Team PROTHOMA, which has Mahedi Hasan Omi, Nafisa Hasan, Sumaiya Alam and Zarif Tazwar from Bangladesh University of Professionals, won the Honourable Mention Award at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition of Texas Christian University (TCU) among 56 other teams from 20 different countries. Their idea of creating eco-friendly reusable sanitary napkins has received positive feedback from the prestigious panel of jury members consisting of global venture capitalists.
They have used a new patented formula to create a sanitary napkin that can be washed up to twenty times following instructions. The team has ensured the use of an antimicrobial technology that make their product reusable without comprising on the purpose. They aim to address the importance of menstrual hygiene to assure greater productivity of rural working women. Team PROTHOMA is determined to bring about behavioural reforms regarding menstrual hygiene in rural areas. They went to Texas in search of international funding, after they ran a three-month trial and realised the great market potential of their product.
The competition, organised by Neeley School of Business of TCU had three rounds. The first round was online, and invited young entrepreneurs across the world to pitch in their business ideas. From more than 300 applications, 56 teams were shortlisted and invited for a detailed presentation at TCU. Post the presentation round, Team PROTHOMA were qualified for the Grand Finale of the Elevator Pitch session and were the only South East Asian team to make it to the round. Familiarising the jury with Bangladesh’s culture and situations was a major challenge for the team. In Bangladesh, over 75 percent of women have no access to sanitary pads, and so, the jury was skeptical about the financial outreach of their project. The team emphasised upon the fact that they know their target market well, and have a strong youth voice to ensure effective distribution channels.