'Impactor' programme for early-stage entrepreneurs

Salsabeel Khan | Published: October 10, 2018 22:25:47 | Updated: October 11, 2018 16:32:37

Left to right- Dr. Mohammad Mahboob Rahman-professor and dean, SBE, NSU, Mominul Islam- managing director and CEO, IPDC BD, Bitopi Das Chowdhury- head of corporate affairs, Bangladesh, Standard Chartered Bank, Rubana Huq- chair, Annisul Huq Foundation and Saif Kamal, founder of Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation

Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation has recently launched the 'Impactor' programme for early-stage entrepreneurs. The Impactor programme is an eight-month long business incubation programme for entrepreneurs who want to transform their idea, early form of a product or an early stage business into a successful business enterprise with a social impact.

Toru is an institution specialising in enabling innovators and entrepreneurs to work towards impact across the public, private and civic sectors. Toru also nurtures entrepreneurs looking to solve a social problem, and catalyse the ecosystem through our partners across sectors. The Impactor programme seeks to provide extensive and long-term support that entrepreneurs need to become impactful enterprises. Toru take skills and knowledge-centric approach, merging business, growth, and design. So far Toru has engaged with 6500 innovators, mentored seven impactprenuers and have a collective impact of touching the lives of 5.6 million people.

Saif Kamal, founder of Toru, launched the 'Impactor' programme with a welcome speech followed by a video presentation of the Impactor programme. After the opening remarks, Bitopi Das Chowdhury, head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing for Standard Chartered Bank talked about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and entrepreneurship. Rubana Huq, chair, Annisul Huq Foundation spoke  on how young entrepreneurs are driving changes.

Through a rigorous selection process, 10 impactors will be selected to embark on an eight-month long incubation journey of developing their product, business and building their leadership skills to run a start-up.

Saif Kamal, founder of Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation, said, "This programme will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh. We have always had accelerator programmes or competitions, but ideas need extensive and long-term support in order to become impactful enterprises. With the Impactor programme, we will provide an individually tailored roadmap and milestones which will be supported by experts and mentors, via one on one sessions, and will range from product design to business, legal and investment support."

The selected participants of the programme will receive a series of rewards. In addition to the mentoring support, the entrepreneurs will receive up to Tk 1 million seed funding and workspace from Startup Bangladesh at the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology.

The programme follows the 4P (People, Problem, Product and Prospect) framework to make the selection criteria. Moderators will see if the person demonstrates the characteristics of being resilient, committed, and empathetic and has the willingness to grow. Good applications will pass the litmus test of 'is the proposed solution built around a problem?' Depending on the stage of the idea or business, Toru will check for technological feasibility and commercial viability.

The call for application started on October 01 and online applications will be accepted till October 31, 2018.

The writer studied Bachelor of Arts at Colorado College, she can be reached at 


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