The winners of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC), a social initiative by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) to encourage and promote the promising entrepreneurs, have been announced at a ceremony in the city.
The YEC, an initiative under BYLC’s entrepreneurship development wing in association with DFID and Manusher Jonno Foundation, is part of the organization’s efforts to nurture the passion of aspiring entrepreneurs with unique revenue-generating business ideas by connecting them to the right tools and networks.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was the chief guest at the award-giving ceremony held at a city hotel on Tuesday.
Acting High Commissioner of the UK to Bangladesh Kanbar Hossein-Bor and Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) Shaheen Anam joined the ceremony as special guests.
Speaking as the chief guest at the event, Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said, “BYLC Ventures is a timely initiative, and this YEC endeavor to select, invest in, and cultivate the next generation of Bangladesh’s entrepreneurs has the potential to add great value to the economy and make the ground that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamed of.”
The five winning teams each received seed funding of Tk 8 lakh with an option of further Tk 15 lakh in additional investment, based on their performances. Moreover, the five teams will have access to a co-working space, mentoring, and a rigorous accelerator curriculum for six months from BYLC.
The five winning teams are Eco Wraps, a production and packaging company of cellulose-based biodegradable biopolymer bags; Tinkers, a producer of educational and interactive learning materials and toys; Agri Mushroom and Multi-farming, an agri-tech company; Selvice, an online marketing platform for event logistics; and Digigrow, a cloud-based multi-channel platform for farmers, independent investors, and partnered retailers.
In his opening remarks, Ejaj Ahmad, founder and president of BYLC, said, “BYLC has been investing in promising young leaders for the past ten years. This YEC venture is our latest initiative to invest in Bangladesh’s most promising young founders and help them grow their business.”
Kanbar Hossein-Bor, acting High Commissioner of the UK to Bangladesh, commended BYLC for contributing to creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bangladesh. “Funding is not the only thing that young entrepreneurs need in today’s world to thrive in the current business climate. Under this campaign, the winning teams will learn tangible business and leadership skills that will help them build their ventures,” he said.
Speaking as a special guest at the event, Shaheen Anam, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said, “Bangladeshi youth cannot depend only on jobs. In this age of rapid technological advancement and automation, it is critical for youth to pursue self-employment opportunities through entrepreneurial initiatives.”
Over 500 business ideas were submitted in the initial phase of the challenge. The selection process included a residential bootcamp with 200 top founders, further vetting of top 30 teams, and presentation of 16 finalists in front of an investment committee comprising of BYLC management, industry experts, entrepreneurs, and investors.