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Bangladeshi start-ups homing in on billion-dollar valuation: ICT state minister

Star Business Report
Bangladesh's technology start-ups are catching the attention of venture capital (VC) firms, which have put in about $200 million in funding over the last four years, said ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak yesterday

"The more the start-up ecosystem is maturing, the more the venture capital funding is coming," he said at the inauguration of local merchant bank IDLC's VC fund at a ceremony held at the InterContinental Dhaka.

In just four years Bangladesh has nurtured several companies that are commanding hundred million dollars in valuation.

"And within the next few years a few of these might be valued at a billion dollars," Palak added.

IDLC's VC fund has kicked off with a moderate sum of Tk 45 crore and a tenure of 7 years. Its sponsors' contribution is Tk 5 crore.

"Start-ups can create more employment than any formal sector and we are very proud that the Bangladesh government not only understands the issue but is also pushing for the creation of this culture," said Arif Khan, chief executive officer and managing director of IDLC Finance.

IDLC has already got 80 applications from different start-ups. Of them 15 have been shortlisted.

Without developing the entrepreneurial culture the country's overall development will not be possible, Palak said.

"Venture capitals like IDLC can play a huge role here."

Investors from Silicon Valley, Singapore and some other developed markets are coming to Bangladesh often in search of start-ups to invest in.

"This is the outcome of an initiative the ICT division has taken a few years back," Palak said, while citing the creation of the Start-up Bangladesh project in 2016 as the turning point.

Already the government has approved the Start-up Bangladesh Company (SBCL) with the view to investing in different start-ups. A few hundred crores of taka have been allocated for the company, Palak said, adding that SBCL will be registered within the next few weeks.

"SBCL and IDLC can complement each other in establishing the start-up ecosystem in Bangladesh," the minister added.

IDLC said through this fund they have plans to make investments in early stage companies that are providing technology-enabled solutions to consumers and businesses of Bangladesh.

The fund will focus on certain sectors such as financial technology, entertainment and lifestyle, enterprise solutions, travel and logistics, core technologies, education technologies, food technologies, agricultural technologies, and internet devices.

IDLC Asset Management, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDLC Finance, will manage the fund under the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (Alternative Investment) rules.

Individual investors can invest in the fund but they will have to come with at least Tk 50 lakh. For institutional investors the number is Tk 2 crore.

The investment lock-in period is three years.

Khan said they believe that this will be a great opportunity for the investor community to boost the start-up scene as well as generate substantial return for all stakeholders.

Young entrepreneurs are really helping in nation-building and they deserve more support from the financial institutions.

The objective of IDLC Venture Capital Fund is to provide investors with risk-adjusted returns through investing in, nurturing, and then exiting from early stage companies.

"In about 80 per cent of the cases venture capital fund may not work. But if one single start-up clicks it will cover up for the rest."

The fund will provide investors with an investment vehicle that is diversified from the usual ones in Bangladesh, Khan added.

About the country's move towards digitalisation Palak said they are building 28 ICT parks across the country for start-ups.

Already, the government got huge response from the parks that have been made operational.

He cited the case of Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park in Jashore, which is packed to the rafters with 50 companies.

"But initially when we have set up the park people were teasing us, saying who will go there? But now we cannot manage space as every company is asking for more space," he said, adding that even companies from Dhaka have shifted there.

Access to funding is very important for the start-up culture and if financial institutions like IDLC can shoulder that responsibility the country will certainly get new ICT heroes, Palak added.

Currently, there are 17 venture capital licence-holders in Bangladesh but only a few are in operation.

Apart from those, there are some other foreign ones investing in Bangladesh's start-ups. 

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  • Gold Class Members

12:00 AM, October 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, October 06, 2020

SydneySun to set up video surveillance equipment plant

Star Business Report

SydneySun International and its technology partner Dahua of China will invest $5 million at Summit Technopolis at the Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Gazipur to build the country's first video surveillance equipment manufacturing plant. 

Abu Reza Khan, managing director of Summit Technopolis and Sagor Kumar Tito, managing director of SydneySun International, yesterday signed a land lease agreement to set up the plant over one acre of land, said Summit Group in a press release.

The prefabricated plant construction of semi-knocked down video surveillance equipment will begin soon and is expected to be operational by January 2021.

