FOSTERING DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Bangladesh: Incubating
Entrepreneurial Success

It was a tough beginning as an entrepreneur for Saadman Shahid Chowdhury, the co-founder of Genie IOT.

“We were fresh graduates with diverse backgrounds, ready to show the world what we could do – but no idea of how to actually do it,” he says. “However, our goal was simple: work hard, leave a mark. We first converted a living room into a makeshift office. Then came the excitement of writing our business model and asking people to test our prototypes.

“It was all fun and games at first, but it did not last long. We were disappointed when we quickly realised that the world did not work the way we assumed in our business model and received extremely unsatisfactory reviews from our testers. Furthermore, our home office was not conducive to a productive work environment. Without a nurturing hand, Genie IoT was stranded and doomed to fail.” At this dire time, Saadman says, Genie IOT was accepted into the Banglalink IT incubator – a move that helped turn his business around.

We were fresh graduates with diverse backgrounds, ready to show the world what we could do – but no idea of how to actually do it. However, our goal was simple: work hard, leave a mark

Saadman Shahid Chowdhury
Co-founder of Genie IOT

Launched in 2016, the Banglalink IT Incubator supports entrepreneurs and promotes economic growth through digitisation. The joint initiative between the Bangladesh government and Banglalink has a rigorous selection process to identify and grow innovative ventures like Genie IOT. More than 200 start-ups applied for the 2018 Incubator 2.0 and 30 teams were invited to participate in the selection boot camp. Six were chosen to join the Banglalink IT Incubator.

Following incubation, two of the entered start-ups – Easy Sense and Chobir Baksho – were awarded the BASIS National ICT Award 2018, in recognition of their outstanding initiatives that contributed to the development of digital Bangladesh.

Easy Sense was also declared champion of the WASH Innovation Challenge jointly organised by BRAC and UNICEF. Hosne Ara Begum, Managing Director for the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority says the Banglalink IT incubator shows how collaboration between the government and a corporate organisation can benefit the IT sector.