State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell has said youths are not only the leaders of tomorrow but also today's partners.
"The youth of the country is always considered a valuable asset of the country as it plays a big role in breaking the stalemate of traditional thinking in the society and creating something new," the state minister said at a webinar titled "Understanding Asian Transformations: Young Entrepreneurs" on Friday.
The programme was jointly organised by the Centre for Genocide Studies, Dhaka University, Bangladesh and the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylors University, Malaysia.
Hoping that this event will further strengthen the friendship between the young entrepreneurs of the two countries, the state minister said youths are many steps ahead of people of any other age in terms of the thinking capacity required to work on time.
At present one-third of the total population in Bangladesh is young. Looking at the important historical events in Bangladesh, it can be seen that the youth has played a major role, he added.
"As the days go by, the youths of Bangladesh are showing their various innovative strengths and talents in the world, bringing honour for our country. At this time in Covid-19, young entrepreneurs from all over the world have shown they can handle any adverse situation," he said further.
In the welcome speech, Dr Anindita Das Gupta, Associate Professor, Head of School, Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylors University, said, "Several countries have proved at different times that a densely populated country with limited resources can continue to make progress in development. And young entrepreneurs can play a big role in meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]."
"A closer look reveals that the SDGs have 169 targets across all sectors of the economy. In other words, meeting this target can play a role in creating new jobs. In this case, the youth will be ahead of everyone," she added.
Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, professor, Department of International Relations, Dhaka University and director, Centre for Genocide Studies, who moderated the event, said, "The [novel] coronavirus pandemic has taught us, especially young entrepreneurs, many things. They have encountered new experiences."
"They have gained 100 years of experience in one year due to the Covid-19 situation, which will inspire them to take up any new venture in their career in the future," he added.
Dr Mahfuz Kabir, research director of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, and Anas Jubedi, a part-time professor and managing director at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylors University, Malaysia, spoke on the occasion.
Vice-President of Malaysia Youth Council Nurul-Huda Mohammad Afandi, Chairman of Zurhem Sadat Chowdhury, Managing Director of BeliGas Malaysia Suthan Mookaiah, Chairperson of Commonwealth Youth Council of Malaysia Kishva Ambigapathy, and Apex Footwear Bangladesh Limited's Managing Director Syed Nasim Manzur took part in the panel discussion.
Young entrepreneurs talked about how they started their businesses and have come a long way – including descriptions about various types of obstacles they have faced and how they have solved them. They also advised young people on how to manage business step-by-step.
Nur Ainif Omar, a lecturer at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylors University, hosted the event.