April 1, 2020
Seven years earlier, we embarked on our mission to boost the economy of Bangladesh by inspiring businesses and changing lives in the process. We are excited and humbled to have played a part in supporting a resilient Bangladesh. And this feat would not have been possible were it not for you. So, thank you for being with LightCastle and supporting us in our adventure. We are truly grateful.
As we look back, 2019 has been a benchmark year for us – we have grown to a team of 40+ bright individuals and have focused our activities in three key verticals.
First, with a focus on creating data-driven impact, we have strengthened our expertise in Strategy Consulting. This required us to closely work with our development partners and private sector clientele in an effort to solve pressing, real-world challenges. Private sector engagement remains at the crux of our interventions as we look to catalyze synergistic partnerships in 30+ sectors including agriculture, WaSH, financial inclusion, technology. Our works have spanned from designing and commercializing pro-poor services (like in FSM) to mobilizing international capital to supporting policy advocacy to working with the Bangladesh government on strategic issues like meeting SDG targets. Data remains at the core of our strategic discourse, enabling our clients to make data driven decisions. For supporting industries with credible data, we have doubled down efforts and resources to produce insightful contents and analyses in our initiative (and Bangladesh’s largest open data portal): databd.co
Secondly, we have expanded our work with Startups and SMEs to support the ecosystem more deeply. Our work has ranged from running and supporting 10+ accelerator batches – including gender focused cohorts, rural SMEs, impact enterprises and tech-startups, to providing investment advisory to small businesses, companies and local/international investors. We have partnered with international consulting and ecosystem players like Larive International, Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and Roots of Impact for facilitating foreign investments in Bangladesh. We are also taking part in ecosystem building activities and providing support to founders in the market from capacity building to facilitating market linkages. Additionally, we look to forge deeper collaboration with alternative investment companies in 2020 to support the ecosystem further.
Finally, our third vertical focuses on helping companies leverage data/analytics via digital transformation. We are moving in an extremely fast paced world where timely information can make the difference between growing or becoming extinct. With that in mind we are also helping companies to build and adopt digital solutions that give them ready access to market information as well as receive last-mile data/analytics from the field. In a consortium with a large Swiss based corporate foundation, we have launched an “Ag-Digitalziation” initiative that is currently active across 200+ small ag-entrepreneurs spanning Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali and Senegal. As we expand our digital solutions, we look forward to supporting enterprises in other sectors as well to harness technology for social good.
While 2019 was a promising year for us in many respects, 2020 took us, and the whole world, by surprise with the “Black Swan” event of the global pandemic COVID 19. Our hearts go out to all those affected — whether by illness, the isolation of preventative measures or resulting personal and professional hardships. During these hard times we plan to stand together with our clients, ecosystem and communities. Hence, we’d like to leverage our organizational strengths, for what it’s worth, to give back to Bangladesh in this hour of need.
Currently, we are doing three things: a) We are analyzing the impact on the economy and taking deep-dives into different industry verticals to prepare possible recovery roadmaps and actions. All of our analysis can be found openly available in our website: www.lightcastlebd.com; b) Joining hands and contributing to multiple initiatives across the country that are working towards COVID 19 responses; c) Advocating with different stakeholders to arrange capital for SMEs and Startups, wherever possible. We are already in talks with investors and hosting webinar sessions to arrange catalytic financing for emerging companies, wherever feasible. We are also starting open sessions for entrepreneurs on how best to fight the pandemic.
We don’t know what the coming days are going to look like, but we want to ensure that we will continue to increase our efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in our communities and the business ecosystem.
This is a difficult time for both Bangladesh and the world. However, we believe by working together we can support to build an even more Resilient Bangladesh. So, here’s to battling COVID 19 and coming out as winners collectively to take Bangladesh to the next decade.