iDE Uddokta: Empowering Budding Entrepreneurs in Sylhet

LightCastle Analytics Wing
December 28, 2022
iDE Uddokta: Empowering Budding Entrepreneurs in Sylhet

Introduction & Background of the Project

iDE: Uddokta – an enterprise development program funded by Chevron & the Embassy of Switzerland, seeks to identify and help 250 budding entrepreneurs in Sylhet. To help them grow and achieve profitability through a market-based approach.

iDE Bangladesh appointed LightCastle Partners to help assess, design, and deliver an enterprise accelerator program. The consulting firm was also responsible for developing mentorship guidelines through which iDE Bangladesh plans to create a framework for these MSMEs to help them operate sustainably. iDE believes that the Uddokta Project will enable enterprises to achieve self-sufficiency through improved business management capacity and funds from investors.

Project Approach

As per iDE’s requirements, LightCastle Partners had to conduct entrepreneurship accelerator programs in various regions in Sylhet. Four cohorts of SME entrepreneurs were trained as part of the “Enterprise Development Program – Uddokta.” Likewise, LightCastle Partners conducted a thorough mentorship program and a two-day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop for the iDE field team to get them acquainted with the necessary subjective understanding required to provide one-to-one consultation support to entrepreneurs.

ToT (Training of Trainers) Workshop

LightCastle Partners led the two-day ToT (Training of Trainers) Workshop for the iDE field staff on September 12 and 13, 2022. The workshop was held in Sylhet’s Hotel Metrol. It was held for iDE trainers and technical specialists, assisting them in conceptualizing and designing effective SME accelerator curricula and gaining insight into the training requirements of these aspiring business owners. Additionally, they received training on delivering engaging lectures on the existing curriculum, which had topics ranging from business management and entrepreneurship to financial management and marketing/ branding.

Trainers participating in the ToT Workshop
Trainers participating in the ToT Workshop

On-The-Job Training

For 150 aspiring young entrepreneurs, LightCastle Partners organized training sessions. Under the “Enterprise Development Program – Uddokta,” the training sessions were divided into four batches and held in various locations in Sylhet.

The 1st & 2nd Cohort of the Enterprise Development Program for iDE was held from 24th – 26th September in Shantiganj and from 27th – 29th September in Moulvibazar. Likewise, the 3rd Cohort was held from 11th – 13th October in Sunamganj, and the 4th and final cohort was held from 30th October – 1st November in Kamalganj. The 3-day training program consisted of the top entrepreneurs from the regions respectively. The program’s primary objective was to provide these budding entrepreneurs with business development support and investment readiness training. Project Manager & Senior Business consultant Omar Farhan Khan, Senior Business Consultant Nazmul Kabir Al-Mehmud and Business Analyst John Gomes conducted the sessions. 

The Participants solving exercises during the training sessions
The Participants solved exercises during the training sessions

The sessions were based on the LightCastle Partners SME curriculum module, which consists of –

  • Understanding Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Lean Business Model
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Financial Statement
  • SME Financing
  • Application of Loans
  • Digital Literacy. 
Omar Farhan khan taking sessions
Omar Farhan Khan is taking sessions.

These detailed lectures helped prepare the entrepreneurs from each batch for the Investment-readiness and Demo Day on the last day of the training,  where they pitched their business idea and model in front of the relevant Industry experts.

A Participant giving her pitch during the Demo Day
A Participant giving her pitch during the Demo Day

During the last training session in Kamalganj, LightCastle Partners invited the Manager of Uddipan – Moulvibazar branch and various other esteemed guests from renowned enterprises from Dhaka.

  • Mr. Mahmud (CEO) and Mr. Alvee (COO) from WeGro
  • Mr. Abu Darda (MD & CEO) from Parmeeda
  • Mr. Arafatul Islam Akib (Company Advisor) from Khaas Food

During the event, the entrepreneurs pitched their business plans. They modeled their overall goals to the respective judges to help them get an insight into their current asset value, revenue streams, risks, and possible opportunities.

Moreover, Mr. Mahmud, CEO of WeGro, an agro-value chain company that helps rural farmers attain funding, short-listed a few participants. 

Esteemed guests interacting with the entrepreneurs
 Esteemed guests interacting with the entrepreneurs

Besides this, LightCastle Partners also invited other esteemed guests from various relevant institutions and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to provide guidance and adequate market insight for the participants. 

LightCastle Partners’ Reflections and Way Forward

LightCastle Partners believes that the entrepreneurs are investment-ready to access loans and finances from MFIs but not from other financial institutions, as these enterprises are still at an early growing stage. Similarly, we advise business owners to make their companies self-sufficient before seeking debt finance. Additionally, working with other business owners or players in the forward market might help them expand their business opportunities and flourish.

Project Snippet: Empowering Entrepreneurs for Uddokta

Slide through the visualization to learn more about the project.

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We consult and collaborate with development partners, the public sector, and private organizations to promote inclusive economic growth that positively changes the lives of people at scale. Being a data-driven and transparent organization, we believe in democratizing knowledge and information among the stakeholders of the economy to drive inclusive growth.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

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