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Knowledge Driven Step Towards Building a Sustainable Startup Ecosystem

Usually there are three stages for a fresh startup to become one of the growing businesses of a market. Ideation process ensures the creative building of an entrepreneur while Incubation facilitates the startup to experience the market and gain the ultimate matured business system.

The last stage is acceleration process where the startup goes through an exponential market growth. After successful establishment of the Entrepreneurial Supply Chain for the National Ecosystem through Student to Startup Initiative, the plan was to work in the first stage of the ecosystem. Efficiency of the supply chain depends on the quality of Ideation because this is the basic foundation for any entrepreneur to become successful. The main strategy was to ensure the quality of basic ideation for the sustainability of the entrepreneurial supply chain. There’s another benefit of quality Ideation program. It helps to increase the innovation culture among other students or potential entrepreneurs who’re not yet covered through the supply chain.

Startup Bangladesh initiative started it’s journey through Innovation Design & Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) project initiated by the government’s ICT Division. The project aims to establish a national academy with proper academic calendar and course curriculum alongside with the govt. led venture Investment Company. But the real fact is that innovation is not yet a very commonly understood thing in government level, especially in non-developed countries like ours. But thanks to all the hard work the government has pulled off in last decade through the vision of Digital Bangladesh, Innovation is now commonly known among and always founded in every series of initiatives following the government’s master plan.

This is where country’s largest youth facilitator Young Bangla fills the gap with the huge network and intense experience through working in previous entrepreneurial initiatives such as: Microsoft Young Bangla Internship program, Tech-Hubs, etc. Like the famous historical wizard Merlin, Young Bangla under supervision of Centre for Research & Information (CRI), changed the whole scenario providing the network longing the supply chain and the technical maestro to ensure the quality of ideation. In last two or three years iDEA project managed to get 580 pitching applications while in this two months more than 2200 Startup Ideas has applied to be a part of the government platform. Young Bangla also designed the course curriculum titled as ‘Idea Basics – 101’ as a foundation course for entrepreneurs to complete the ideation model of the National Startup Ecosystem.

This 50 credit hour foundation course was introduced as a series of workshops on topics starting from entrepreneurship, business, startup, business model, market analysis, sales & market strategy, business analytics & innovation pitch. For this first batch of 30 students more than 400 applications were received online & shortlisted to select and call up the final 30 participants for the course. The selected participants were from different universities/institutions with different backgrounds from fine arts & architecture to engineering & business as well. The credits hours were interactive due to low number of selected participants and the amazing environment that iDEA project office provides. Participants were reviewed with feedbacks from them to design the academic calendar for iDEA. To make the course more exciting two special sessions from two of the most finest of our country were invited as ‘Pitch to Win’ by Sonia Bashir Kabir Founder, Chairman & CEO, SBK Foundation & Tech Ventures and ‘Policy based challenges for Entrepreneurship’ by Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, Special Assistant to the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Senior Analyst of Centre for Research & Information (CRI). These small techniques increase the valuation of quality for the ideation process and provided extra promotion to the innovation culture that needs to be promoted by every perspective.

The course was inaugurated on 16th June, 2019 & the first batch was completed on 23rd June, 2019 with a pitching session to finish off the seven day training program. Honorable State Minister of ICT Division Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak visited the first batch during course hours alongside with the Respected High Commissioner of India SMT Riva Ganguly Das to encourage the participants and discussed future possibilities through this program between two countries.

Incubation or acceleration centers are very common programs in our country but Ideation, the most important part for Bangladesh is mostly ignored due to unawareness. The successful completion of Student to Startup: Chapter-1 marked the first move towards building the National Startup Ecosystem through establishing a strong Entrepreneurial Supply Chain thanks to young Bangla the largest youth network. The course Idea Basics- 101 opened added up the final touch to this Ideation process by making the supply chain more sustainable and effective. The final design to the National Ecosystem’s architecture is just two more steps away by just leaving the academic calendar & some corporatization process under construction waited to make history as well.