FOSTERING DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
With grants from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and Bangladeshi government under their belt, plus accolades from the UN Development Programme, the founders of Teach It barely recognise their once cash-strapped start-up.
“Starting from scratch wasn’t easy. We realised that when our savings came close to nil,” says Co-founder and CEO Muhammad Tahmid Hussain Sumit.
“Then, just like a guardian angel, the Banglalink IT Incubator came into our lives.”
A community-driven eLearning platform that aims to fill learning and teaching gaps in Bangladesh’s tertiary education system, Teach It started life in what Tahmid describes as a “cubicle”. So, when the start-up was accepted by the incubator, the change was transformational.
We firmly believe that the development of IT entrepreneurs can play a vital role in materialising the vision of a truly Digital Bangladesh.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak
MP and Honourable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology
“Web development, design, research and strategy were so much easier as we had a space to brainstorm. Moreover, the programme’s mentors played a pivotal role in giving shape to our ideas and making us market-ready.”
Because while the Bangladeshi government hopes to boost already rapid annual GDP growth of 7.3% through the creation of a dynamic digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, provision of vital infrastructure such as workspaces and business support remains patchy.
Which is why, in partnership with the ICT Division of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authorities, VEON’s Bangladeshi operating company, Banglalink, runs the Banglalink IT Incubator. Following a highly competitive selection process, the incubator, which launched in 2016, offers successful candidates dedicated office space in a free co-working hub, online resources, mentorship, networking opportunities and access to customers through partnerships. Those accepted onto the programme must, among other criteria, demonstrate exceptional problem-solving skills and have a business idea that is highly innovative and of clear social value.
The incubator makes a vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) by promoting sustainable economic development and fostering innovation.
“As one of the leading digital communications service providers in Bangladesh, Banglalink has always tried to play an essential role in laying the foundation of a robust digital ecosystem in the country,” says Banglalink CEO Erik Aas. “Banglalink IT Incubator has already succeeded in helping many digital entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.” He notes that this includes over 50% of the 2019 cohort, who have successfully launched to market.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP and Honourable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology, adds: “We firmly believe that the development of IT entrepreneurs can play a vital role in materialising the vision of a truly Digital Bangladesh.”
Thanks to their experience at Banglalink IT Incubator, Tahmid and the Teach It team are already part of that vision. “The Banglalink IT Incubator enabled us to gain traction and capture the attention of the ecosystem. We are eternally grateful to Banglalink IT Incubator for being our guiding light.”
Banglalink IT Incubator enabled us to gain initial traction and capture the attention of the ecosystem. We are eternally grateful to it for being our guiding light.
Muhammad Tahmid Hussain Sumit
Co-founder and CEO, Teach It