Any way you slice it, Prasanna Aryal ('10) is one outstanding alumnus and entrepreneur.
After graduating from UNT Engineering, the Mechanical Engineering Technology grad went back to his home country of Nepal and launched The Pizza Cutter, the largest selling pizza brand in the country and the first brand to franchise in Nepal.
Using what he learned about the value chain in class, Aryal built his pizza business from the ground up – literally. From farming the herbs, to making his own cheese and selling the pizza, Aryal observed every aspect of the value chain.
"Pizza was often thought to only be for rich people in Nepal, so I wanted to change that," he says. "By adhering to the value chain process, we didn't have to compromise on quality, because we were growing it ourselves, and we could charge 100 rupees – or like a dollar in the U.S. – for a slice. We got big very fast."
As the company grew, Aryal began to franchise the business, hire more and more people, and partner with local farmers.
"Nepal is still a very underdeveloped country, and through The Pizza Cutter, I have the opportunity to provide employment to so many people," says Aryal. "It's what I enjoy most and is why I came back to Nepal – to help people."
One of those people is Samikshya Tamang. She's a recent college graduate who runs a franchise in Bauddha, which was initially set up and paid for by The Pizza Cutter with an agreement that Tamang could pay it back in installments. She's just one story of how Aryal is trying to give back to Nepal – hiring people and increasing female entrepreneurship.
"What I am now, is everything I learned in my college degree at UNT," he says. "I went to the College of Engineering, but I learned more than just engineering."
While this past year was rough on The Pizza Cutter, Aryal says not to worry.
"We were hit hard by the pandemic, but we are still sustaining, and we vow to come back stronger once it is over," he says.