30 school-going students battled it out to claim the title of 'Young Founders of Dhaka' on December 22 at Pathao Headquarters in a weekend boot camp organised by Young Founders School (YFS). Nine teams went head to head with 48 hours on the clock to design a tech startup, mentored by the leaders of the industry. Team Binder, consisting of Ainan Latif, Ahmed Tahmid, Khaja Ajrani Ahamed, and Saifah Khan won the competition with their innovative idea of creating a unified online marketplace for secondhand textbooks and books.
The boot camp is the first in line of the plans YFS has to better the spirit of innovation in the country, having hosted multiple startup oriented activities in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The students had the opportunity of learning the latest startup techniques inclusive of lean startup, product market fit and competition analysis under the tutelage of industry experts. Specialists from Pathao, BRAC Social Innovation Lab, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Plaantik and Seliserockin' software, were amongst the mentors. The young learners were further challenged into developing and presenting their half-formed ideas into full scale business pitches in front of three venture capitalist judges including Samad Miraly, Co-Founder, Startup Dhaka, MasudUl Haque, Associate, IDLC Asset Management Limited and Nirjhor Rahman, CEO, Bangladesh Angels.
Billy Naveed, founder of YFS graced the occasion with his presence. The teams followed up with their short pitches in front of the judges, with their eyes on the prize of seed money funding, three glamorous trophies and the title of 'Young Founder of Dhaka'. Ideas stretching from solving unemployment issues, providing sanitary solutions to setting up of free online legal services, left the judges in a hurdle to decide the winners.
Titled, 'YFS Pitch Night on Entrepreneurship', an interactive session preceded the prize-giving ceremony with Tasif B Akkas, Director of Togbog and Plaantik, discussing the emergence of young entrepreneurs in Bangladesh with the COO of Pathao, Pardeep Grewal.
Founded in 2016 by Billy Naveed, YFS is the first global programme that is a technology focused, non-profit educational organisation that aims to change how entrepreneurial education is taught to high school students. Naveed being a young founder himself, established two successful startups before the age of 16. To commemorate the launching, Naveed spoke of their plans for Bangaladeshi young talents, from translating their content from English to Bangla to an open call for students all over the country to take part in the global shift of startups through their portal. The programme was sponsored by the local tech startup Pathao and Osiris Group.