Illuminating the path of an entrepreneur through P Luminaries LED bulbs

An entrepreneur suggests the government to encourage and support innovative and creative ideas viable of import substitution
Punya Parsad Bhandari, a 31-year old physics laboratory assistant with Sherubtse College in Kanglung replaces all the conventional fluorescent and tungsten bulbs at his home with his innovative light-emitting-diode (LED) bulb named P Luminaries.
He manufactured and assembled roughly 600 LED bulbs single handedly after he kick started his entrepreneurial journey a month ago by becoming Sherubtse Business Incubation Center’s (SBIC) first staff entrepreneur.
“It was difficult at first, during the learning stage. But I am surely gaining momentum with passage time. I can now make more bulbs in a short span of time,” said the entrepreneur.
Working as a physics lab assistant in Sherubtse for the last 11 years, Punya Prasad decided to follow the light within, focusing on manufacturing varieties of LED bulbs to brighten the world around him.
P luminaries’ LED bulb is made with energy saving, cost effective and many more advantages
The entrepreneur shared that he was always interested in electrical and electronics since he could remember. Before the idea to start up P luminaries, he recalls the time he spent repairing electric appliances such as old and damaged bulbs at home and his work places.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) approved his P luminaire bulb as a certified brand of light-emitting diode electric bulb. It is ready to hit the Bhutanese market.
Punya plans to sell off the innovative bulb in bulk when his production increases gradually. For now, to start with, he distributed the bulb to the local shops in Kanglung and some of his colleagues and students are trying the bulb.
P luminaries sell 9 watt and 12 watt capacity LED bulbs as of now. He said, “So far, I haven’t received any complaints from the customers who tried my bulb.”
As P luminaries’ slogan ‘Brightness and conservation in one’ suggest, the lab assistant took a step forward to fulfill his endeavor by creating eco-friendly bulbs that don’t contain mercury unlike fluorescent and tungsten bulbs. He claimed that it is energy efficient and generates lesser utility bills.
“It’s better in the sense meaning that it produces high luminescent and its life span 80 per cent longer
SBIC stated that Punya’s initiative will help people in the eastern region. Hence, SBIC has provided him with working space, internet facilities and support for his innovative idea..
“They require less energy consumption and help reduce bills and the carbon footprint of a property at an economical price,” said the bulb entrepreneur.
Although Punya juggles his life with his 9 am to 5 am office job and family activities, he still manages to spend at least two hours at the incubation center a day after office hours. He spends more than five hours making the bulb during the weekend.  “Managing time, juggling life is difficult, but worth a dream,” he said.
He said, “Without the support of my wife and the institution, it would be even more challenging. I can’t even have time to relax at this initial stage.”
Punya Prasad said that his bulb is as good as the imported ones since they use the same raw materials. However, the Bhutanese customers in the market are preconditioned in thinking that it’s of inferior qualities.
He also mentioned that the Bhutanese customers need to understand the pricing model. The price of the bulb depends on the brand of drivers used for the bulb.
He explained that there are three types of drivers placed inside any bulb.  P luminaries are installed with the most expensive driver called integrated circuit. Hence, Punya gives a year warranty to his customers.
He said he is offering competitive prices on P luminaries with a small profit margin. He said that the prices are slightly more than the imported one’s by Nu 10 to Nu 20.
He started up the business with personal funding of Nu 100,000 and he sold P luminaries worth Nu 40,000 so far.
SBIC is set up with the funding from MOLHR. The college will be providing him free working space for a year, after which he will pay a minimal fee.
He hopes that he can scale up for larger production. However, he calls upon the government and related stakeholders to support start ups. With the talent and ideas entrepreneurs have, there’s great room for import substitution.
 He said, “If there’s a way to reduce or ban import on the things our entrepreneurs can make in the country, it will encourage the buyers to buy Bhutanese made products.”
He also suggests the government to reduce tax on raw materials imported to show support and encourage entrepreneurs.  Punya pays between 5 to 10 per cent tax on the raw materials.
Punya also said that it is possible to do a mass production of LED light bulbs. “But if there are only a handful of customers, then it would be ridiculous to go for mass production. But if the government bans the things which can easily be made within the country, we can expect mass production on LED light bulbs,” he added.
Scaling up can generate employment with better salaries. According to Punya, anyone, be it men or women, educated or illiterate, with interest and determination can make LED light bulbs.
He said, “Even uneducated can do it, learn in a few hours. With mass production, even the price will be cheaper.”
However, without the government’s hand holding, Punya believes that many entrepreneurs can’t sustain or survive.
“We need support. Without much support, I have observed so many innovative entrepreneurs withdrawing and giving up on their ideas and effort,” added P luminaries’ creator.
Punya Prasad Bhandari started working on the LED bulb at the beginning of the year, and researched online although he couldn’t join the entrepreneurship course.
Punya also shouts out to people with innovative ideas who are stuck with financial or investment constraints. He said, “People with great ideas should come forward, start up with a minimal budget. Many have failure phobia and even fear to give it a try. Even if we fail, we have a lesson to learn.”
“Most of the time, people are impatient and want to generate profit within a short duration. When they don’t they give up easily.”
“Interest and determination is a driving factor. Doing it consistently will one day reward your effort,” added Punya Prasad.
SBIC will have three entrepreneurs including its staff Punya.
The lab assistant cum entrepreneur plans to invite interested students to visit his innovation at SBIC and to impart knowledge.