Young Bangla and Microsoft jointly initiated the project to establish at least one Computer Lab in all 64 districts of Bangladesh. Under this project, 12 Young Bangla awardees from 2015 and 2017 received 7 labs from Microsoft Bangladesh. Young Bangla thereafter continued this project with the SBK Foundation by naming it ‘TechHubs.’ By the beginning of 2019, 57 sets of equipment for TechHubs were provided by SBK Foundation. 64 TechHubs are now functional in 64 districts. TechHub coordinators received 3 laptops, 1 scanner, 1 photocopy machine, and a router for service provisions.
The purpose of the project is to advance technological inclusion and to provide equal employment opportunities for the youth at the grassroots. Each TechHub acts as a Business Center/Market Place for ICT products and services. The TechHubs will include cyber café services and ICT training/workshops. Apart from providing ideation and seed funds, these TechHubs intend to offer office space to grassroots start-ups and start-up incubation training from experts. This initiative is connecting TechHubs – with renowned start-ups – in areas of service providers, and skilled human resources.
“I dream of establishing 100,000 Tech Hubs – in all the villages in our country. I want to provide ‘assisted technology’ through community youth leaders to rural residents so that anyone can have access to the internet and technology – be it for an online medical or legal service, online shopping or e-learning.” – Sonia Bashir Kabir, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SBK Tech Ventures and SBK Foundation
In the initial collaboration framework with Microsoft Bangladesh, the first batch of TechHubs organized basic computer skills training, such as Microsoft Office programs. It enhanced the skills needed for freelancing, outsourcing, and IT services among the aspirant youth.
Under the TechHub initiative, more than 200 youths were recruited as a scribe in the international healthcare company ‘Augmedix.’ Through partnering up with ‘Priyoshop’, one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Bangladesh, 7 workshops were conducted in various parts of Bangladesh. The workshops provided e-business training to over 2,000 youths.
The data science team of SBK Foundation will help the TechHub coordinators in collecting data on the needs and challenges of rural citizens. Currently, the startups partnering with TechHubs are Dmoney (FinTech), Dokkho (EduTech), Pulse (MedTech), Uqeel (LegalTech), Digiland (Land Protection) and PriyoShop (e-commerce).