Startups can contribute significantly to attaining foreign direct investment growth as well as to employment generation, which are vital for the country’s graduation to a middle-income nation, said experts at a panel discussion on Friday.
They also called on the corporate as well as the financial institutions to provide technical and financial supports to new ventures for the betterment of the country’s economy and to attain good returns out of them.
The panel discussion was organised as part of a three-day conference titled ‘Accelerator Bangladesh: National Dialogue to Foster the Startup Ecosystem in Bangladesh’ held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. The conference ended on Friday.
The youth and sports ministry, United Nations Development Program Bangladesh and Citi Foundation jointly organised the programme with a view to establishing a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate implementation of the sustainable development goals through social innovation and entrepreneurship.
The programme will reach 18 countries across Asia Pacific by 2019.
Startup Bangladesh deputy project director Tina Jabeen said the country needs $20-25 billion in investments to become a middle-income country and startups can play a vital role in this regard.
She said startups can create employment, provide technical knowledge and set up innovative businesses, which are very much essential for the country’s requirement to grow at the rate of 8 per cent and above to become a middle-income nation.
Tina said that the country’s startup ecosystem was at infant level and it required more success stories of the startups like Pathao and bkash to attract big companies’ investments in startups.
Tinger Bow founder and chief executive officer Wahid Hossain said it its important and also challenging for the startups to bring new things or to solve problems as the existing things or solutions will not be taken from them by the big corporates.
Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation founder and managing director Sayed
Saif Uddin Kamal mentioned capacity building measures as vital for the progress of the startups.
Under the programme, three innovative social enterprises out of more than 30 enterprises founded by young people across the country received accolades for their pioneering initiatives focused on achieving one or more of the SDGs on literacy, waste management and community tourism.
The winners are: AlterYouth for literacy, Avijatrik for tourism, and Biotech: Bangladesh for waste management.
These three will go to the next round of Asia Regional Summit which will be held in Vietnam next year.
Citi Bangladesh country officer N Rajashekaran said, ‘Young are the future of a nation and are a vital force of change.’
He said Bagladesh has huge demographic dividend, which can take the country towards the path of progress.
UNDP Bangladesh deputy country director Kyoko Yokosuka said, ‘Imagine a future that innovates based on the needs of the most marginalised. It will be a future that benefits all of us.’