Build Bangladesh and ygap Australia and have jointly hosted the pitch day event of the first ever female – led flagship accelerator program named yher Bangladesh – Celebration of Women Changemakers on 6th October 2018 at the Institute of Architects Bangladesh.
yher Bangladesh, a women exclusive accelerator program, commenced on the 29th of September 2018 for a week-long group training provided by mentors from Australia and Bangladesh. This accelerator program is focused exclusively on finding, supporting and investing in female-led ventures that are improving the lives of women and children across the country. Since 2016, there has been six ygap Bangladesh accelerator programs which have now supported 74 entrepreneurs who made positive impacts on the lives of 150,000 people living in poverty and deprivation in Bangladesh, while complementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event consisted of thirteen women social entrepreneurs who’ve emerged from this accelerator program that pitched their companies, products and services to stakeholders. These entrepreneurs are dedicating their lives to changing the lives of women and children of Bangladesh. One of these entrepreneurs is Azwa Nayem who won both the Peer Review and Audience Choice award. She is the founder of Alokito Hridoy Foundation, where they are creating an education and schooling system that ensures quality and sustainability in order to build an enlightened generation of our country, an education model that can be implemented all over the country to greatly improve the quality of education provided in the schools.
Other ventures included Elevate Solutions, working on distributing affordable solar-powered lighting solutions to rural off-grid regions of Bangladesh by creating and empowering independent local micro-entrepreneurs, Monipuri Cultural Complex, working on preserving the culture of the indigenous Monipuri community in remote Northeastern Bangladesh through education and production of specialized sarees while also hiring an all women staff and SHAREEFS which provides access to clean pure drinking water to people in South-East Bangladesh in the most cost effective and environmentally conserving method possible.
The event also saw the launch of the nation’s first ever all women Advisory Board consisting of Ms. Kaniz Almas Khan, CEO & Managing Director, Persona Health, Wellness and Fitness; Dr. Naseem Mahmud, Founding Director of United Hospital, Dhaka; Ms. Zobera Rahman Linu, National Table Tennis Champion and the Founding President of the Dhaka Cycling Club; Ms. Nusrat Feroz Aman, Director and Chief Patron of AYAT Skill Development Center; Ms. Eeshita Azad, Director of Bengal Group, Ms. Salimah Lalji, Executive director of Seven Streams Foundation; Ms. Sultana Afroz, Additional Secretary of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Dr. Humaira Islam, Head of Ultrasonography, Anwer Khan Modern Hospital; Ms. Jenny Chow, Chief Operations Officer at SPDB International and Ms. Sangita Ahmed, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, to guide and mentor the women entrepreneurs.
The Chief Guest of the event Ms. Nasima Begum, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs addressed the Ministerial contribution in women empowerment. She also mentioned that the Government of Bangladesh is proactive in taking steps to ensure the safety, security and economic empowerment of women. The event had a myriad of Special Guests including Ms. Penny Morton, Charge d’affaires, High Commission for Australia in Bangladesh; Ms. Barbara Wickham, Director – Bangladesh of British Council and Mr. Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh. Alongside Mr. Arastoo Khan, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Build Bangladesh; Mr. Farhadur Reza, President, Build Bangladesh; Mr. Reaz Ahmed Khan, Chairman, Build Bangladesh; Ms. Kaitlin Tait, Co-Founder of ygap / director of yher and Ms. Manita Ray, CEO of ygap, have mentioned their immense support to uplift the next generation of women entrepreneurs through this accelerator program