It indeed appears quite innovative to learn that the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is soon going to launch country-wide entrepreneurship training for potential entrepreneurs under its Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Project (ESDP). What is new about the project is that unlike most business trainings that are designed by the organisers themselves, the BIDA training programme -- believed to be both extensive and intensive - will be tailored to the needs of participants. To be precise, it will be demand-driven and need-based seeking to deliver knowledge and skills to participants in keeping with their requirements. Intending entrepreneurs will submit their business plans including new and innovative ideas on the basis of which training programme will be designed. A jury board comprising members from the government and private sector as well as successful entrepreneurs will select potential entrepreneurs for month-long training after examining their ideas and plans. What has transpired from the news reports is that the programme promises to be interesting provided necessary arrangements are in place to realise its objective.
Entrepreneurship training is no doubt a complex area given the obvious gap in classroom learning and practical realities. Training events that take place in the country, mostly organised by trade and industry associations, are often meant to familiarise participants with the basic norms of doing business, but rarely, if at all, to render hands-on training in any particular business activity capable of equipping participants with knowledge and skills to become entrepreneurs. There were, however, some attempts in the past by both public and private sectors to impart training, particularly training for would-be entrepreneurs, in a more meaningful way-but to little or no success.
It is in this context that the BIDA's move not only strikes a positive note, but the plans so far made public reflect a thoughtful method of running the training programme. The project is set to train around 24,000 participants cost-free in a span of around two years with 25 participants from each district. The government has already allocated Tk 1.0 billion in the budget for the project. On completion of training, the BIDA will provide the would-be entrepreneurs one-stop services on environmental certificates, quality control of products and also facilitate the process of legal matters. The BIDA is also to provide counseling on business linkages at start-up stage of businesses.
Now that the BIDA is reportedly well set to go ahead with the country-wide programme, it is pertinent to mention that success of the training events would depend on sound knowledge and practical experience of trainers in the specific areas of interest of intending participants, and in that they should be proficient to help trainees in thoroughly examining their business ideas and plans. Understandably, this is the most crucial area to be looked into-given that the training is essentially demand-driven.
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