Initially, SydneySun is expected to employ about 90 Bangladeshi engineers along with 10 foreign experts. The manufactured products will be sold in both local and foreign markets.

Set up in 2004, SydneySun International is the distributor of safety and surveillance video solutions and is the sole authorised distributor of Dahua Technology of China.

It has deployed the city surveillance in Cox's Bazar and end-to-end solutions for the central command of the Bangladesh Highway Police, the press release said.

Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, and Md Shahid-ul-Munir, president of the Bangladesh Computer Samity, were present at the signing ceremony.

Summit Group Vice-Chairman Latif Khan and directors Fadiah Khan and Salman Khan attended the meeting virtually.



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Bangladesh to launch ‘Jogajog’ as alternative to Facebook, says Palak

Published:  July 24, 2021 18:45:29 | Updated:  July 24, 2021 18:48:43

Bangladesh is going to create its own social media platform called ‘Jogajog’ as an alternative to Facebook and ‘Alapon” for WhatsApp, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak said on Saturday. 

He said this while speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural function of "Entrepreneurship Masterclass Series 2" organised by Women e-Commerce.

“Through this(Jogajog app)  the entrepreneurs of the country will be able to create their own online marketplace and group for information, data and communication .”

Palak explained how his ministry successfully created ‘Boithok’ app as an alternative to Zoom online and ‘Surokkha App’ for vaccine registration.

He said the digital e-commerce policy of 2018 aims to create 20 lakh jobs in the ICT sector by 2021.

He further said that e-commerce, hardware, software and BPO sectors will be able to meet the target of more than 20 lakh jobs by 2021.

In addition, it will be possible to earn 5 billion US dollars in export revenue by 2025, the minister hoped, reports UNB. 

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Unlocking the growth potential of IT sector through mitigating financial barriers 

 Zulkarin Jahangir, Abdullah Hasan Safir and Tanjim-Ul-Islam  | Published:  August 12, 2021 22:12:22 | Updated:  August 12, 2021 22:21:46

The unique level of commitment from Bangladesh's government for digitisation has been working as a driving force for the country to thrive in the digital economy. The current government has accelerated the rapid digitisation and smart use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to spur progress in almost all sectors in Bangladesh (Strategic Priorities for Bangladesh, A2i, 2011). In this context, partnering with the University of Oxford's Digital Pathways Initiative, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), intended to chart a pathway for Bangladesh to decide holistic strategies to accelerate its inclusive growth in the digital age. The study identified three opportunity areas and 13 strategies to leverage those opportunities for the purpose of ensuring inclusive growth.

The first opportunity area revolves around scaling up the BPO and IT/Software industry in the strategy primer. The study identified several bottlenecks hindering the growth of the industry. In this series of op-eds, the various bottlenecks will be analysed along with recommended policy measures. The first op-ed presented here illustrates financial and regulatory barriers that hamper the growth of this industry and discusses relevant strategies to mitigate the issues.

WHERE DOES THE BPO AND IT/SOFTWARE INDUSTRY CURRENTLY STAND?: Software development firms share 47 per cent of the market for the technology industry in Bangladesh (BASIS and LICT). Bangladesh's IT/ITES industry is expected to grow nearly five-fold to reach USD 4.6-4.8 billion revenue by 2025 (BCG Everest Group). Evaluating the size of the BPO industry is difficult as a mix of enterprises drives it. There are 500,000 regular freelancers and 2,500 agencies that are serving in different freelancing platforms. Besides, more than 120 call centres have been operating in Bangladesh, and in FY 2016-17, they earned approximately USD 300 million reportedly. Among the top 250 global IT-ITES delivery locations, Bangladesh is one of the lowest cost destinations offering significant savings over many of its counterparts, including well established and dominant offshore centres such as India and the Philippines (BCG Everest Group, 2017). The ability to operate at significantly lower costs than India and the Philippines is one of Bangladesh's IT/ITES industry's key value propositions.


