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Youngsters develop startup ideas

Afraim Karim | April 04, 2019 00:00:00

Young students presenting a startup idea -- a business that can bring customers and sellers in one platform so that they can buy all kinds of goods from all kinds of vendors

After a successful launch in December 2018, Young Founders School (YFS) held its second bootcamp in Dhaka on March 29 and 30, 2019. With almost 32 students participating from five different schools, YFS Bangladesh once again proved that nobody is ever too young to make a difference.

Young Founders School (YFS) launched the first Bangladesh bootcamp in Dhaka in December 2018. YFS is a technology-focused non-profit educational organisation which aims to change the way entrepreneurial education is taught to secondary school students. YFS is a global entrepreneurship programme for high school students. The initiative started in Hong Kong in 2016, founded by Billy Naveed. Billy himself began as a 'young founder', having established two startups before age 16. This programme is sponsored by international investment bank Credit Suisse, Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund and locally by Pathao and Osiris Group.

YFS runs two flagship programs, namely- Ideation express and Weekend bootcamp, throughout the year which are free for students.

Ideation express

It is a two-hour short course for students who are exploring entrepreneurship for the first time, guiding them through the key skills that are the foundation of the entrepreneurial mindset. Attendees are then invited to apply for the main bootcamp.

Weekend bootcamp

The signature course involves eight hours of workshops and ten hours of breakout sessions with successful local entrepreneurs. The participants are taught about all the elements of a pitch deck in an intense action-packed weekend. At the end of the weekend, they pitch in their teams in front of parents, teachers and local venture capitalists for funding.

At the weekend bootcamps, students learn from mentors the latest startup fundamentals such as lean startup, product market fit and competition analysis. All participating students have the opportunity to develop their startup ideas into fully-formed business pitches, and present to a panel of venture capitalist judges for funding. The winning team receives a seed funding towards the development of their startup.

The winning team consisted of students of grade five from Sir John Wilson School -- Gawhon Dutta, Zain Ibtida Islam, Wamiq Hassan, and Omar Shayaan Rahman. They are merely 12-year-old, each came up with a business idea named TakeCare BD- BhaloThako Bangladesh. Their business idea recognises the problem of accessing medical care, especially during an emergency or while stuck in traffic.

Ahmed Fahad, vice president at Pathao who was also one of the mentors, mentioned, "The youngsters appear disorganised on the surface. But when you view them as a single entity, their behaviour is efficient and effective. They stand shoulder to shoulder and work energetically together. They move quickly, spotting problems and offering help. They try things, take risks, and notice outcomes, which guides them toward effective solutions".

Other teams pitched ideas those included solutions to various social problems such as mental health of students, international C2C platform for local artisans, ride-sharing facilities, environment-friendly interior décor and many more.

Shah Paran, founder at HandyMama- first and largest web and mobile-based standardised on-demand household and office maintenance services platform of Bangladesh, who was one of the mentors expressed his joy stating, "I never expected our youngsters would be such enthusiastic and excited to explore innovative ideas, and actually thinking of making solutions for those problems. Initiatives like YFS with real-life mentoring could do wonders for those bright youngsters who have entrepreneurial DNA".

Young Founders School's expansion plans include exploring opportunities with schools out of Dhaka and also translate the courses into Bangla so as to reach out to more local schools around the country with the appropriate support available.

The writer is currently studying Economics at BRAC University, she can

be reached at [email protected]

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