Promoting student entrepreneurs and creating future leaders
Over the years, many private universities have adopted the vision of shaping entrepreneurs and have been vigorously trying to nurture students who show strong interest towards entrepreneurship by providing them the required support. This article looks at some of those success stories that were possible because of the noble vision of nurturing entrepreneurship amongst students.
Rapido Deliveries is a B2B product delivery platform that helps other businesses deliver their products to customers. As a final-year student at BRAC University, Shamdanee Tabriz started the business in 2015. Currently, the business has over 1300 clients including e-commerce platforms like Daraz. The large-scale operations are managed by a team of 40 employees.
Rapido Deliveries was chosen amongst the top 25 startups in an incubation held by Startup Bangladesh-iDEA of ICT Division. This gave them access to a coworking space in Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park, scope to interact with other thriving startups and attend multiple networking events held to groom the chosen startups. In 2016 they also received funding from a2i project of the government.
Shamdanee recalls, he received major support from his own university, BRAC University. In order to kickstart his business, BRAC University had given him an interest-free seed loan. Also, the Center for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), an incubation facility of BRAC University, which commits to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, has been at his beck and call. According to Shamdanee, CED is trying to help thriving student entrepreneurs like him by listening to them and understanding their needs. They provide mentorship, conduct scalability and feasibility analysis in order to help startups led by BRAC University students grow.
In Shamdanee's final year he requested BRAC University to allow him to do his internship at his own business, as the nature of his business was such that if he had worked elsewhere, the business would fall apart.
Given his concerns, BRAC University board made an exception and broke the age-old tradition, allowing him to do his internship at his own business only to encourage more students towards entrepreneurship in the years to come.
Happihub is a mobile-based privilege platform for price-sensitive consumers who aim to purchase lifestyle products or services. This privilege platform was founded by Kazi Sazidul Hasan and Syed Abu Rayhen of North South University and co-founded by Md Shahadat Mollah, Md Lenin Sheikh and Md Rakibul Hasan.
Happihub partners with brands in order to provide privileges to the end users.
The privileges are offered in the Happihub mobile application. By availing the privileges from the app, customers can cut costs while purchasing any product such as food at restaurants, fashionwear in retail stores, etc. Sazidul states, “Currently, we have more than 300 app users and 25 partners in our platform and the application is free for download in the Play store. Happihub is currently only operating within Dhaka city, with 25+ collaborative partners located around Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Bailey Road, Uttara and Khilgaon.”
In terms of the contribution of his undergraduate institution, Sazidul states, “We have to say that some faculty members were very helpful. They mentored us by providing their suggestions. We got mentorship while grooming our business model and financing and during process automation.” Sazidul also states that the entire business was prototyped on personal funding. For the future Sazidul hopes they'll get support from NSU in order to connect with investment sources to take the business forward.
Dream Ads Studio
Dream Ads Studio is a social media marketing agency founded by Saddam Hossain, a student of Eastern University. Saddam finished his graduation in 2017, which happens to be the same year he founded his startup. Saddam knew that his university had been working with different marketing agencies for promotion purposes and was paying a hefty amount for it. He wanted to seek alternatives in order to cut down costs for his university. In order to do so, he began by understanding the basic targets and promotional requirements of his institute and made a proposal to promote his university the same way—only by running the promotions himself.
With this goal, starting from content creation to media buying, he learned the entire art of digital marketing himself and with full support from his university became the substitute of the agency for his educational institute.
Eastern University actively becoming the first client is how Saddam started his journey in the digital marketing space. Eastern University has helped him grow his business by not only becoming his first client but also by letting him pitch to other businesses through the university's network. Due to their active support, Dream Ads Studio now caters to more than 20 clients under Saddam's leadership. It's a true tale of success powered by education.
Due to social norms and educational pressure, young people are not growing up with an initiative-taking mentality. When they enroll for undergrad, they either choose the programme available to them or programme their parents choose for them. In both cases being absolutely unsure of what career path they want to take. This was the learning that led to the initiation of another student-led startup Junipreneur.
Junipreneur was founded by Md Atikur Rahman Babu, a student of Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Daffodil International University (DIU).
According to Atikur, Junipreneur is a platform where they sort out individual traits, strengths and weaknesses of young kids. They aim to create a nurturing educational environment for kids to help them grow multidimensionally. The founder believes that in our country education is a big challenge as it is impairing our ability to follow our hearts. If we do not change the way we teach now, 30 years later, it will decapitate the whole intellectual paradigm of thought leaders. Alongside theoretical education, children need to be taught to think independently and have courage. Therefore, Junipreneur aims to instil initiative-taking capabilities in children which he believes are another form of entrepreneurship.
As a member of the entrepreneurship club of DIU, Atikur was guided by the club advisors and faculties at every step to turn his idea into this startup. With the help of DIU faculties and advisors, Atikur also developed a course module on soft skills training. In future he hopes that DIU will help him to incorporate the module in the regular course curriculum and encourage other schools and educational institutes to adopt it.
Wood Carve BD
Wood Carve BD is an f-commerce platform that personalises gift items on demand. This one-of-a-kind startup was founded by Md Shahed Reza of United International University (UIU). Shahed was a first-year student when he started his business back in 2015. Personalising gifts for loved ones, a fairly popular concept in the western world, was still very new in Bangladesh back then. But given the number of festivities each year, the demand was huge. Recognising the need, Shahed gathered the courage and started the business of personalised wood-carved gift items from his room. During the initial days, it was a one-man army, which grew to become a four-member team. Now, alongside serving regular customers from their Facebook page, they are also serving over 25 corporate clients with 14 different categories of products.
Still an undergraduate student, Shahed gratefully acknowledges that the Director of Students Affairs of UIU helped him immensely. Whenever he needed support in making a strategic or financial decision, he would always find his faculties beside him. If it weren't for their support, he wouldn't have been able to maintain a full-time business alongside being a full-time student.