Bangladesh is a booming market for start-up initiatives. Young innovators are finding new and interesting ways to solve daily problems in easy and affordable ways every day. But a start-up is not just about coming up with a brilliant idea; it is about being able to shape the idea into reality and selling it. To foster this growing phenomenon and encourage innovation, HubDhaka has been working with the international platform Start-up Weekend to conduct a 54 hour boot camp for those who want their start-up to startup!
Start-up Weekend Dhaka 2015 (SWDhaka2015) kicked-off on 19 November and concluded on 21 November with 35 individuals participating from various backgrounds and working with mentors from various fields to learn the very basics of starting a business.
“The hardest part of starting up is starting out” is the core issue that Start-up Weekend focuses on and to address this, they help organize a three day events all around the world. During this time, interested individuals sign-up, pitch their ideas, go through various sessions with experts from varied fields and learn tricks of the trade to get ideas for starting out.
The three-day event is divided into three phases – 1) team formations and idea outlining, 2) building the startup model and 3) presentation and demonstration. Participants are guided by mentors throughout the event and are judged on their presentation on the third day.
Sajid Islam (left) and Anurag Maloo (Right) at the ice-breaking session of SWD 2015.
At the SWDhaka 2015, the participants got an opportunity to meet potential working partners and received the mentoring that can give them a head-start in the competitive world of start-up. The three-day SWDhaka 2015 was moderated by Anurag Maloo, Regional Manager for South and Central Asia for Startup Programs at Techstars.
Among the mentors was Adrianna Tan, a Singaporean entrepreneur who was named “Power Women in FinTech” and “Top Female Entrepreneur” in 2015; She was joined by Anna Rehermann, founder of Growth Hacking-Asia, Lutfi Chowdhury, Head of Sales at Green and Red Technologies, Avik Rahman, Co-founder of WebAble, Zayeema Sarwar, Product Manager at NewsCred, Debashis Howlader Dev, Head of Design at G&R, E.M. Yeaseenur Rahman Tahin, Head of Product Management at G&R and last but certainly not the least, the founder of Hubdhaka, Sajid Islam.
SWDhaka 2015 opened on an inspirational speech from Md. Sabur Khan, Chairman of Daffodil International University (DIU) & Daffodil Group followed by an ice-breaking session conducted by Anurag Maloo where he encouraged the participants to break into random groups and come-up with a business idea in five minutes. After this session, every individual were encouraged to pitch their business idea in 60 seconds.
“When you meet someone like Mr. Sabur Khan in the lift, you only have barely 30 seconds to share your idea. You have to sell your idea to him in that time and that is all the time you really need. Remember, you need to speak out. Unless you voice your ideas, you will not get the word around. Only entrepreneurs can help entrepreneurs”, said Anurag while asserting on the fact to keep their idea pitching focused on three aspects; i) the problem at hand, ii) the solution and iii) who you need. A total of 22 ideas were presented which were then displayed for voting. After voting, eight ideas were picked and teams were formulated.
Second Day at SWDhaka 2015 started off with group discussions and one-on-one sessions with the mentors.
During the idea materialization phase, Sajid Islam, founder of HubDhaka said, “When you are a start-up, you do not have a big budget of thousands and lacs; you probably have a budget of 5000 taka. Being a start-up means being able to put that 5000 for maximum output, for this you need to know growth hacking techniques!”
S M Rakibul Hasan, a member of the team working with Ayojon when asked about the app, said, “Our idea is to do business offline on online platform. It is mainly a service related business. Buyers will be able to order their preferred products online, and offline, we will buy that for them from their preferred shops and deliver it to their door steps. It is like FoodPanda in a way, except we will not be limited to just one product. However, for the time being, we will not be considering food products.”
About joining SWDhaka 2015, Rakibul added, “Before coming here, I just had the idea, but did not know how I could start. After coming here I learned how to start working for a business, where to focus and what the main course of action is to be. Moreover, the idea that I came with it has changed quite a bit, after all the discussions; it has developed notably. I don’t really care if I win or lose in this, but I have certainly gained a lot which will help me immensely in future.”
Participants presenting their ideas one by one
Judges at the final day of the event
GameJot team member Sabbir shared, “Our idea is generated from the idea to promote game development. Most of those who are developing games in our country are probably not known among general people. These game developers will be able to disseminate their games through our site.”
The judging panel for the third day was headed by Sabur Khan, Chairman of Daffodil Group, Tanveer Ali, Director of Olympic Industries Ltd. and Sajid Rahman, CEO of Telenor Health, Telenor group. All groups except Go Farmers, who dropped out last minute, presented their ideas on the third day.
Daniub and Ehsan’s “Funky-ride” was the winning team of SWDhaka 2015. "Magz" was the first runner-up with "Shohoranno" as the second runner-up. The winning team was awarded a gift certificate of BDT 10,000, courtesy of Branoo, an online shopping portal in the country.
Photo: INTELLECT/Ashad Abedin Joy