Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh (VIPB), Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and LightCastle Impact (LCI) in association with Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFPB) have successfully completed the first batch of the SMARTCAP Accelerator program with a Demo Day on October 23, 2018, at BRAC Learning Center, Rangpur. The Demo Day concluded an eventful month-long accelerator program which began on September 26, 2018.
As a part of the accelerator program, the first residential sessions were held in the third week of October from 14 to 16. Workshops were conducted by industry experts, business consultants, investment advisers and technical experts to provide a holistic knowledge building and experience based learning. The workshops entailed both hands-on practical learning sessions and theoretical lessons. The hands-on learning sessions included:
- Debate: Participants were divided in two groups and provided with relevant topics to debate on.
- Critical Thinking: Participants took a MCQ based quiz regarding the topics covered in theoretical sessions.
- Case Study: Participants were divided in two groups and were asked to devise realistic solutions for some real life scenarios or problems.
- Presentation: Participants were asked to present and explain their case study’s solutions.
- Leadership: A volleyball match was held amongst the participants to nurture leadership, team building and people management skills.
- Technology Adaptation: Participants were informed about the use of mobile application to keep business transaction records.
Beside the above activities the theoretical sessions covered the following knowledge areas:
Second phase of the residential workshop was held in the 4th week of October from the 22 to 23. Day one, held at NGO Forum, Rangpur, focused on pitching where the participants learned and practiced how to present their businesses in the form of pitches. The practice session allowed participants to find their flaws and correct them, as well as honed their public speaking and presentation skills.
The Demo Day of SMARTCAP Investment program season one for Ag-MSEs was held on 23 October, 2018, at BRAC Learning Center, Rangpur. An esteemed panel of judges were present to grace the occasion. The panel consisted of representatives from Bangladesh Bank, VIPB, GBK Enterprise, Truvalu.enterprises, Southeast Bank, NCC Bank, Meghna Bank, SFSA Bangladesh and LightCastle Partners.
The Demo Day started with a welcome speech by the consortium, followed by introductory speeches from the esteemed dignitaries and judges. The session began with the pitches from the participants. Through pitching, the entrepreneurs described their profile, experience, business plan, current financial solvency, revenue and profit projections and capital requirement. After presenting, each participant faced a Q&A session from the panel and guests, where different queries regarding their business plans were asked and the participants had to defend their stance.
At the end of the evaluation of 25 Ag-entrepreneurs, 15 were short listed to receive Investment from SMARTCAP. The closing ceremony was followed by instructions from the consortium partners regarding the future proceedings of the program.