a) Existing gaps in Foreign Direct Investment: Bangladesh currently ranks 168th out of 190 economies in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. Although the 7th five-year plan targeted USD 9.6 billion FDI annual inflow by FY2020, it was only USD 1.6 billion in 2019, falling by 56 per cent compared to USD 3.6 billion in 2018. The FDI to GDP ratio in Bangladesh was 0.7 per cent in 2019, which is one of Asia's lowest values, even lower than peer countries like India, Vietnam, and the Philippines (World Bank, 2020). Furthermore, with special incentives such as 100 per cent equity control on the businesses, the software and IT industry received USD 26.1 million foreign direct investment in FY 2019-20 whereas India's computer software and hardware industry garnered USD 7.67 billion FDI during the same FY. Lower affordability and accessibility of ICT hardware, software, and services and inadequate internet bandwidth on both the demand and supply side are some of the sector-specific hurdles to attract foreign direct investment in the industry.

b) Barriers for the local investors: Local private investors can avail of corporate income tax exemption on their investment from BIDA and Hi-Tech Park authority for the first 10 years. However, there are struggles at various stage of operations for IT companies. In the initial stages, the private banks do not cater to their requests for loans due to the high risks associated with the sector in the absence of a proper mechanism or practice to quantify the value of IT work in Bangladesh (Bangladesh Sectoral Growth Diagnostic, EDIG, 2017). Secondly, in comparison with the Indian or Filipino offshore industry, the industry in Bangladesh is still nascent; therefore, investors need to build entire ecosystems investing in training talent and infrastructure which is often burdensome for the local investors (Everest Group Research, 2017). Besides, there is an inherent entry barrier for new and small entrepreneurs in the industry with policies inclined to the large producers/ exporters. For example, IT firms with less than 200-bit data storage have to bear a larger burden of tax compared to the firms with higher data storage.

c) Weaker cross-border payment system: The cross-border payment system works as a significant obstacle in Bangladesh compared to its neighbouring countries. The payment system in Bangladesh operates through international bank transfer, which is a time-consuming, tedious, and costly option. Many companies prefer not to use these services, and instead, prefer to go through informal channels. In the absence of international payment gateways like PayPal, freelancers, and small and medium IT/ITES service providers usually deal with very few direct clients outside the marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork. Bangladesh, as a consequence, is losing a considerable amount of revenue every year.



ENSURING ADEQUATE FINANCING AND FIXING THE REGULATORY BARRIERS: From the discussion, it is clear that the financing and regulatory issues work as developmental hindrances affecting the growth and sustainability of the IT/ITES Sector in Bangladesh. Considering the challenges, the primer discussed following strategies to make Bangladesh IT industry recognised globally as a  premium service location for IT/ITES/BPO by increasing financial attractiveness and enabling the business environment:

Improve the overall business environment, including regulatory or legal adaptability to attract foreign investors to invest in the IT/ITES industry: Enforcing contracts, registering property, trading across borders, getting electricity, and resolving insolvency are the bottom five indicators for Bangladesh's Doing Business Index, where Bangladesh has performed poorly. These are areas where improvement of the indicators is pertinent. Among the regional competitor countries of Bangladesh, India has the highest rank (63rd) on the World Banks' Doing Business Index, while Vietnam, with its 70th position, continues to be a magnet for attracting foreign direct investment. Both these countries proactively improved their business and investment environment for foreign companies. India's strategy was to reform areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency (The World Bank, 2019). On the other hand, Vietnam's reforms have focused on access to credit and payment of taxes (Vietnam Briefing, 2019).

       Bangladesh can benefit from following Vietnam's strategies by focusing on improving access to credit and simplifying the payment mechanism of taxes to have a quick jump on the Doing Business ladder. This is to mention that streamlining the administrative procedures through digitisation worked as a key step for Vietnam in this regard. Moreover, to attract foreign investors in the IT industry, Bangladesh essentially needs to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of the internet, ICT hardware, software, and services in rural and remote areas.

Encourage the local investors with incentives to invest in the IT/ITES industry to compete with the foreign investors equally: One of the significant problems local investors face here is access to credit. In general, having access to credit in Bangladesh is more complicated than the regional competitor countries like India (Bangladesh ranks 119th and India ranks 25th in Doing Business Index 2020 for this indicator). Bangladesh needs to formulate an integrated or unified legal framework for secured transactions that extend to the creation, publicity, and enforcement of functional equivalents to security interests in movable assets (as an alternative of collaterals) to encourage local investors. At the same time, banks and financial institutions should have access to borrowers' credit information online, which might be through a secured online platform.

