The Financial Express

Startup Chattogram: The story

| Updated: April 11, 2020 14:19:44

Startup Chattogram organisers and attendees of the first bootcamp pose for a photo Startup Chattogram organisers and attendees of the first bootcamp pose for a photo

Even though many people in Bangladesh are interested in becoming a successful entrepreneur, most of them do not have ample knowledge about entrepreneurship. Bangladesh has one of the youngest populations in the world, with more than half of its population below the age of twenty-five. If these youths get the proper guideline about the existing and changing infrastructures, information about raising capital etc. they can generate a huge impact on the economy of Bangladesh.

The reason behind launching of Startup Chattogram

In 2018, while the number of startups were mounting in the developed countries, the people of Bangladesh were still struggling to find out the difference between business and startup. There was a lack of proper platform to help those interested minds who craved to become successful entrepreneurs, but youths were still searching the answers of some questions about entrepreneurship.

Discerning these facts, a group of youths decided to launch a platform for all these fascinated minds where they can find out the answers of all of their questions. With the motto -- connecting the dots for entrepreneurs-- ‘Startup Chattogram’ started its journey on November 09, 2018.

The programme was backed up by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, industry experts, renowned business individuals, bank officials etc. More than 400 students were present at that event and manifested their interest of becoming entrepreneurs.

Events of Startup Chattogram

Startup Chattogram organised its first event named ‘Startup Talk’ in 2019 where Monjur Morshed was the keynote speaker and shared his knowledge among the youth entrepreneurs.

Following that, next event of Startup Chattogram was named "Startup School" which was a training programme for the youth entrepreneurs. Some successful entrepreneurs from different startups conducted those training sessions. The final of that event was held in front of 300 members of the audience. In that event, 15 successful startups were selected from 75 participants amid which five startups are still running successfully.

After that Startup Chattogram never looked back, the road ahead was just full of success. It got invitation from Global Entrepreneurship Network 2019 which was held in Bahrain where the team represented Bangladesh.

Then Startup Chattogram represented Bangladesh in Dubai Innovation Expo 2019 and received invitation from Nepal Bangladesh Youth Concave 2019 as a speaker. It had also worked with some European platforms and is eager to build a startup ecosystem in Bangladesh.

After all these successes, Startup Chattogram launched the first ever boot camp in Chattogram named 'Startup Chattogram Bootcamp 2020'. The event got huge responses as industry experts, renowned business individuals and government personnel were present. The two-day bootcamp welcomed more than 200 participants including 35 startups. Among those, top 14 startups were certified by Startup Chattogram. These 14 ideas will have a chance to pitch in Startup Bangladesh platform. The bootcamp has been a catalyst to promote early stage startups in Chattogram and provide them a platform to showcase their ideas to various industry experts.

Future of Startup Chattogram

Startup Chattogram believes that it can bring a change in the traditional concept of business in Bangladesh."Startup Chattogram is a type of initiative Chattogram needed for a long time," said Syed Tanvir, director of Pacific jeans Limited.

"I have been with Startup Chattogram since the first day and I have seen them achieve amazing things in last few years," according to Arefin Rafi, director, Techno Drug Limited. The experiences and abilities of the entrepreneurs that they will learn from this platform, will enhance and change their thinking pattern which will produce and encourage innovation in the market. Startup Chattogram will make a secure network, build a bridge among the entrepreneurs and provide them with all kinds of support to become a successful entrepreneur. This will enhance the leadership and business quality of the entrepreneurs.

Startup Chattogram aims to support technology-based innovation and create new employment opportunities. Besides, it will also arrange training, mentoring sessions and develop technical skills to aspiring entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it plans to promote and present ideas of rural entrepreneurs to national and international investors.

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