25 new ventures to get a boost
A business incubator will select 25 small and growing enterprises of the country to provide them with advice and technical support to help set up environment-friendly industrial units.
Commercially viable businesses having five to 200 employees and seeking money to go beyond their current geographic, demographic or business boundaries will be accepted for ScaleUp Bangladesh, a 12-month investment readiness accelerator programme.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) will be the programme's key partner along with Grameenphone, British Council, India-based venture capital firm Aavishkaar Venture Management Service, Netherland-based PUM.NL and Climate Business Network Support.
The incubator, BetterStories Ltd, states to be concerned with smart technology, strategic consulting and startup ecosystem, aiming to create at least 1,000 leaders by 2021 through green, ethical and responsible businesses.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith inaugurated the initiative in the capital's Brac Centre Inn yesterday.
This is a very important step to promote small and growing businesses and it will play a positive role in the national economy, he said.
Minhaz Anwar, chief storyteller of BetterStories, said the brand new programme would help businesses maximise growth potential.
Years of on-the-ground experience and understanding of the Bangladesh investment ecosystem are the basis for building this accelerator, he said.
Joel Reifman, deputy head of mission at the US embassy in Dhaka, pointed out that Bangladesh has been maintaining a good GDP growth over the last two decades and planned to become a developed country by 2041.
The country's economy is now in a good position and the SME sector will help it create jobs and boost exports, he said, adding that the idea would give a boost to environment-friendly small and medium entrepreneurs.
Harsh Vivek, a senior IFC official, said the SME sector usually helps developing countries attain GDP growth.
“The IFC is keen to provide support to the environment-friendly SMEs. We want climate-smart entrepreneurs in the country to ensure sustainable development,” he said.
Among others, Joya Chowdhury, investment readiness lead of BetterStories, and Kazi Mahboob Hassan, chief transformation officer of Grameenphone, also spoke.