State of the Ecosystem for Youth Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Rasel Rana
February 15, 2022

Bangladesh, the 8th largest country in terms of population, boasts a median age of 28, with 50 percent of its population under the age of 25. Despite its population size, Bangladesh has achieved impressive GDP growth ranging from 5 to 10 percent over the past decade. 

Notably, it stands out as one of the few countries that experienced positive GDP growth even during the pandemic. Recently, Bangladesh crossed the threshold of a GDP per capita exceeding USD 2,000 and is currently on track to become a middle-income economy by 2026, currently ranking as the 34th largest in the world.

However, despite these positive indicators, Bangladesh faces challenges in its employment sector. The unemployment rate, currently at 5.3 percent, may seem low, but the underemployment rate is considerably high. Many individuals are employed below their skill levels, which hampers both personal and economic growth. 

In response to this issue, the country relies on its youth to create more job opportunities and enhance overall employment. With a youth entrepreneur population of close to 4 million, encompassing a wide range of enterprises such as SMEs, startups, and social enterprises, the youth of Bangladesh play a vital role in driving economic progress.

An initiative that places young people at the forefront of problem-solving is Youth Co:Lab, a collaborative effort between UNDP and the Citi Foundation. Apart from direct investment in youth entrepreneurship, Youth Co:Lab works closely with various stakeholders, including the government, civil society, and the private sector. Their aim is to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and improve the policy environment, empowering young individuals to take the lead in developing innovative solutions that contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of their ongoing commitment, Youth Co:Lab, in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Startup Bangladesh Limited, has commissioned the first-ever report on the State of the Ecosystem for Youth Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. 

The report, conducted and consolidated by LighCastle Partners, analyzes the challenges and opportunities within six central domains of the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bangladesh. By incorporating a youth and inclusion lens, the research provides valuable insights to guide future efforts in fostering a conducive environment for youth entrepreneurship.

Published BY: Rasel Rana

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