       For IT industries, proper mechanisms need to be in place to quantify the value of IT work to reduce the sector-specific difficulties to access credit from the banks. The higher  interest rate should be reduced, and the investors in this industry should receive borrowing and loan benefits like in the RMG sector. Incentives should be taken to create a  level playing field for the new and small entrepreneurs in the industry who are often not tenanted in the formal economic zones.

Initiate platforms to ease the process of international payment: PayPal is the most popular digital payment method, currently available in 203 countries globally, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. Even though PayPal is welcomed by the ITES providers and the service seekers worldwide, it's not available in Bangladesh. This platform can facilitate speed, convenience, and international transactions' security - something precious for users, especially for the freelancers with recurring transactions.

 The Banking Company Act, 1991 states that Bangladesh Bank is an autonomous body; however, the establishment of the Banking Division by the Ministry of Finance (MoF)           has practically reduced Bangladesh Bank's capacity and jurisdiction. Therefore, despite facing no obstacles from the central bank, PayPal cannot operate in Bangladesh due           to   bureaucratic complexities. To avoid losing a considerable amount of revenue from foreign direct clients in the freelancing sector every year, MoF might be able to play a           role based on the non-objection of the central bank.

Although a payment system called Xoom has been introduced instead of PayPal in Bangladesh, it cannot be regarded as a proper replacement as this platform contains similar difficulties like other conventional payment systems like bank transfers. Therefore, even if alternative platforms are introduced, it must offer a money transfer experience as smooth as PayPal.

The removal of the financial and regulatory barriers through implementing the aforementioned strategies can contribute towards scaling up the BPO and IT industry in the country. That would allow the sector to generate broader employment creation opportunities for the youth. However, one of the core challenges for the industry is supplying skilled professionals. The next op-ed of the series will focus on this shortage of skilled labour.

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TBS Report

16 August, 2021, 07:50 pm

Last modified: 16 August, 2021, 08:00 pm

Backdoor inks deal with Modhumoti bank to provide digital system security

Under this agreement, Backdoor, a digital security firm, will monitor the bank’s network 24/7 and detect all types of threats and recommend necessary measures in a bid to prevent potential threats or hacking



Modhumoti Bank and Backdoor Private Ltd signed an agreement on Monday for securing the bank's network and digital transactions.

Managing Director and CEO of Modhumoti Bank Md Shafiul Azam and Managing Director of Backdoor Private Ltd Tanvir Hassan Zoha inked the deal on behalf of their companies at the bank's head office in Gulshan, said a Modhumoti Bank press release. 

Board of Director of Modhumoti Bank A Mannan Khan, Sponsor Director Rafiur Rahman Khan, DMD Shahnawaj Chowdhury and Backdoor's Business Development Director Nurfath Mahbuba Rinha were also present at the signing ceremony.

Under this agreement, Backdoor, a digital security firm, will monitor the bank's network 24/7 and detect all types of threats and recommend necessary measures in a bid to prevent potential threats or hacking.

The digital security firm will provide real-time notification about anyone who tries to compromise the digital security systems of the bank, what kind of attempts are coming up from which destinations, which are the real security alerts and how they are being dealt with by Backdoor's security analysts, the release said. 

In this regard, Managing Director of Backdoor Private Ltd Tanvir Hassan Zoha said, "Banking systems need to be protected from the ever-increasing known and unknown threats. None can afford to leave the system unprotected simply because of not having technology like SOC or shortage of experienced analysts."

According to the release, Modhumoti Bank signed the deal as per the instruction of the Bangladesh Bank to establish a Security Operation Centre (SOC) at every bank. The instruction came after the heist of $81 million from the central bank in 2016.

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Abbas Uddin Noyon

19 August, 2021, 06:35 pm

Last modified: 19 August, 2021, 10:44 pm

City Group to invest Tk5,000cr to build hi-tech park

Work on setting up the hi-tech park in Demra will begin in two years and is expected to create 15,000 jobs



Consumer goods giant City Group is set to enter the booming IT sector with an initial investment of Tk5,000 crore in setting up a hi-tech park.

Biswajit Saha, executive director of City Group, said the government's Hi-Tech Park Authority on Thursday approved the conglomerate as a park developer, after conducting a feasibility study.

