EMK Center and Aspire to Innovate-a2i jointly organised the closing ceremony of the first cohort of the Beyond Grades project, an entrepreneurship program for school-going students, on 27 October.
The current goal of Beyond Grades is to finish their 10 cohorts with 10 different schools to develop future entrepreneurs to impact the Bangladesh economy and graduate 300 students, reads a press release.
The event, titled "Celebrating life Beyond Grades", ended with a pitching session by students on ideas related to SDGs and the announcement of the winners.
Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, Dhaka, Sean McIntosh graced the event as the Chief Guest.
Beyond Grades started its journey in July 2021, with 30 students of Bir Shreshtha Munshi Abdur Rouf College, to build an entrepreneurial mindset among them.
Since then, the students have completed 22 classes on transformative mindset, transformative leadership, and transformative entrepreneurship. During the classes, students were introduced to 17 UN SDGs and received hands-on guidance to come up with various creative yet feasible solutions to the problems related to SDGs.
The idea of the winning team, Nandita, was to eradicate social taboo about menstruation and promote menstrual hygiene in schools. The runners-up team came up with the idea to address youth unemployment by teaching skills from a younger age based on their interests and creating a bridge between various companies and youth to communicate better.
Students should be given the liberty to choose their paths and think outside of the box", said Sean McIntosh, Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy, Dhaka.
The nine member project facilitators' team, who guided the students through the classes, was led by Tiger Bow Founder and EntrepreneurWahid Hossain.
He said, "Today we are celebrating amazing social entrepreneurship ideas of school kids and this project is going to continue developing hundreds of thousands of social change-makers in the coming days."
Professor Imran Rahman, special advisor to the Board of Trustees, ULAB, attended the session as the Special Guest and said, "I visited BMPRAC a few years ago and today I am super impressed by the kids, their ideas for SDGs, and the way two students shared their journey with Beyond Grades shows what transformative change happened to them."
One of the students from BMARPC, Rubaiyat Hasan Snigdho said, "Beyond Grades classes allowed me to see the practical world. So, rather than just thinking about getting good grades now I am more eager to learn new things and implement that in my current education".
BMARPC Principal Lt Colonel Hafez Md Zonayed Ahmed said, "I am very proud to see the amazing ideas my beloved students created after these 22 classes of Beyond Grades. I believe these ideas will continue and impact many lives in the coming days through my students. BMARPC will support these ideas and thank Beyond Grades for creating such a revolutionary program for the public school students".
The Acting Director of the EMK Center, Asif Uddin Ahmed stated the reasons why EMK Center took the initiative to arrange this program, "Covid19 showed us the importance of practical learning and it is as important for school-going kids as it is for adults. Through this initiative, EMK aims to create an entrepreneurial mindset among the school students for solving pressing issues of Bangladesh through creativity, innovation, and leadership".
The Head of Social Innovation Cluster of a2i Manik Mahmud said, "a2i will help Beyond Grades to reach various stakeholders so that it can impact and educate more lives".