The 5-day long virtual boot camp of BIG: Bangabandhu Innovation Grant 2021, has been successfully ended through a day-long Practice Pitch Sessions for the participants and a colorful virtual closing ceremony. BIG is organized by Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) and sponsored by Startup Bangladesh Limited, a flagship venture capital firm of the Government of Bangladesh, backed by the ICT Division.
The main aim of BIG is to support the Startup Ecosystem in the country and plans to provide grants to 100 startups to encourage new innovative ideas from the rising stars of Bangladesh. The 3 major events of BIG 2020 and 2021, involves University and Stakeholder Activation Campaign, a TV reality show and an International Road Show. The Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) project organized this initiative in collaboration with the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), A2I, and Startup Bangladesh Limited, who have been added as event partners. Trade associations including BASIS, BACCO, BCS, ECAB, ISPAB and BIJF collaborated as private partners.
LightCastle Partners, as part of the Bangladesh Startup Consortium, have consistently contributed to conducting the 5-day boot camp sessions, where Bijon Islam, Co-founder & CEO of LightCastle Partners have mentored the participating startups to boost up their confidence and upskill their ideas. On 13th June, Bijon Islam along with Nafis Alam, Marketing Manager of Startup Bangladesh Limited, mentored in the Session 2 of the boot camp titled “Who Cares? (Market)”, to educate the participating teams about the market and the opportunities it consists of. Bijon Islam moderated a Panel Discussion Session with Fayaz Taher, COO of Bongo, Tawhida Shiropa, Founder & CEO of Moner Bondhu and Ilmul Haque Sajib, Co-founder & COO of Sheba Platform Limited on networking. On 15th June, Session 4, Bijon Islam moderated a Panel Discussion on Learning Investment Process & Due-Diligence.
Mehad ul Haque, Project Manager & Sr. Business Consultant of LightCastle Partners, also moderated a Fireside Chat session for the participants with Guest Speaker, Chris Burry, Co-CEO of US Market Access Center. Other members of the LightCastle Partners team helped coordinate and manage the 65 participating startups to smoothly attend the boot camp and organize their pitching sessions to the mentors.
The closing ceremony of BIG 2021 took place on 19th June and was coordinated by Bijon Islam in the presence of:
- Chief Guest: N M Zeaul Alam PAA; Senior Secretary, ICT Division, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Startup Bangladesh Limited
- Program Chair: Md. Abdur Rakib, Project Director (Joint Secretary), iDEA Project, Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), ICT Division
- Special Guest: Tina Jabeen; Managing Director & CEO, Startup Bangladesh Limited & President, Bangladesh Startup Consortium
- Bikarna Kumar Ghosh; Managing Director (Additional Secretary), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority
N M Zeaul Alam PAA, Senior Secretary, ICT Division, Chairperson Board of Directors, Startup Bangladesh Limited, Honorable Chief Guest of the event said showed his gratitude to the whole organizing team of the event. He mentioned that,”I thank everyone behind this event, specially Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sajib Wazed Joy, Architect of Digital Bangladesh, for continuously supporting the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh ”. He also mentioned,”We plan to create a self-sustained Digital Bangladesh, rather than a self-centered one. I would like to thank the Honorable State Minister for ICT Division, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, for his energetic initiatives to enhance the startups of the country. Companies like LightCastle Partners, iDEA, Bangladesh Startup Consortium and many others are accelerating various innovative ideas and creating a strong threshold in the ecosystem”.
Special Guest, Tina Jabeen, Managing Director & CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited mentioned, “This initiative is specifically designed to upskill and catalyze the startups in the ecosystem. With the dream of creating Digital Bangladesh, the Government of Bangladesh is utilizing its resources to find the best talents in the country. The education that the participating startups have received will lead them to pitch their ideas in the TV Reality Show and would give them an exposure among global investors. With the help of the Government of Bangladesh and the spark of the upcoming youth leaders, Bangladesh is stepping into the global market and creating a position for itself”.
Another Special Guest, Dr. Bikarna Kumar Gosh, Managing Director (Additional Secretary), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority said,”The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has addressed the country to encourage the youth of the society as they are the future of the country. The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority is welcoming all the youngsters to bring up their ideas and adequate support through various methods”.
Bijon Islam closed the ceremony and shared his opinion to the whole room that,”Bangladesh is in a pathway of becoming an efficient nation and the GDP per capita is projected to become $4,000 by the year 2041. Thanks to the effort of the government and various other stakeholders that have major contributions in the startup ecosystem and the nation as a whole”. He addressed all the participating startups that, “This is just the beginning of a great journey ahead. Failures are a blessing in disguise to open new doors of opportunity. Therefore, it is important for all of you to keep your confidence and keep up the good work”.
BIG: Bangabandhu Innovation Grant 2021, is one of the very first of its kind to be initiated in the country. The efficiently structured boot camp and pitching sessions uplifted the innovation of the participating startups. Mentorship from business leaders in Bangladesh and also globally helped the startups learn more about preparing themselves to perfectly execute their business. After the successful boot camp, the 65 startups will move to the next round, the TV Reality Show, where they can portray their business among global investors. An International Road Show is planned by BIG to highlight the innovations and invented products of Bangladeshi start-ups and to promote “Made in Bangladesh” in the global market with other Bangladeshi start-ups and help build a connection with them, adopt their culture, and be a part of the International Startup Ecosystem.
To watch the recording of the session click here.