The Financial Express

Startup world falling into conventional trap

| Updated: November 19, 2020 22:34:28

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Startup world falling into conventional trap

When a certain initiative developed on out-of-the-box thinking turns into business success, people praise the exceptionality or creativity of the project for celebration and replication. Pundits and protagonists alike join sessions of discussion on how the startups have succeeded in overcoming labour pains.

Innumerable people want these days to launch startups - maybe rightly so - mostly just imitating others. As a result, if you look at the Bangladesh business scene, such initiatives have been limited to food industry, boutique shop, telemedicine, some IT services and a few more. Old players are already complaining about crowding of the Facebook-based businesses.

Apparently, enthusiastic entrepreneurs are running short of ideas-- ideas that can bring a change, and help attain substantial business success. It also seems that prior knowledge and experience are hardly useful in making a startup a success.

Many minds get blocked as they fear if any breakthrough is really possible when there are established market players and the target of developing new technology appears to be beyond the reach for them in general.

That is where creativity comes into play for genuine entrepreneurs. Immediately after the shutdown was imposed in the country to prevent Covid-19, the country's marketing chain could have totally collapsed but for the entrepreneurial zeal shown by IT-literate young traders.

Failure in startup is quite common, and in most cases is unaffordable. For, neither family nor the state wants to bear the costs of failure which though can give one valuable lessons and experience.

So, most youths come to the ground zero - doing proven jobs that can give them a predictable life. That, too, is becoming increasingly difficult because of prevailing market competition.

Today's youths are in such a situation, plagued by this global pandemic. Almost all local and international research organisations have predicted millions of job losses and emphasised investment in job creation and small businesses that can accommodate the millions. A key mantra is entrepreneurship development.

However, a comprehensive national initiative to support entrepreneurs of startups, to avoid redundancy of projects, and sustain their businesses has not been seen, except some talks of business incubation.

There is no proper answer to where the young graduates will get money from and vet their business ideas to pursue success. Instead, those who earlier started business often come up with complaints about regulatory services. In such a regulatory regime, some bad elements rather pollute the startup ecosystem by cheating customers and creating barriers for new entrants.

That again pushes ordinary minds to follow the conventional path from apprehension of risks of the unknown. That, inversely, indicates a vacuum which can absorb a set of new generation of entrepreneurs which would create and meet popular expectations and set the standards for others.

Even if the waves of technological development are settled down and the investment regime is stable, there is a need for improvement in service delivery and excelling in quality of products.

A true entrepreneur, who is willing to serve the people, shouldn't suffer from any dearth of ideas. In Bangladesh, the exploration of ideas can start from the education sector, which if addressed, can eventually lead to growth of various other sectors.

After all, entrepreneurs invest their life blood in their ventures. Startups are no exception. Conventional theories and bureaucratic impetus cannot make them unless they themselves grow braving the challenges at hand. Yet, when risk-takers are equated with risk-evaders, the outcome could be frustrating for all who want to do something new.


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