Start-ups ecosystem is key to innovation-focused development efforts: Palak

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Dailynewsun Desk:

The local start-ups ecosystem is a key cornerstone of our innovation-focused development efforts. Hon’ble State Minister for ICT Division, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, made this remark while speaking at the virtual Demo Day on 08 July marking the closing of the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Accelerator (SDGia) 2nd program and the beginning of the implementation phase.

In the last four years, Bangladesh has attracted over US$300 million of foreign investment in the start-ups’ sector especially FinTech, logistics, and digital commerce start-ups. Bangladesh is the second-largest global supplier of the online workforce and boosts an innovative generation who are hungry for developing the world’s most influential start-ups and tech enterprises, the State Minister said.

He also said, “we are constructing 39 High Tech Park, 64 Sheikh Kamal ICT training incubation centers, 300 schools of futures and 35 thousand Sheikh Rasel Digital Labs established across the country to ensure continuous growth of the ICT sector and capable Bangladesh to lead in the era of 4IR. We are also building Centre for the fourth industrial revolution and Sheikh Hasina Institute of Frontier Technology which will into operation by 2025.”

Referring to Bangladesh as one of the nations in South Asia with positive GDP growth last year, State Minister for ICT Division said, “It has been possible because of the quick shift to digital to support business opportunity in all areas including govt services, education, health, commerce, agriculture, entertainment, and other private business during the pandemic. This journey started 12 years ago with the declaration of Digital Bangladesh vision by Honorable Prime Minister and the Architect of Digital Bangladesh Honorable Sajeeb Wazed Joy strategies vision 2021 to be implemented under four pillars or blocks digital governance, connectivity, human capital development, and ICT industry promotion.

The local technology companies, mobile financial services, and start-ups played an integral role in our crisis response and to sustain the economic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital services like telemedicine, live update, self-testing tools, national help desk, 333 national helplines, e-nothi, AI power Chatbot Contact terser, mobile financial services digital commerce, digital contents and videos making citizens life easier during this pandemic.

Congratulate the winning team of the competition, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak thanked the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Impact Accelerator for their support to digital agriculture and financial inclusion solutions through the noble competition to leverage the SDG.

Speakers said second Acceleration program funded by the Turkish Government for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Impact Accelerator (SDGia) will empower entrepreneurs and innovator those are working for solutions for Digital Agriculture in Uganda and Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh. They hoped that the mentoring and funding for founders and innovators with the help of global investors, mentors, and partners will help future start-ups to come up with technology-based solutions.

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey Esen Altug, the Director of Science, Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Uganda Dr. Maxwell Otim Onapa, Ambassador of Turkey to Bangladesh H.E Mustafa Osman Turan, Turkish Ambassador to Uganda H.E Kerem Alp, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative Ms. Luisa Vinton, Managing Director of UN Technology Bank Mr. Joshua Setipa spoke at the event, among others.

Ten start-ups from two cohorts in Bangladesh and Uganda presented their solutions at the virtual Demo Day. The winner of the Financial Inclusion Cohort Team are Bhalo and Shadhin from Bangladesh and in the Digital Agriculture Cohort Team category the winners are Flamingoo Foods of Tanzania and Borlaug Web Services of India/Netherlands. The others start-ups are – Fundfina, India/UK; MyCash, Bangladesh; Whrrl, India, AgroSupply, Uganda; ForFarming, Turkey; and Nampya Farmers Market, Uganda. Winning teams will receive an equity-free grant of up to US$100,000 for the implementation phase.