In honour of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the iDEA Project of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division of Bangladesh introduced the BANGABANDHU INNOVATION GRANT – BIG 2021. The prime goal of this initiative is to create a startup ecosystem and inspire youth by nourishing their entrepreneurial mindset. To Promote BIG -2021 as an international flagship program, The iDEA project has taken numerous initiatives such as University activation programs, TV Reality shows, and international roadshow campaigns.
The Hon'ble State Minister of ICT Division Mr Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP enlightened the media about the present state and the future action plans of BIG 2021. The Senior Secretary of ICT Division Mr N M Zeaul Alam PAA, the Additional Secretary & the Executive Director of Bangladesh Computer Council Mr Parthapratim Deb and The Project Director & Joint Secretary of iDEA Project Md. Abdur Rakib honoured the press conference with their presence. The sponsors of the initiative - Founder and CEO of evaly.com.bd Mr Mohammad Rassel along with the Deputy Managing Director of Walton Digi-tech industries Ltd. Engineer Md. Liakat Ali And Tina Zabin, Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh Limited shared their valuable thoughts on BIG 2021 at the press conference.
The chief guest of the online press conference, The Hon'ble State Minister of ICT Division Mr Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP said that young entrepreneurs and innovators are pioneers in building a digital Bangladesh. The State Minister said the "Bangabandhu Innovation Grant" competition has made it possible to inspire and engage the country's young generation to be entrepreneurs and innovators. On the other hand, Bangladesh has been established as a potential destination for entrepreneurs and innovators to the world. He said that more than 7,000 startups and innovators from 56 countries, including Bangladesh, participated in the contest. Mr Palak said that there is more than 6 lakh IT freelancers in the country and also making more than 500 million dollars. He said 100 crore taka will be invested among 50 startups from Startup Bangladesh Company Limited in Mujib Year. The 1st prize of the Bangabandhu Innovation Grant will be a grant of 1 lakh US dollars. They don't have to worry about investing and financing innovative work. The state minister said 300 schools of the future are being set up in the country to turn the future generation into Bangabandhu's golden man by imparting basic knowledge or basic ideas about Frontier Technology. He said 64 Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Centers are being set up in the country so that the youth can create self-employment in the area. Sheikh Hasina Institute Frontier Technology will be established to create technologists and innovators so that Bangladesh can lead the world in the field of technology by 2041. The state minister also added that the entrepreneurs are delivering services to people's homes in the wake of the ongoing global epidemic. Startups like Evaly have set a precedent for success. Big groups are now interested in angel investments, Palak said, adding that six months of free co-working space is being provided for young entrepreneurs in every high-tech park in the country to make entrepreneurs bigger. Startup Bangladesh is building an entrepreneurial campus to develop young people across the country as entrepreneurs. Addressing the young entrepreneurs, the state minister said that instead of riding a car after studying, now it has to be said that an entrepreneur builds a car-horse.
As the special guest, The Senior Secretary of ICT Division Mr N M Zeaul Alam PAA thanked all those present and wished the startups already selected for the next stage. The Executive Director of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) Mr Parthapratim Deb said, "Bangabandhu is the leader of the world. One of our humble efforts to spread his work all over the world is "Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) 2021".
The Project Director of iDEA Md. Abdur Rakib said in his welcome speech - The campaign for BIG- 2021 took place in 142 countries including Bangladesh and from these campaigns, more than 7000 startups registered their projects. Among them, 255 projects came from 56 different countries at the international level. These 255 projects were scrutinized in two different steps from which the top 10 projects have been identified. They will directly go to the grand finale. On the other hand, at the national level, the startups went through two different stages of scrutinization. In the first phase, 28 adjudicators were divided into 5 screening panels and selected 286 Bangladeshi startups. 35 judges from both Govt/non-govt. background and divided into 6 different panels on the second phase. These experienced panels adjudicated the online pith of those 286 startups.