Viva la Shoe Vival!

Enterprising role model

I like business startups. These places have an air of excitement about them. They show confidence, enthusiasm and courage. And they give off infectious optimism.

But I like new businesses for another reason: they are critical for our economy. They create employment. They help reduce poverty and distribute income. And they contribute to improving and strengthening our economic conditions.

That’s why I try not to miss invitations to visit business startups or attend their opening ceremonies. And over the years I’ve had the opportunity to visit a wide range of new businesses ventures from restaurants and bakeries to workshops and factories.

Yesterday, I got to visit another startup. Shoe Vival. This small enterprise, located in lower Norzin Lam, offers a unique service – they launder and refurbish footwear.

Shoe Vival was officially launched yesterday. But they’ve already been in business for a few successful months. If you visit their Facebook profile you’ll see some of the work they’ve been doing.

And if you visit their workshop in Norzin Lam, you’ll see why I’m so excited about their work. Here are the top five reasons that make Shoe Vival my favorite start up:

5.     Dawa Dakpa, the owner of Shoe Vival. He dropped out of college, and spent several jobless years drinking too much. But he didn’t give up. Instead he looked for a business idea, learnt about that business, established it, and is now running it successfully. Today this self-employed entrepreneur is a role model for out-of-school youth.

4.     The Loden Foundation helped Dawa Dakpa start Shoe Vival. That’s the kind of work I like to see our NGOs do – helping us help ourselves.

3.     I can now get my shoes repaired – and repaired well – by a fellow Bhutanese. I no longer have to take them to a foreign cobbler.

2.     Shoe Vival will clean and refurbish my old favorite shoes, making them good enough to wear or give away. I no longer have to throw them away or store them indefinitely.

1.     I’ve finally figured out a way of cleaning my traditional boots, especially the white brocade, without damaging them – viva la Shoe Vival!