Sketching Unique Stories | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 16, 2018

Sketching Unique Stories

Sakib Manzur Zihan, a student of IBA, Dhaka University, has won Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a programme of Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) of Bangladesh, for his media production start-up company, Sketch Board Interactive. His business idea and presentation skills accredited him with this prestigious award and made the nation proud. This year, Zihan will be participating in the Global Round of the competition in Canada to win $20,000 to expand his business. In his interview with The Daily Star, Zihan talks about his outstanding journey towards success.

Congratulations on winning the GSEA Awards at the national level! Please tell us about your journey from 10 Minute School to Sketch Board Interactive.

Thank you. I have always loved video-making but after participating in competitions like the NSU Ad Makers, Adwiz and CreDive in 2016, I found my forte and planned to build a media production company. I have been working for 10 Minute School for a long time now and it surely has sharpened my video making skills extensively. Gathering all the technical skills, I, along with two of my friends from 10 Minute School, started Sketch Board Interactive in 2016. Throughout the journey, we always had the support and assistance of Ayman Sadiq, CEO and Founder of 10 MS. We discussed that if we could run both 10 MS and Sketch Board Interactive simultaneously, we could actually work for both of them at the same time. We studied at Notre Dame College together and joined IBA with bigger dreams. So, from 10 MS to Sketch Board Interactive, we have gone through experiences which made us more capable in video production over time.

Could you please introduce our readers to Sketch Board Interactive and its functionality?

Sketch Board Interactive is a media production company that creates art through visuals. We have expertise in video production, business focused services, and art conscious approaches. We facilitate services on video and animation, photography, music and audio clips. Currently, we have eight people working for different sections.  We have a dedicated Sound Engineer, two Directors of Photography and five Executives. I take care of the finance and PR activities. My two other partners are the directors and editors. We take on multiple roles and share our responsibilities. For example, the person who works as the director, sometimes controls camera work and does the editing as well. We tend to avoid outsourcing, as we do not want to risk deteriorating the quality of work.

How did you register for this competition?

The first round was about online submissions to EO. The minimum qualifications included being a student of undergraduate or graduate level and having a company that had existed for six months at least, and made a certain amount of revenue. EO came to IBA and pitched their idea to the students. After applying online, the organisers called us to take part in the semi-finals. They called the top 15 teams in the semi-finals and the whole segment went brilliantly for us. After qualifying in the semi-finals we secured our place in the top five and fought to become the wining team. Right now we have Ayman Sadiq and Rifat Tareq from Studio Imagine to guide us with the preparations for the global round.

Is there any story behind the name of your company?

Initially we had no idea about how to name the company. Something clicked when one day we were sketching some ideas on a whiteboard. So, “Sketch Board” came very naturally.  We knew we wanted to venture out to the areas of virtual reality and augmented reality; for which the word “Interactive” sounded appropriate.

Zihan won the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for Sketch Board Interactive. PHOTO: SHANTO LAWRENCE COSTA

Why do you thing Sketch Board Interactive would be something worthwhile when the overall video making industry is forming innovative projects every day?

We believe that within the next five years, the video making market is going to plummet. On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is improving quite rapidly, and if provided with the resources, it can very well create content on its own. We had to come up with newer ideas to keep up with AI.  That is why we have chosen to work with virtual reality and augmented reality. By using virtual reality, we can make exclusive videos and commercials for well-known companies. Similarly, augmented reality has opened a new door of possibility. Snapchat, Instagram are the brain children of augmented reality. Both of these are major tools for our market. We can actually create a simulation of a sales campaign by using augmented reality and virtual reality. Till now, the market has not been developed much in Bangladesh. Moreover, the products we need to provide these services are expensive. We need some more months to equip ourselves better in order to penetrate the market.

How have you increased the credibility of Sketch Board Interactive given that it is only a fifteen months old company?

At the beginning of our venture, we chose to follow the channels of the IBA Alumni group. It is a very strong group. When we wanted to reach out to a certain company, we contacted some senior students of the department. Through them we came to know about different projects where we pitched our ideas. Previously people came to us to exchange their ideas with our skills. After working for some major companies, our name became quite known. Many companies now offer us video projects that suit their target market and demographic. We also have numerous agency alliances who make videos. They bring in projects from different clients and pitch their ideas. Since these agencies have our portfolios, they know what type of videos we make. They give the work to us and we do the rest.

What are the companies you have worked for in last one year?

The companies we have worked for are LG, Northern University Bangladesh, BRAC and The Fred Hollows Foundation. We made documentaries, videos and reviews for these organisations. We have made LG Super HD TV review. We have made animated videos on Cyber Harassment Awareness in collaboration with the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health. For The Fred Hollows Foundation, we produced short documentaries on how they have integrated comprehensive eye care services in maternal and child health clinics for the first time in Bangladesh.

Lastly, do you have any special message for the youths who are struggling to pursue their dreams?

With the advent of technology, there is no dearth of opportunities in Bangladesh today. My advice to the youth would be to start early and fail early. That way they will not only get an idea of how this works but it will also give them courage and experience to undertake bigger projects in future. They also need to always be on the lookout for new opportunities.

To get in touch with Sketch Board Interactive please email at: sketchboardinteractive@gmail.com or call 01876023019

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