ORANGE Corners (OC), an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, launched its Bangladesh hub recently on the heels of the 8th Social Business Youth Summit that was held in February, 2023. The hybrid event was co-hosted by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, YY Ventures, BYLC Ventures, SAJIDA Foundation, and DBL Group.
With a strong presence in Africa and the Middle East, Orange Corners has launched in its first Asian Country, Bangladesh. This initiative will provide aspiring Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, aged 18-35, with skills, funding, and resources to start and grow sustainable businesses - specifically ones that contribute to United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and address the local challenges of Bangladesh. In the interest of gender equality and unemployment reduction, partnerships will be leveraged with government agencies, private sector, and universities and knowledge institutes to support and strengthen the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The programme is anticipated to the result in development of soft and technical skills and increased access to finance, benefitting around 1,500 youths directly and 16,000 youths indirectly in Bangladesh. YY Ventures, BYLC Ventures, SAJIDA Foundation and DBL Group will all serve as local partners for the Orange Corners programme in Bangladesh.
The event moderators were Sadia Hossain, chief operating officer, YY Ventures, and Mike Sips, youth employment and youth entrepreneurship advisor, Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Tahsinah Ahmed, executive director, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), Shazeeb M Khairul Islam, founder & managing director, YY Ventures, Muhymin Chowdhury, director, Impact Investments, Partnerships and Communications, SAJIDA Foundation and Jakaria Chowdhury, head of treasury, DBL Group, all delivered remarks.
Regarding the programme, Shazeeb M Khairul Islam, founder and managing director of YY Ventures, and secretary of the board, of Orange Corners Bangladesh said, "I hope the 100+ enterprises to be supported through this programme will leverage this opportunity to build their capacity through increased access to skills, funding, and resources, and improve the lives of at least a million Bangladeshi people in the next five years. Together with our partners in this programme, we look forward to creating an inclusive and equitable entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bangladesh."
The Orange Corners logo was unveiled in the presence of 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Thijs Woudstra, deputy head of mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dhaka, and André van Ommeren, member of the board, International Programmes, Netherlands Enterprise Agency. In a message regarding the initiative, Anne van Leeuwen, ambassador of the Netherlands in Bangladesh said, "Entrepreneurship contributes to innovation and reduction of unemployment. The Netherlands stand ready to assist young Bangladeshis in their entrepreneurial journey through the Orange Corners programme."