The Financial Express

Youths solve sustainability challenges

Rashik Riasat | Published: January 29, 2020 21:59:44 | Updated: February 06, 2020 01:00:47

All the teams sharing the stage for a photoshoot with the chief guest Sidsel Bleken, ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangladesh, and other special guests All the teams sharing the stage for a photoshoot with the chief guest Sidsel Bleken, ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangladesh, and other special guests

With the motto of "Empowering Youth to Solve the Sustainability Challenges by Measurable Impact", YSI Bangladesh successfully completed the second edition of their flagship event "Megapreneurs 2.0" at EMK Center. The event started in the month of July, 2019 and continued for four and a half months.

YSI is a Norwegian organisation that brings together the best young entrepreneurial talents of the world to find out solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). YSI Bangladesh was established in June, 2017 and it conducts its activities in light of the rules and views of its mother organisation, YSI. This team thrives to find out the country's best talented young entrepreneurial minds to solve different issues of this country related to SDG.

The application was open via online to all Bangladeshi youths aged between 16 and 28 years. All applicants were eventually put to test in three stages and 21 were selected. They were required to utilise their entrepreneurial prowess and provide sustainable solutions to different problems that our mega city Dhaka is facing right now.

These participants were put through incubation where they learnt about team building, SDGs, market research, prototype building and so on. The participants were guided by the co-coordinators assigned by YSI Bangladesh. At the end of the journey, a six-day long campaign was arranged for the participants. They were given the opportunity to attend workshops where they could directly interact with the specialists and learn from them.

The final was held on January 23, 2020 at EMK Center. Only nine participants were selected for the finals judging from various angles. These nine people were assigned to three different teams. Three companies were formed so that they can ethically keep doing their business.

The chief guest was Sidsel Bleken, ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangladesh. Among others, Asif Uddin Ahmed, acting director at EMK Centre, Anita Ghazi Rahman, founder and partner at The Legal Circle, and Kazi Ayesha Akter, investment analyst at BD Ventures Limited were present as the judges. Special guests were Safia Ghazi Rahman, founder and chairman of Sunshine Education Group and Asif Uddin Ahmed, acting director at EMK Center.

The final round started with a speech by Didrik Strøhm, CEO of YSI Global. After that, Suman Saha, managing director of YSI Bangladesh, delivered a welcome speech where he expressed his gratitude to everyone who have been involved from the beginning of this programme. Then the presentation round started where the teams had to narrate before the judges their plans, activities, feasibility, budget and face question and answer (Q&A) session.

After the presentations were over, Sidsel Bleken thanked the organisers for arranging a wonderful platform for the young entrepreneurs of Bangladesh, and expressed her expectation to see more women entrepreneurs enrolling in such type of programmes. Safia Ghazi Rahman expressed her desire to see such initiatives be taken for the youths of Chattogram as well. Asif Uddin Ahmed wished for continuous development of the teams in the coming days.

Khoj Technologies Limited became the second runner-up, Agrobyte Limited became the first runner-up, and Sarcina Eco Limited was crowned the champions and they were awarded Tk 150,000, Tk 200,000, and Tk 250,000 respectively. The champion team made biodegradable polythene that will save the earth. Meanwhile, the first runner-up team came up with a digital agro based advisor company and the second runner-up team worked with the smart management technology of the public transportation.

The writer is a third year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at rashikriasat404@gmail.com

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