Work on setting up the hi-tech park on a 115-acre land in Demra, Dhaka will begin within the next two years, he said, adding that the investment target has been set at Tk5,000 crore to build the world's most modern IT park.

He said the establishment is expected to create employment opportunities for some 15,000 people.

Biswajit Saha said there will be a technology university, training institute, convention centre, 5-star hotel, playground, and infrastructures for the production of and research on electronics in the industrial park.

"Global tech giants, including Apple and Samsung, will be invited here. At the same time, City Group will establish its own ICT company."

On 31 May this year, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority declared City Hi-Tech Park as a private hi-tech park, City Group officials said.

As a result, investors in the park will get 14 incentives, including a 10-year tax holiday, through a one-stop service, they added.

Biswajit Saha said City Group has already completed the preparation of a master plan, feasibility study and environmental survey.

After being recognised as a developer, the industrial group will now get the opportunity to do all types of work, including developing all off-site and on-site facilities, landfilling, electricity, gas and water supply, construction of standard buildings, wide roads inside the park, lakes, high-quality food courts, STPs and parks, he added.

Md Hasan, director of City Group and chairman of City Hi-tech Park Ltd, said, "We will manufacture electronics and technology products that no one could even think of making in Bangladesh.

"We will encourage investments to set up units for making microprocessor, chip designing, circuit designing, manufacturing/assembling of mobile phones, laptops, televisions and fridges, software development, digital and technology consultancy firms, network, data centres, cybersecurity, programming, project management and training institutes for human resource development, etc. Dormitories and science parks will also be set up."

He also said construction work on the IT park has been initially targeted to be completed in 5-7 years.

Speaking on approving City Group for developing the hi-tech park, NM Ziaul Alam, senior secretary of the ICT Division, said City Group is a popular name in the country as well as abroad. Other companies in the country will also be encouraged to invest in the sector by seeing a big company like City Group coming forward to set up a hi-tech park, he observed.

City Group is a major conglomerate in the country's consumer goods production. At present, the business group caters to one-third of the total demand for consumer goods in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi businessman Fazlur Rahman founded City Group. Its activities started on 6 February 1972 with the production of mustard oil.

The leading business conglomerate in the country now has an investment in more than 25 large industries including food products, steel, printing and packaging, shipping, power and energy, financial institutions, insurance, stock market, hospitals and media.  

The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority is establishing hi-tech parks, software technology parks and IT training and incubation centres throughout the country to attract local and foreign investors for the development of Hi-Tech/ IT/ITES industries, which are creating huge employment opportunities and producing skilled human resources.

Hi-tech parks offer opportunities to invest in the hi-tech industry and promote businesses that are knowledge- and capital-based. Information technology, software technology, biotechnology, renewable energy, green technology, IT hardware, IT-enabled services and research and development, etc are major areas of investment in the hi-tech industry in Bangladesh.

Currently, eight hi-tech parks are being set up by the government, which include Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City, Kaliakoir – the first and largest technological park of Bangladesh established on an area of 355 acres. The government is also setting up 12 IT/hi-tech parks at the district level.

Apart from this, the government has recognised two factories of electronics giant Walton as hi-tech parks.

Samsung's Narsangdi and Minister Group's Gazipur factories are also getting the same facility. These factories are enjoying the zero-tariff facility on imports of all kinds of equipment, apart from enjoying tax-holiday for 10 years.

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সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচকে ২৭ ধাপ এগোল বাংলাদেশ

 ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক

 প্রকাশিত ০৯:২৫ রাত আগস্ট ২৩, ২০২১

সার্ক দেশগুলোর মধ্যে প্রথম অবস্থানে রয়েছে বাংলাদেশ

জাতীয় সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচকে বাংলাদেশের ২৭ ধাপ উন্নতি হয়েছে। ৫৯ দশমিক ৭৪ নম্বর পেয়ে সার্ক দেশগুলোর মধ্যে প্রথম হয়েছে বাংলাদেশ। 

এস্তোনিয়াভিত্তিক ই-গভর্নেন্স একাডেমি ফাউন্ডেশন বিশ্বের ১৬০টি দেশের সাইবার নিরাপত্তা ও ডিজিটাল উন্নয়ন পরিস্থিতি বিবেচনায় নিয়ে এ সূচক প্রস্তুত করেছে। সূচকে বাংলাদেশ বর্তমান অবস্থান ৩৮তম। গত ডিসেম্বর ২০২০ সালের সূচকে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান ছিল ৬৫তম।

