For the first time, the government has launched Bangabandhu Innovation Grant 2020 to provide grants, of Tk10 lakh to about one crore taka, to local and foreign startup entrepreneurs.
''Under the Startup Bangladesh project, 36 startup entrepreneurs will be given grants of up to Tk10 lakh. Of them, the best one will get one lakh US dollars,'' ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said at a press conference at the ICT Tower in the capital on Wednesday.
"The Innovation Grant Platform will be developed as a field to fulfill the dreams of young innovators from all over the world – to inspire them with Bangabandhu's life of struggle and ideology," he added.
Organisers said IT-based entrepreneurs interested in participating in the Bangabandhu Innovation Grant Competition can register by visiting this website www.big.gov.bd. Of them, local entrepreneurs must register by 25 December, 2020 while foreigners have till 25 January, 2021 to do so.
Initially 200 startup entrepreneurs will be selected from the applications received for registration. From them, boot camps and TV reality shows, with 65 local startup entrepreneurs, will be organised. Among them, 26 people will be selected for grants of Tk10 lakh.
Additionally, 10 startup entrepreneurs will be selected and given grants through the International Road Show. A total of 36 startups will get grants.
"This event will be held as an annual event – not just in the year of Mujib," Palak said.
He said the ICT department has undertaken 20 technology-based initiatives in the year of Mujib to develop the innovative power of the youth.
The government has signed agreements with universities and local startups in the United States, India, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Turkey, Canada, the United Kingdom, Nepal, and Malaysia in exchange for technology, marking Mujib Year, the state minister said.
Bangladesh Computer Council Executive Director Perth Pratim Deb said, ''We are organising this to spread Bangabandhu's ideology to the youth globally. With this, the innovative thinking of the youth will flourish.''
ICT Division's Senior Secretary N M Zeaul Alam said previously despite having ideas, there were no opportunities to implement them. Such initiatives will play an important role in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh by developing young people as entrepreneurs.