As the Chinese proverb says, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials,” after a month of vigorous screening and evaluation, Digital Innovation Challenge for Women 2017 finally found its champion team on October 14, 2017. Among 8 shortlisted teams, project “Automated Portable Bio-Plant” was announced as the champion of the challenge. Along with the champion, project “Harano Biggapti” and “Super Donor” shared first runner-up position and project “Teacher's Time” was announced as the second runner-up of the challenge.
Throughout the month, these teams shaped up their ideas into products with the help of their mentors. The ideas varied from simple gaming applications to critical sectors like solving issues in fields of medicine, security, traffic, and education. Each week, the mentors commented on the projects and the challengers continuously improved their products. One might think that the challenges were only for the participants, but in actuality, the mentors and judges took a similar journey to spot the winner.
Among the mentors was Sayma Rahman, Digital Partnership Manager at Grameenphone Limited. She expresses her thoughts about this challenge as, “Being a mentor to this programme, I've encountered highly intelligent, ambitious and aspiring women who dream of changing the world.”
Another mentor Md. Sohan Haidear, Senior Executive, Social Media Marketing at The Daily Star, says, “The participants were trained to think of their ideas with a much more disciplined approach, so they can convert the idea into a successful and sustainable business.”
Another interesting part of the grand finale was the Tech Talks. Personnel from the professional world shared their views and experiences with the participants on topics like startup businesses. The participants actively took part in conversations with the panelists.
It was not just a mere competition. The challenge laid a platform for women to gain confidence to face the world and to actively participate in technology related businesses. With the Bangladesh Government keen on increasing the number of women as skilled manpower in the IT sector, initiatives like the Digital Innovation Challenge for Women could act like a stepping stone.