মৌলিক সাইবার হামলা প্রতিরোধের প্রস্তুতি, সাইবার ঘটনা, অপরাধ ও বড় ধরনের সঙ্কট ব্যবস্থাপনায় তৎপরতা মূল্যায়ন করে জাতীয় সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচক (এনসিএসআই) তৈরি করা হয়।

সর্বশেষ সূচকে ৯৬ দশমিক ১০ স্কোর নিয়ে সবচেয়ে ভালো অবস্থায় আছে গ্রিস। এরপর ৯২ দশমিক ২১ স্কোর নিয়ে চেক রিপাবলিক ও ৯০ দশমিক ৯১ স্কোর নিয়ে এস্তোনিয়া দ্বিতীয় ও তৃতীয় অবস্থানে রয়েছে।

সূচকে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের অবস্থান ১৭ নম্বরে, যুক্তরাজ্য আছে ১৯তম অবস্থানে। প্রথম ২০টি দেশের মধ্যে এশিয়ার একমাত্র প্রতিনিধি সিঙ্গাপুরের অবস্থান ১৬ নম্বরে, শ্রীলংকা ৬৯তম, পাকিস্তান ৭০তম স্থানে। জাপান আছে ৩৪তম স্থানে, চীন আছে ৮৩তম স্থানে। এ অঞ্চলের দেশগুলোর মধ্যে ভারতের অবস্থান ৩৯তম।

সূচকে বাংলাদশের উন্নতি সম্পর্কে বাংলাদেশের সরকারের সাইবার সিকিউরিটি নিয়ে কাজ করা বিজিডি ই-গভ সার্ট’র প্রকল্প পরিচালক তারেক এম বরকতউল্লাহ অনলাইন সংবাদ মাধ্যম বাংলা ট্রিবিউনকে জানান, সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বাংলাদেশের সক্ষমতা দিন দিন বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে, যা আন্তর্জাতিক পরিমণ্ডলে স্বীকৃতি লাভ করছে। সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বিজিডি ই-গভ সার্ট নিরলসভাবে কাজ করে যাচ্ছে। এ ধরনের স্বীকৃতি আমাদেরকে সাইবার হামলা প্রতিহত করতে উৎসাহিত করবে এবং সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বাংলাদেশের সক্ষমতা বৃদ্ধিতে সহায়তা করবে।

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Govt to provide training to 10,000 top IT executives within next five years

Published:  August 29, 2021 15:07:11 | Updated:  August 29, 2021 17:23:01

The government is going to provide training to 10,000 top executives, including Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) known as CXOs, and mid-level managers of IT companies under Advanced Certification for Management Professionals (ACMP) 4.0 training programme within next five years, officials said.

 “Backed by the success of the similar ACMP 4.0 training programme held previously the government is going to organize training for the CXOs and mid-level managers of IT companies to build their capacity to flourish their respective companies,” said senior secretary of ICT Division N M Zeaul Alam.

He said the government will continue to provide support to such training to boost the country’s IT sector and help achieve its $5 billion target of ICT export by 2025, reports UNB. 

The experts of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) will provide 120 hours of training to the CEOs and managers who played a vital role in making healthy growth of IT companies, he added.

The ACMP 4.0 programme was introduced at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University in 2017 in collaboration with LICT Project to boost the country’s IT sector. A total of 950 CXOs and managers have so far been given training under the ACMP 4.0 training programme.

LICT Project Director Tarique M Barkatullah said keeping the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution in mind, the government has been providing support to IBA to continue ACMP 4.O course for enhancing efficiency of the CXOs and managers for increasing business and earning of their companies. 

He said the training programme will provide a pragmatic approach towards transformational leadership in a dynamic, rapidly changing, interconnected and complex business environment influenced by digital disruptions and opportunities.

IT-ITES Policy Adviser of LICT Project Sami Ahmed said upon completion of the programme, the participants are expected to be better equipped to lead crafting and implementing strategies for growth acceleration of their businesses in the age of digital transformation. “Without enhancing managerial skills, a company could not flourish,” he added.

