Entrepreneurship in Yushu

Location Yushu, Tibet
Type Empowerment
Amount £14,346

Background and location
In April, 2010 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Yushu region of east Tibet. The earthquake killed over 2,500 people and injured more than 12,000. Many of the buildings in the region were constructed from earth and wood and could not withstand the tremors. 100,000 people were left homeless. Tibet Relief Fund responded but sending tens of thousands of pounds for emergency relief and longer term projects to help people re-build their lives.

Seven years on, the region is still feeling the effects of the quake but is slowly getting back on its feet.

Yushu is a region of outstanding natural beauty and steeped in Tibetan culture. Recent years have seen a rapid increase in the number of Chinese tourists coming to the area. Tibetan culture and Buddhism are growing increasingly popular with Chinese people and many visit Yushu to get a first-hand experience of the culture and to escape the big cities.

This is good news for young Tibetan entrepreneurs who want to set up their own businesses to capitalise on this new tourism.

Our project partners have been working in the region for many years and know it well. They have created a social entrepreneurship scheme to help young Tibetans set up and run their own businesses – ultimately making them self-sufficient and helping them break out of the poverty cycle.

Aspiring Tibetans receive business training and loans to help get their businesses started or to improve their existing ventures. Entrepreneurs attend a two day workshop where they are taught essential skills such as financial literacy and bookkeeping, business plan development, marketing and team building.

On successful completion of the workshop, each application receives a $2,500 USD microloan. The loans are given at a minimal interest rate with nothing to pay back for the first two years whilst they establish their businesses. Loan recipients receive ongoing support and training for the two year duration and always have a contact available to help answer queries.

Our grant has provided micro-loans and business training for seven budding businesses including a motorbike repair shop, an incense making business and another selling yak hair!

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