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IoT Startup - Startup Bangladesh

Startup Bangladesh is an organization led by the ICT division of the Government of Bangladesh. Their goal is to bring together the promising startup companies founded by the young and brilliant minds of our country, provide funding, technical support, office space, marketing and legal support and develop an interaction among themselves, that will eventually help foster the startup ecosystem of the country. They aim to build a collaboration between industry, academia and the government to stimulate sustainable innovations. Eventually, this will establish a reputation for Bangladesh as a global hub for promising startups.

IoT for Bangladesh was pleased to interview Md Dewan Adnan, the consultant manager of Startup Bangladesh. He gave us an insight about the company’s aims and how startups can become a part of Startup Bangladesh and be benefitted.

The main aim of Startup Bangladesh is to develop the culture of various startups of Bangladesh in a sustainable and healthy way. The organization wants to bring multiple startup companies under one roof. One of their initiatives is the Startup Circle, which gathers all the big names of the ecosystem like GP Accelerator, Grameen Phone, Banglalink, Robi, EMK Centre, BRAC etc on a single platform. All of these have their own initiatives, and under Startup Bangladesh, these companies can cooperate and collaborate with each other. This will eventually help to create a healthy environment for startups in Bangladesh and ensure their constant growth. The organization’s goal is to develop the startup ecosystem and nurture the startup companies, all under the Government’s care. Startup Bangladesh is a campaign under the vision of Digital Bangladesh. Implementation of various ideas that involve innovation, design, entrepreneurship, academics etc. will be done under the campaign. Twenty-five startups can be incubated and nurtured here for a period of 4 to 6 months. After incubation, the organization tries to provide them with necessary working space, funding and mentoring, 64 companies are already being funded in the IT stage, and the grant provided by the organization can go up as much as ten lac takas.

Becoming a part of Startup Bangladesh is a straightforward process. Companies will at first have to apply in Startup Bangladesh’s portfolio. A primary screening is done by their selection committee. Teams that are selected are later provided with selection conditions that state the amount of funding and the number of installments in which they will be fully funded. When the startups begin their work, the performance committee decides whether their progress is satisfactory or not, based on which funding will either be continued or stopped. The selection committee does the job of selection, while the performance committee overlooks the performance and efficiency of the startups.

When asked about the facilities provided by the organization, Mr. Dewan mentions quite a number of things. The startups will get good offices to sit in, along with a good address for their workplace, boasts Mr Dewan. Standard meeting rooms and recreation spaces are there to facilitate regular working of the office staff. Launching events can be carried out by the startups in their premises if they wish. They will also have the option to video conference with foreign investors when necessary. The organization can even arrange for different networking events through which local or foreign investors or their capital companies can connect with the startups. Startups will get an overall support, including funding, working space and any technical help that they might require. Mr Dewan proudly talks about his ambitions to make this the central hub for entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. "Our vision is to create the Silicon Valley of Dhaka", he says, beaming with confidence.

Startup Bangladesh is already working in collaboration with AWS, who are providing free services to the startups under the organization right now. Their aim is to make more such partnerships and deliver better services to the startup companies. Startups that face issues with various policies are referred to organizations that can help them out. Certification that the startups have been incubated under Startup Bangladesh will also be provided to startups that might require it. The support provided by Startup Bangladesh is holistic indeed.