This extensive training programme consists of exclusive modules including communication 4.0, technology 4.0, supply chain 4.0, business analytics, marketing 4.0, Human Resource Management 4.0. The trainees will also get training on crafting and executing strategies, innovation, business model and entrepreneurial journey, scale up and growth acceleration strategy for IT/ITeS SMEs, strategy masterclass.


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Yousup Faruqu to lead Microsoft Bangladesh

Published:  September 05, 2021 15:50:35


Microsoft has appointed Md Yousup Faruqu as managing director of the tech giant's Bangladesh operations.

In his new role, Mr Faruqu will focus on accelerating digital transformation for public and private sector organisations, SMEs, communities, and industry verticals, collaborating with Microsoft’s robust partner ecosystem, said a press release.

“Bangladesh has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the Asia Pacific, and we’re proud to empower them in their aspirations to become a developed country by 2041. One of the ways they are doing this is by setting the pace for IT-enabled public services and growing the country’s cloud footprint. That’s where Faruqu’s extensive industry experience will play a crucial role in ensuring cloud adoption, skilling and transformation for the country. I’m excited to see how he and his team will continue building partnerships and capabilities together, in a market that is consistently brimming with innovation,” said Sook Hoon Cheah, General Manager, Southeast Asia New Markets, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Faruqu brings over 16 years of experience in technology transformation across Bangladesh. His prior experiences include roles with VMware, Banglalink Digital Communication, and Symbiosis Bangladesh.

He holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Applications from Bangalore University in Bengaluru, India, the statement said. 

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Bangladesh to provide tech services to Uzbekistan

Staff Correspondent
07 Sep 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 07 Sep 2021 02:45:04

Bangladesh is going to provide business process outsourcing, software services to Uzbekistan and participate in the country’s research and development projects.

The two countries agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard in October, said statement of the Information and Communication Technology Department of Bangladesh on Monday.

The decision was taken at a ministerial meeting between the two countries.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Alimjan Imarav, digital technology adviser to the prime minister of Uzbekistan and Ibrokhim Y Abdur Akhmanov, Innovative Development Minister were present in the meeting.

In the meeting, the Uzbek representatives shared their country’s recent progress in research and science while the Bangladeshi delegates highlighted the initiatives taken to implement the Digital Bangladesh Vision.

“After examining proposals and possibilities, an agreement will be reached with Uzbekistan in exchange for technology, manpower or services,” the ICT minister said.

The visiting delegation of technology businessmen also had a fruitful meeting on Friday with Samarkand Governor Erkinjan Turdimov and Bukhara Governor Oktam Barneyev on Sunday.

The delegation will return to the country on Tuesday after a seven-day visit.

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Mohsin Bhuiyan & Tarif Tahmeed Khan

09 September, 2021, 10:20 pm

Last modified: 09 September, 2021, 10:26 pm

Bangladesh next global big tech destination for e-health: World Bank

Bangladesh’s strong political support for digital health strategy has influenced the rapid proliferation of e-health initiatives in the country, says a World Bank report released Wednesday



Bangladesh is expected to be the next destination for global big tech investments in facilitating digital health services, thanks to the country's "strong tracking record in e-health policies and practices", says the World Bank.

The country's strong political support for digital health strategy, especially for e-health standards and interoperable health information exchange platforms, has influenced the rapid proliferation of such initiatives in the country, the global lender says in a report titled "The Converging Technology Revolution and Human Capital Potential and Implications for South Asia" released Wednesday.

The Bangladesh government's initiatives towards digital health services can be traced back from the earlier years of Internet use in the country when the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) published the Digital Health Guide Book 2009.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, convener of the Bangladesh Health Watch, told The Business Standard, "I think the World Bank report properly reflects the country's digital health services. This is because Bangladesh's private and public sectors have been receiving investments in e-health and m-health for a long time."

He said, "We have founded the Public Health and Informatics department in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Then, we started a Master's programme in health informatics at Bangladesh University of Health Science. Brac has been working on mobile health as well."

The former vice-chair of Brac was delighted to mention, "For the past 20 years we have been actively working with this sector. We have not only been able to develop the capacity to facilitate e-health, but also have made both technical and practical uses of it."

He said, "Technical and practical uses of e-health must go hand in hand to make these digital health services effective. Therefore, we have been focusing on getting investments for both of them.

