IBM Global Entrepreneur program for startups launched

The Bangladesh Government and IBM on Tuesday announced a collaboration to launch the IBM Global Entrepreneur program (GEP) for Startups. The program will aid startups and entrepreneurs harness the power of IBM Cloud, and Watson APIs on Bluemix.

It will also deeply connect and embed them into IBM’s vast global network of enterprise clients, consultants, and innovation centers to help rapidly build innovations, scale quickly and accelerate growth.

Prior to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing, Officials from ICT Division and IBM took part to a meeting led by ICT State Minister, Zunaid Ahmed Palak and Chairman and CEO of IBM Asia Pacific, Randy Walker.

IMB representative said that the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh has grown over the last five years. With the tremendous growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and a push from the government the startups are now getting many platforms to showcase their innovation.

Through IBM’s global program, the startups will get further boost to their ideas and qualifying startups will receive up to USD $1000 worth of credits every month for a year to put towards IBM Cloud usage, giving them the instant infrastructure needed to quickly launch their businesses and focus resources on coding, building, scaling and bringing innovations to market.

The program will offer startups invaluable and in-depth connections into IBM’s enterprise client base, many of whom consistently look to the startup community for new approaches to industry challenges. By going through additional questions and approvals, some of the start-ups can also be eligible for USD $10000/month on IBM Cloud for a year.

ICT Division officials sensitize the IBM team that Bangladesh has achieved towering progress in the ICT sector over the past 8 years with some noteworthy attempt.

Already Bangladesh has connected all of the sub-districts through fibre optic cable, built more than 6,000 digital labs in secondary and higher secondary educational institutions, providing industry oriented IT and ITeS skill development training, building 28 Hi-Tech Parks and Software Technology parks throughout the country, declared special incentive package for the digital entrepreneurs including 100% tax exemption till 2024 for taking part to the global digital economy.

Along with these activities, Bangladesh government will promote the Global Entrepreneurs Program by allowing sufficient rooms for the Bangladeshi startups as a consequence of Startups Bangladesh. To accelerate the innovation culture in Bangladesh, government has undertaken a pioneering initiative titled Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA). Through this initiative, they will assist, cooperate and support their laudable innovations and successful startups.

Speaking on the occasion, Junaid Ahmed Palak said that under the bold leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and with the close mentoring of our ICT Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Sajeeb Wazed, Bangladesh government has been working for the last eight years for stimulating innovation and creating a startup ecosystem through some initiatives.

Mentioning the future endeavor in ICT sector of the government of Bangladesh, Palak said, “To cope up with ever changing technological trends, ICT Division is now putting its concentration on cognitive technologies.”

“As a part of our focus on the cognitive technologies, we have already established IoT lab and initiative has taken to establish dozens of state-of-the-art specialized labs including Big Data, AI, Advance Robotics, Digital Forensic etc. Furthermore, we want to start out ourselves in Machine Learning, BioTech, FinTech and EduTech.”

In this connection, the collaboration between ICT Division of Bangladesh Government and IBM regarding the Global Entrepreneur Program certainly would be a capstone step for our startups and innovation. We look forward to IBM supporting the startup ecosystem by providing the much needed mentorship to leverage new age technologies like cloud and cognitive, he said.
Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, IBM India/South Asia said that their collaboration with the Bangladesh government to introduce The IBM Global Entrepreneur program for Startups is an important step to provide them with a comprehensive and strong network of resources to drive innovation.

“IBM has witnessed significant success in the India market with our Global Entrepreneur Program initiative and already work with over 1000 Indian startups across HealthTech, Fintech, EduTech, and Smarter Cities to enable them to work with next-gen technologies like Cloud and Cognitive.”

With the Global Entrepreneur Program IBM will enable the startups in Bangladesh get access to IBM’s cloud portfolio and Watson APIs on Bluemix to help them easily build and monetize their solutions. More importantly, by providing a global path to the enterprise, this program can help accelerate the rate at which startups can get to market and scale.”

As part of the program, the Bluemix platform-as-a-Service includes access to over 150 services including Watson, Cloudant (non-dedicated) and Performance Management. In addition, the Cloud infrastructure-as-a-Service credits can be used on dedicated servers, cloud servers, or a hybrid of both.

Via face-to-face events and CIO and entrepreneur meet-ups, IBM will provide young, emerging tech companies with the exposure, connections, and partnerships which are critical in the early stages of growth. As they develop products and scale, entrepreneurs will also be provided with technical support and consulting through IBM’s physical and global network.

Secretary of ICT Division Shubir Kishor Chowdhury, Additional secretary Harun or Rashid, Randy Walketr, Chairman and CEO, IBM Asia Pacific; Vivek Vashista, Country Leader, Government and Regulatory Affairs of IBM and senior officials from ICT Division and IBM also took part to the event.

The link for applying is below.

Details on Bluemix, which is Platform as a Service offering from IBM is in the link below.

For IBM GEP Youtube channel has some testimonials for program and for Smartcamp, more to come here.

Faisal Mahmud