18 more startups empowered through Springboard Plus Programme

June 6, 2024

The 2024 Springboard Plus Program cohort with Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, UNDP, Loden Foundation and their mentors

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

6 June 2024: The Springboard Programme, a six-month ‘startup seed-acceleration’ initiative, concluded its 2024 cohort with an award day ceremony.  

Spearheaded by the Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment, in collaboration with UNDP Bhutan and Loden Foundation, and supported by Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation and Accelerating Asia, the event marked a significant milestone in fostering youth entrepreneurship in Bhutan. 

The 2024 Springboard Programme cohort with Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Employment, UNDP and Loden Foundation

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

The program aims to cater to the operational and management challenges faced by early-stage youth-led social enterprises. The Springboard Programme is designed to make startups ‘investment ready’.  

Lyonpo Namgyal Dorji, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Employment

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

“The current youth unemployment rate in Bhutan is at 22.9 % and young comprising more than half of Bhutan's population, the urgency of addressing youth unemployment is crucial. Therefore, programmes like Springboard Programme, that accelerate startups and create jobs will aid to addressing the issue of youth unemployment,” said Lyonpo Namgyal Dorji, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Employment.  

A total of 18 startups which comprises of youths from diverse backgrounds participated in the programme

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

A total of 18 startups which comprises of youths from diverse backgrounds ranging from college students to aspiring entrepreneurs over the course of six months have received help from multiple online sessions and critical skills training tailored to address specific needs and challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurs. 


Like the 50 plus entrepreneurs from the earlier two cohorts, the current cohort is also being guided and mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs to help navigate them through the entrepreneurial ecosystem.   


The Springboard Programme gives an opportunity to the cohorts to network, enabling them to connect with potential investors, industry experts and other entrepreneurs. To connect globally, a startup from this cohort has been selected to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Summit at Manilla, Philippines. 

Winner of the 2024 cohort, Drup-Ge startup that produces Bhutanese version of Damascus knives

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

The programme also focuses on selecting early-stage entrepreneurs with robust, scalable, and sustainable business models, providing them with the necessary tools to achieve their entrepreneurial milestones. The top five startups also received financial support ranging from BTN 100,000 to BTN 500,000 as a ‘springboard’ for their startup. 

UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammad Younus

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

“As the government spearheads building an enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bhutan, UNDP Bhutan remains a steadfast partner in providing technical assistance and sharing global best practices. Our goal is to empower young Bhutanese entrepreneurs, helping them to scale up, create jobs and contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammad Younus.  

The 2024 Springboard Programme cohort

UNDP Bhutan/Karma Jamtsho

The first two cohorts of the programme generated 81 job opportunities; 5 jobs created by 1 startup on an average.


With a total of now three cohorts celebrating their achievements, the Springboard Plus Program continues to pave way for the next generation of Bhutanese entrepreneurs, fostering innovation, job creation, and sustainable economic growth. The dedication and collaboration among all stakeholders highlight the program's success and its important role in Bhutan's entrepreneurial ecosystem.  


Media Contact:    

Karma Jamtsho, Programme Communications and Advocacy Analyst, UNDP Bhutan | Email: karma.jamtsho1@undp.org