Success Stories

Chhaya Sharma

Managing Director, Heirloom Artisans

‘My dictionary doesn’t have the word impossible’

Chhaya Sharma, a former parliamentarian, an entrepreneur and women with many hats, is the epitome of courage and determination and purpose. Credited to have started the first tourism college of its kind in Nepal and starting the development fund for women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs), she has done a lot for the women entrepreneurs in the country.

With her limited resources, lack of staff and lack of internship opportunities for students, she started the Nepal College of Travel and Tourism Management in the late 1990s in Nepal with just five students.

Early in her days of establishing the college, she faced several headwinds. Lack of support from the bureaucracy and the lead staff and lack of funds made it difficult for her to run the college. Despite challenges, she made it possible and did not let her dream die there. She not only completed her higher studies but also ensured that the entire college management becomes hassle-free.

The college today boasts of more than 500 students studying various courses related to the tourism sector.

Moreover, with her entrepreneurial experience, Chhaya understood that she needs a higher purpose in life. Hence, she wanted to have deeper social involvement. Later, she became the president of the Women Entrepreneurs Association, and also became one of the founding members of the Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal (FWEAN) in Nepal. She was the fourth president of FWEAN.

After completing her term as FWEAN president, she joined politics and became a Member of Parliament from 2013 -2016. When in Parliament, she continued with her commitments to the economic empowerment of women. She was also a member of the Parliament’s  ‘Industry Trade and Consumer Welfare Committee in which She became the coordinator of a sub-committee on ‘Women Entrepreneurship Development’.

As a committee member and a parliamentarian, she prepared the concept and mobilized the ‘Women Entrepreneurship Development Fund’, which awards a collateral-free loan to SMEs. As a result, the fund was finally activated and helped rural women in supporting their ventures.

Currently she is the founder chairperson of Nepal College of Travel and Tourism Management (NCTTM) and also the Managing Director of Heirloom Artisans, a venture with three other partners Formally launched in May, 2018. Heirloom Artisans is a follow through of Heirloom Crafts an exclusive design boutique studio house initiated in 2002.


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