The Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) Project under the ICT Division of Bangladesh has launched a three-day startup incubation programme at Cumilla IT Park in the Kandirpar area on Saturday.
Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Minister Md Tajul Islam inaugurated the programme at Zilla Shilpakala Academy, Cumilla on Saturday, said a press release.
In cooperation with Startup Cumilla, 80 youths from 39 startups of Cumilla and its adjacent districts are participating in the event free of cost. The event will end on 14 February.
Addressing the youth, Minister Tajul Islam said youth in Bangladesh can take advantage of all the global possibilities by utilising their talents and labour through participation in various competitions at home and abroad in the era of information technology.
He urged the youth to be ready for future success by taking advantage of all the opportunities. "One must first learn, then work hard and think honestly to reach the top level," he added.
The minister also advised the youth to be patient and move forward with proper education to become successful.
Addressing the entrepreneurs, senior secretary of ICT Division NM Zeaul Alam PAA said the culture of self-generating ideas and initiating a startup to a pre-seed or growth stage has never existed before. There are many opportunities for startups in the country.
He said Sheikh Russell Digital Lab will be set up in all schools in phases. Moreover, youths have opportunities to work in Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Centers. Besides, there are various opportunities -- including mentoring support, grant support, venture capital support --- for young people. The youth must utilise these opportunities.
"Through the ICT division and iDEA project, the assistance for startups will continue," the secretary added.
Cumilla-6 constituency lawmaker AKM Bahauddin said, "Cumilla is the most productive district of Bangladesh for the last four years. Cumilla has been able to attain the top position in fish production. Amid the Covid-19 situation, the district has been able to earn $1.846 billion in remittances."
By joining a pitching competition at the end of the startup incubation programme, the selected startups will be able to apply directly for a pre-seed grant of Tk10 lakh from the iDEA project.
This incubation program has special sessions with entrepreneurs on how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, how startups can develop and validate their ideas, successful implementation of startups, various legal and ethical issues for entrepreneurs and various solutions related to startups.
Moreover, startup evaluation methods, including financial strategies and analysis, business models, marketing and sales strategies, and planning, will be the focus of training in this event.
Vice-Chancellor of Cumilla University Prof AFM Abdul Moin and Deputy Project Director (Deputy Secretary) of iDEA project Md Mizanur Rahman, were present as the special guests at the function while Md Kamrul Hasan, Deputy Commissioner and District magistrate, Cumilla presided over the inauguration programme.
Under the supervision of ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the iDEA project has been working since 2016 to create a startup ecosystem and entrepreneurs' culture.