His quest has changed the Nepali money transfer business forever.
Hem Raj Dhakal, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of International Money Express (IME), has been an active member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) for the past six years. Established in 2001, IME is the pioneer of money transfer services in Nepal. He introduced a new Payment gateaway and changed the system of money transfer services. Dhakal directs IME’s Global Operations, headquartered at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and also is the Managing Director of IME Group of Companies and a major stakeholder in Global IME Bank, Nepal.
Dhakal accomplished his post graduate degree in business administration from Shankardev Campus, Kathmandu. He also has completed Entrepreneurial Masters Program from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston. Dhakal got the opportunity
to study at MIT through EO. Thus, he believes that being a part of EO has broadened his range of opportunities and helped him increase his networks throughout the world.
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 12,000 influential business owners with 160 chapters in 50 countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond. EO Nepal, founded in 2003, is one of the chapters among the 160 chapters of the global organisation which has 51 members at present.
Born in a middle class family of Baglung district of Nepal in 1975, he has by now established himself as one of the leading entrepreneurs of the country in a relatively short span of time. Father of two lovely daughters, Dhakal currently lives in a joint family at Dhapasi. According to him, his family especially his brother Chandra Prasad Dhakal, the Co-Founder and Non-Executive chairman of IME has been a major inspiration in his life.
"Initially, I wanted to become a doctor but gradually with the changing time my desire to become a doctor disappeared," Dhakal recalls. "I stayed in Japan from 1994 to 1996 and got the idea of money transfer technology," he adds. Along with his brother, Dhakal initially established IME in Nepal and Malaysia to facilitate the migrant workers in Malaysia to send their earnings homes. With time IME has its reach worldwide with over 5,000 agents across Nepal.
According to him, staying in Japan was a major turning point in his life as he understood the need of money transfer services in Nepal while staying there. He has faced many challenges on his road to success but he feels that challenges are a part of life and they only make us stronger. "We have struggled a lot to make people understand what IME actually is and how it work works," Dhakal mentions, adding, "The implementation of any new technology is a challenge, so it was very difficult for us to develop IME throughout the nation."
"The illegal channels of money transfer have always been a challenge not only to us but to all the companies that are providing money transfer services across the country," Dhakal says, "Almost 40 percent of the remittance that enter the country is through illegal channels and the government needs to address this problem as soon as possible."
An avid book lover, Dhakal loves to play golf. Not everyone knows but he is an excellent tennis player. "Whenever I find time and am not working, one can find me on the tennis court or reading one of my favorite books," he says. He admits himself as a family person and loves spending time with his daughters.
Dhakal worked in a government office for six months and resigned. "I worked in a government office for six months but while working there I realised that I was not made for such work," he says. "I always had a good sense of business. So, I decided to quit the government job and start something on my own," he adds. "Now, I feel that was one of the best decisions I have taken so far."
Dhakal says that competition doesn't scare him and believes that if one focuses on providing good services to the customers, competition should not matter. "We are the pioneer in providing official money transfer services in Nepal. So we focus on delivering good services rather than focusing on what our new competitiors in the market are doing," he says.
With the government creating more job opportunities inside the country, less number of people are going abroad to earn money and that is having a direct impact on the remittance business. "The business is not good as it used to be with less people going abroad to earn money but the remittance growth still remains positive," observes Dhakal. "We have been admired by people for the service that we provide for the past fifteen years," he says, adding, "We plan to expand and grow our company's reach in the next five years."