Digital Jobs Innovation Fund awarded to 21 young Bhutanese

December 22, 2021

Photo: UNDP Bhutan/Kinley Wangmo

20 December 2021, Thimphu: To give digitally skilled young people, working or aspiring to work in the digital jobs space a boost, 21 applicants, selected for Digital Jobs Innovation Challenge fund received the awards today.

The challenge, jointly organized by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Gross National Happiness Commission, Thimphu TechPark Limited and UNDP Bhutan, was announced on 3 December. Within a week’s time, the organizers received over 100 applications.

The applicants are young people between the age of 18-35 years, who possess digital skills and are looking to self-employ, freelance or create digital jobs. The award, of up to USD 2,000, is in the form of hardware, software or scholarship for upskilling through international certification programmes.   

UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota and Director General of Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship, Kunzang Lhamo with the award recipients Photo: UNDP Bhutan/Kinley Wangmo

The top three winners are Chimi Wangchuk, Phub Thinley and Dechen Wangdi.

Chimi, a programmer, claimed a laptop as the award. He aims to use it to become an NFT (Non-fungible token) aggregator for Bhutanese digital arts and support artists to share their digital artworks in the digital marketplace.

Phub is a freelance animator, who worked with a Japanese animation company. He will use his award, a 3D drawing tablet to sharpen his animation skills and hopes to create characters, visual effects and scenery that are inspired by Bhutan.

Dechen, a storyteller and one of the content creators of Humans of Thimphu, aspires to pursue his passion for writing, using social media platforms and to inspire the younger generation. He plans to use the laptop he has won to produce engaging, inspiring, and educational narratives on Bhutanese lives.

The other 19 winners also bring in diverse and innovative ideas of using the digital platform to self-employ or create jobs through digital art and cryptocurrency, virtual reality and tourism, graphics designing, 3D animation and Non Fungible Tokens (NFT).

The award recipients will also, as part of the challenge, receive mentoring from industry experts, both national and international. A monthly check-in will also keep the awardees updated with each other, to keep track and to share experiences. 

The 21 awardees were selected from over 100 applicants

The Digital Jobs in Bhutan Report, launched recently, states that attracting global talent and investors in small and medium-sized Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITOs) is the way forward for demand creation in ICT jobs. Supporting homegrown BPO and ITOs for long-term sustainability is the next step.  To build a strong homegrown ICT sector in the country, it is important that young people gain experience working in the ICT and ICT-related sectors. It is also vital to support young people with digital skills to find employment.

UNDP has been operating the ‘Innovation and technology platform responding to COVID-19. As part of this initiative, UNDP in partnership with MoLHR, GNHC and Thimphu Techpark responds to the urgent need of digitally skilled young people who have remained unemployed. 

During the awarding ceremony Resident Representative of UNDP, Azusa Kubota said, “I have heard from so many young people that they have knowledge, skills and passion to be a digital entrepreneur, but they need a little nudge.”

“With this support, I hope you will be a beacon of hope for the rest of the young people by rising up to the challenge.”

Addressing the award recipients, Director General of Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship under Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Kunzang Lhamo said, “The pandemic has altered the landscape of the young people entering the job market, with the unemployment rate drastically increasing in 2020.”

“Providing job creation opportunities for young people and investing in human capital is now the top priority of the government for a more robust economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”