On 17 August 2016 The Old Ambo hosted a visit from the Business School at the University of Queensland, who were in turn hosting a visit from twenty government officials from Nepal under the ‘Australia Awards South and West Asia Role of Government in Private Sector Development’ scheme. Specifically, the group was looking at Australian examples of “micro-enterprise development through public-private partnerships”. Ambo Board members Robbie Murray and Judy Pippen prepared a tour of our various spaces as well as morning tea for the group. Michael Doneman facilitated an accompanying discussion.

Project leader Dr Sarel Gronum reported that “your initiative is a great example of an Australian case” and expressed appreciation of ‘a warm welcome and a very relevant and insightful discussion”. At one point he tellingly exclaimed, gesturing to the space in general, ‘This is Nepal!’ meaning, we think, that the Ambo’s bare-bones and pragmatic approach to encouraging creative social enterprise was entirely appropriate to under-resourced Nepalese conditions.

In the words of Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller, Manager (Indonesia & Southeast Asia) at UQ International Development, “The experience was invaluable to the course participants who were inspired by your space for creative business. Your insight into supporting local entrepreneurs, artists and organisations to build their business was motivating for our guests who will take this experience with them to Nepal.”

Michael Doneman is President and Board Member of The Old Ambo