Rudra Neupane, 44, comes from a farming family background in Sindhupalchok. His village was at a remote part of the district, where there were no schools until the 1980s.
Neupane went to school fairly late in his life and came to Kathmandu in 1994 for higher studies. In 1997, he was called back to his village to vote in the local elections, but he remained there for five years.
“I had gone home to vote but I stayed there after I was offered a teaching job in the high school that I attended as a child,” says Neupane. “Later on, I quit teaching and started working at the District Development Committee as a social mobilization officer.”
He got married in 2001 with his wife, who was also a teacher. Neupane says his wife didn’t didn’t like the teaching field and wanted him to find another line of work. His work as a social mobilization officer, though a government job, was a temporary one, so he wanted to find a good stable employment.
“But finding a job was challenging back then,” Neupane says. “The difficulty in finding a decent job made me realize that I should rather start my own business and create jobs for others.”
The couple decided to start a business but they had no promising entrepreneurial idea. They analyzed the market and consulted with friends and relatives. Neupane’s maternal uncles were already in the trade business, but it was not what he wanted.
“I was more inclined into agriculture-related business because of my farming background.”
The agriculture-based business never panned out. The couple instead started Run Shoes Industries, a footwear company, in 2012. Neupane says the idea for the company came to him while working with footwear wholesalers to support his family in Kathmandu.
“Had those footwear wholesalers not supported me technically and financially, I could not have started this company,” he says. “So all the thanks and gratitude go to them.”
Neupane started Run Shoes with an investment of Rs 20m and within a couple of years, expanded the company’s footwear market across Nepal. The company is now worth Rs 500m, according to Neupane’s own estimates.
The company owns two footwear factories in Bode, Bhaktapur, and in Mulpani, Kathmandu, and employs 250 workers.
In the early days, Run Shoes used to import soles for its footwear from China, Singapore and South Korea but today, the company itself produces the soles and other parts.
“The only thing we import is the raw materials to make soles,” says Neupane.
With the success of the footwear business, Neupane is also branching out to other areas of business. He has also started a garment factory and is involved in a couple of hydropower projects. Besides, he is also working toward realizing his long-held dream of starting an agro-based company.
“The company will not be for profit. It will be there just to facilitate farmers and provide them with good tools and technologies.”