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Screening round of Connecting Startups Competition Begins
16 February, 2016

16 February (Tuesday) 2016:  To encourage innovative ventures of global standard and to take them to the global market ICT Division of Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and Information Technology, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) are jointly working together. The first government startup incubation competition `Connecting Startup Bangladesh’ is being organized in this process. Banglalink has joined the program as the incubation and telecom partner. Other partners of this initiative are Fenox Venture Capital, GAP and Kizki. 

The screening round of the competition opened to a press conference and orientation organized at the Krishibid Institute Auditorium, Dhaka on Tuesday. ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak attended the event as the Chief Guest. Shyam Sunder Sikder, Secretary, ICT Division presided over the session while S M Ashraful Islam, Executive Director, Bangladesh Computer Council; Ms. Hosne Ara Begum, Managing Director, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority; Shameem Ahsan, BASIS President and General Partner of Fenox Venture Capital and Erik Aas, Managing Director and CEO of Banglalink spoke at the session. Representatives from ICT Division, BASIS, BCC and Hi-Tech Park Authority were present at the event.

State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, after a long await, Janata Software Technology Park was inaugurated on 18 October last year. We are organizing this competition to ensure world-class projects generating billion dollars cultivate in Bangladesh. The competition has got over 400 applications in a short span of two months. We are working to create 1000 innovative ventures.  We dream to build a position in the global market. We are hoping such projects will come out through this competition. 

ICT Secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder said, the winners of the competition will get dedicated free office room and logistic support at Janata tower’s startups floor for a year with grooming facilities. It will be ensured that these startups get their deserved opportunities in global platforms. We have plans to take more such initiatives for the startups in future. 

BASIS President and General Partner of Fenox Venture Capital, Shameem Ahsan said, ICT Division and BASIS has been working together to encourage 1000 innovative ventures in Bangladesh for long time. Support will be provided to market these ventures in global platforms. BASIS will support them in getting investment, mentoring and working in close connection with Silicon Valley companies through venture Capital companies like Fenox Venture Capital. 

Banglalink Mnaging Director and CEO, Erik Aas said, In line to our commitment to Digital Bangladesh and our Corporate Responsibility (CR) initiative to help aspiring young entrepreneurs and brilliant minds shape their future, we have embarked into this partnership with BHTPA of ICT division in setting up a Digital Incubation Center with the “Connecting Start Up- Bangladesh" project whereby nationwide ideas and startups shall be facilitated, mentored and groomed. We do believe this could be a step to help Bangladesh to be an ICT hub and also facilitate in building a digital society which Banglalink thrives to embrace.

Winners of the Connecting Startups Bangladesh Competition will get free office space in the digital incubate support center at Janata Tower Software Technology Park for one year supported by Banglalink. Besides the winners will get grant and mentoring opportunity. Also over 50 selected ventures will get "plug and play” co-working space facilities with different grooming sessions and mentorship. 

Over 400 Banglalink SIM were distributed among the participants at the event. After the press conference around 1000 participants joined sessions on “How to Become a Winner”, “Fund Raising” and “Next Generation Marketing”. Top IT specialists of the country conducted these sessions.