Women rocking international trade - Damchae Dem

05.03.2019 Lisa McAuley
Women rocking international trade - Damchae Dem

Mrs. Damchae Dem ventured into the world of business in the early sixties making homemade potato chips, which she sold in her neighborhood. Later in the nineties, she founded her company Pelden Enterprise Limited in 2006 and became a pioneer in steel manufacturing in the country.

She also pioneered Bhutan Business Solution (BBS) in Bhutan, a unique project where more than 100 youth were trained and employed under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Pelden Enterprise Limited. The project beneficiaries are currently self-employed and successfully managing the company.

In 2010, she founded Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE) with the aim to empower disadvantaged women and unengaged youth through its assorted range of entrepreneurship programs and address both rural and urban poverty. Owing to its successes, BAOWE is now visible in 9/20 Dzongkhags and plans to take its programs across the country. Nationally, BAOWE is conferred with the National Order of Merit by His Majesty the King in 2016 recognizing its volunteer time and efforts towards promoting humanitarian values, Bhutanese culture and tradition, and fulfilling national objectives of reducing poverty.

She is the Vice President of SAARC Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) , a member of LDC-Watch (www.ldcwatch.org), Vice President of South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF), member on the Advisory Board of Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) – , and core committee member of Civil Society Organization (CSO) of Bhutan. In addition, she also works as a counselor of Royal University of Bhutan (RUB).

Her current focus is on formalizing a platform for unorganized sector across Bhutan where most women are unable to optimize their hard earned resources often due to lack of networking.

Background working in International Trade

I garnered adequate experience in international trade from my job as the chairperson for Pelden Enterprise Limited, which manufactures Ferro Silicon. The company since 2010 has been exporting its products to Europe, Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore and Bangladesh but the company has major presence in India. The company imports raw materials from India, China, Australia, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Palden Enterprise is also the promoter for GIC-Bhutan Reinsurance Company Limited who deals with reinsurance business in over 30 countries with major presence in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore and Philippines.

Inspiration to enter into a career in International Trade

The confidence I had in the quality of our product and the desire to make a presence in the international market has encouraged us to export our products. In addition, responses from the satisfied international clients/customers have been the continuous source of inspiration.

Any three leaders that I would invite to dinner

I would like to invite to dinner the prominent world leaders such as Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Ms. Christine Lagarde, and Mr. Ratan Tata.

Three (3) top challenges working in International Trade     

• Maintaining and assuring desired quality;
• Timely dispatch of the materials;
• Increasing the client/customer base;

Opportunities for anyone looking to work in International Trade

Anyone looking to work in international trade should be first of all, shrewd and smart considering volatility and uncertainties in the international market. One should be cognizant of changes taking place in the world market and able to adjust and adapt your operation accordingly. One should be able to make informed decision and highly speculative of market scenario.

My encouragement for more women to enter into a career in international trade

By formalizing and creating a platform where women can meet and network their produces making export viable. At the moment, most women lose focus through lack of legal and inclusive networking facilities as they mostly function under informal sector. The potential for bringing together like minded women entrepreneurs will ensure the qualities required for sustainable and viable export opportunities.