  My educational expenses are all taken care of by this business and I have been also helping my relatives.”  Dorji Tshering, LEP Entrepreneur.

Launched in 2007, LEP aims to curb unemployment and rural-urban migration by:

  • Promoting an ethical, entrepreneurial culture and self-sufficient economy.
  • Providing men and women (aged 20-40) with entrepreneurial training and education.
  • Offering collateral and interest-free financial incentives (up to $25,000 USD) to support innovative social enterprises and monitoring and mentoring services.
    

The 2016 grant builds on prior P&G Alumni Foundation grants awarded to Loden in 2014 and 2015 as Loden continues to expand geographically. Specifically, the 2016 grant of $14,660 will fund training for 225 people in Loden’s basic entrepreneurship course and fund the participation of 250 people at Loden’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. Through Loden’s financial and mentoring services, at least 20 people will also receive new venture funding, likely creating jobs for 100+ individuals.

An Unmet Need Presents an Opportunity

Pema Dorji recognized the absence of a pharmacy in Trashigang, East Bhutan. When hospitals were closed for government holidays and weekends and had run out of medicines, people would have to travel far to get the medicines they needed.  Recognizing this outage as an opportunity, Pema opened the Pema Olo Pharmacy in the heart of Trashigang – meeting a critical demand – and employs a trained pharmacist.  Given the success of his business, Pema plans to expand, establishing similar outlets in other parts of Bhutan, while achieving greater financial independence and creating job opportunities for others.

“From the revenue I earn from my business, I have been able to support my family and relatives which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.”  Pema Dorji, LEP Entrepreneur & owner of Pema Olo Pharmacy