HSBC honours young entrepreneurs
A team of four budding entrepreneurs yesterday finished as toppers of HSBC Young Entrepreneurs Challenge, after their idea of producing capsule shells from fish fins and scales was rated as the best business concept.
The team, called Fireflies comprising Makame Mahmud, Ayasha Sultana, Syeda Rizwana Zafri and Rakshanda Zihan, all students of Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka University, came out as the gold winner of the Bangladesh finale of the annual business ideas competition at Hotel Lakeshore in Dhaka.
The team, Concept Crew, was the silver winner and Foursight came out as the bronze winner. Both belong to IBA.
At the grand finale, six finalist teams presented their business ideas in front of a jury panel.
During its presentation, the Fireflies team presented how its idea will help the pharmaceuticals sector.
Presenters said their product, HealthyCaps, will provide a cheaper but good quality alternative. It will have a lead time of one week, compared to seven to eight weeks needed to make an import from abroad.
For pharmaceutical imports, local companies face a 'minimum order quantity' barrier which increases the cost of inventory management because many companies do not require such large amounts and capsule shells are hygroscopic in nature, they said.
The unpredictable demand of drugs further aggravates inventory costs as this demand cannot be met without stocking, said the team.
HealthyCaps will comply with waste management and environmental protection standards by utilising fish residuals for making capsule shells.
The main ingredient of traditional capsule shells is gelatin, conventionally made of pigskin and bovine hides.
Bangladesh spends $15 million to import capsule shells every year, according to an estimate.
The Concept Crew made a presentation on EcoCrate, a partnership enterprise that will produce packaging material from organic waste, rice husks, and mushroom roots.
The packaging material is biodegradable and readily breaks down in soil providing nutrients to it. EcoCrate will help reduce landfill waste while reducing fossil fuel depletion. It is better packaging solution than polystyrene foam, which has many drawbacks, according to the Concept Crew.
Foursight proposed to set up a farm named Deerville that will raise deer in order to sell deer meat. It will provide venison as a healthier alternative to the conventional means in Bangladesh.
Speaking as chief guest, Andrew Tilke, chief executive officer of HSBC Bangladesh, said the HSBC YEC offers the students an international platform, which will not only allow them practical business exposure, but also offer the much-needed insight into international trade.
The champion team from Bangladesh will compete against the other best teams from Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Shanghai and Thailand at a regional grand finale to be held in Hong Kong later this year.
The jury panel included Kaiser Rahman, chairman of Quality Feeds Group, Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, deputy managing director of PRAN-RFL Group, Arif Shahriar, group head of HR and corporate affairs of Rahimafrooz; and Ahmed Saiful Islam, chief operating officer, Abdullah A Mamun, head of legal and compliance and Talukdar Noman Anwar, head of marketing, communications and sustainability of HSBC Bangladesh.
The YEC is an annual, regional, competition designed to encourage young people to demonstrate their creativity and acquire a wide range of practical business knowledge and skills.