“Digital Bangladesh” is a national vision that is propelling Bangladesh towards a developed country status. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ICT Affairs’ Adviser Sajeeb Wazed emphasized on utilizing digitization as a tool for sustainable development. With a target to achieving the national plans of Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, Young Bangla is initiating innovative programs to build an inclusive digital economy. The programs are structured to equip Bangladeshi youth with technical and entrepreneurial skills.
Student to Startup
Young Bangla and the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) project under ICT Division arranged the ‘Student to Start-Up’ competition for the university students. The competition was inspired with the spirit of its motto “My Innovation, My Dream.” The purpose was to find young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to contribute to the country’s development. The competition would help creating an ecosystem of start-up and innovation. A national startup camp was conducted. The training programs of the camp brought positive changes among the participating students. It helped them in formulating strategies for applied learning.
‘This is the first time that the “Bangabandhu Innovation Grant” has been given to 10 startups, but in the future, 100 more startups will be given the Innovation Award. Those who did not get it can apply directly to the iDEA project in the future. I believe that these startups can lead the world in the future.’ By Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Honorable State Minister for Information and Communications Technology Division
In 2019, Young Bangla organized two rounds of Student to Startup competition. The first round was in March and the second round was in September. Students from both public and private universities across the country contested in the competition. More than 7500 startup ideas were received from applicants. The competition consisted of two components – the campus phase and the national phase:
- Campus Phase: Each university hosted a single-day workshop on pitching ideas and enlisting the opportunities provided by the iDEA project. Following up, another day was held for individuals/teams from any university to pitch their ideas to get a pass for ‘National Startup Camp.’
- National Phase: Top 120 Student Startup Projects received a pass to attend the ‘National Startup Camp.’ The participants received two-day intensive training on entrepreneurship, innovation and starting up businesses. The camp concluded with the final pitching session where the top 30 teams were awarded as the winners. The iDEA project, then after, seed financed top 10 Student Startup projects; from a total pool of BDT 10 million funds.
The iDEA project eventually selected 20 Student Startup projects as winners through round one and two. Overall, the projects received BDT 20 million seed fund. The ‘Student to Start-Up’ initiative created an innovative community-based competitive platform. Thereafter, Young Bangla, along with ICT Division, designed a curriculum on ICT based Entrepreneurship for the iDEA project.
National Children and Youth Programming Contest
Young Bangla and Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) jointly organized a contest for children to learn computer programming. This initiative was to bring out the finest school-going programmers. The program aims to foster a culture of learning coding among the school-going children. Two contests were organized in 2018 and 2019 respectively. A total of 10,800 participants from 64 districts competed for the district-level contest, 5,400 participated in scratch programming and 5,400 participated in python. The competitions had two segments: Scratch and Python.
1) Scratch Programming for Children
Scratch is a visual programing language. Students from class 3 to class 5 developed their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Finally they shared their outcome with various online platforms.
2) Python for High School Students
Python is a powerful object-oriented high-level programming language. It has simple and easy-to-use syntax, which makes it the perfect language to learn computer programming for the first time. High school students (class 6 to class 10) participated in the Python programming contest. Schools with Sheikh Russell Digital Labs hosted district level contest. During the two-day workshop, a total of 600 trainers were trained, including 400 teachers and 200 digital lab coordinators from Sheikh Russell Digital Lab.
“As the priority of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to build a skilled and IT adept youth for future, CRI (Centre for Research and Information) is carrying out a special programming contest all over the country to motivate children into programming in association with ICT Division Bangladesh” By Mustafa Jabbar, Honorable Minister for Information and Communications Technology Division
Winning teams from district-level ‘Scratch and Python’ programming contest were invited to participate in the national camp and the “ultimate round” of the contest. After the “ultimate round” of the contest, the top programmers received a certificate of appreciation.