"Looking back at our efforts, I can say that we have done very well."

The World Bank report highlights that the availability of digital health services in Bangladesh alone is not sufficient and that the key challenge is to overcome the underlying socioeconomic barriers to their use.

Bangladesh's ability to articulate health needs and to afford the required resources for digital health services are still in question.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza said, "We need to consider the information divide that has been existing in the country. It must be accessible to everyone from urban to remote areas of the country.

"Moreover, during the pandemic, we have seen significant changes in terms of adapting to digital health services and I believe that it will get more popular in the upcoming days."

The World Bank report says the country's achievements in e-government and innovation capabilities are more modest as it has the second-weakest business environment in South Asia.

It also mentions that the legal framework for data rights in Bangladesh is not strong.

Global big tech giants, such as Google, Microsoft and Tencent often invest in local technology start-ups, facilitating foreign direct research and development investments as well as technology and talent flows.

Currently, 70% of big global investments in the technology sector in 15 categories of digital health are made by the three tech companies, the report says.

The companies' investments also flowed to South Asia. For instance, at least 25% of Google's 57 digital health portfolio companies are actively working in India, and 33% have expanded into other parts of the region.

"Bangladesh is clearly the next destination", the report says.

Along with the country's strong track record in e-health policies and practices, Bangladesh also has local partners of tech giants like Amazon, Apple, IBM, GE, Cisco, Samsung, and Alibaba to conduct medical AI research, support clinical decisions, and expand telemedicine or directly serve customers.

Bangladesh's human capital challenges

In terms of research and development expenditures, Bangladesh accounts for only 0.2% of the total global expenditure while China does more than 23% and India 4%.

The World Bank states that there is no national social registry in Bangladesh which limits the ability to identify poor or vulnerable households and deliver cash quickly, however, the country is moving towards that direction.

Moreover, the gender gap remains a major concern in mobile phone ownership, which is the highest in India in South Asia, followed by Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Bangladesh could be the next Bangalore with IT outsourcing

 Tanveer Mohiuddin

 Published at 07:00 pm October 7th, 2021



Founders of Foxcatcher IT Solutions gives insight into the growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector of the country

IT outsourcing can be a great source of revenue for Bangladesh as the government is heavily investing in information technology. 

Bangalore, in the mid-nineties, began to realize this, and now the BPO industry employs 1.5 million people just in that city, contributing to 38% of the total Indian GDP according to data from 2014. 

The ICT sector in Bangladesh has been growing incrementally by 40% annually since 2010 and there are currently over 4500 registered software and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) companies in Bangladesh.

The domestic ITES industry in Bangladesh is currently valued at close to $1.1 billion. 

Neighbouring countries like India, China and other south and south-east Asian countries have been excelling in providing outsourcing services to foreign conglomerates, as cutting down expenses is one of the top-most priorities of any business establishment. 

Bangladesh being one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, has slowly developed the resources and infrastructure, combined with tech skilled labour to provide IT enabled services for overseas conglomerates. 

“This sector has the potential to bring in more remittance into the country,” said Ariq Hossain, one of the founders of Foxcatcher IT Solutions.

Founded in 2019, Foxcatcher IT Solutions is a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm that focuses on providing extensive offshoring services to overseas clients, from offshore real estate management, database management to mobile application development (Android, iOS, Appcelerator Titanium Platform).

The startup provides back-end technological support to overseas financial institutions and real estate companies. 

Foxcatcher IT Solutions is currently working with various international clients such as Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae among others. 

The real estate industry in the United States of America is one of the largest in the world and the banking sector deals with thousands of foreclosed properties each year.

With the help of various real estate implicated software, they are providing customer care based services, database management to the foreign banks, web development and traffic management as well as, backend call centre services. 


The ICT division of Bangladesh is already promoting small tech startups and providing them with funding. 

With the help of Basis (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services), the government took the initiative to promote and fund their members in order to establish the rapidly developing market in the ITES industry. 

“One of the biggest barriers we face is the time difference,” said  Moon Kowsive Rifat, co-founder of the company. 

“In most cases, offshore clients are in different time zones, so business hours of the largest outsourcing firm in the country have to work night shifts to maintain the real-time business,” he added.  

Because of this, younger people tend to see this sector as a temporary career choice rather than a one with tremendous opportunities to grow.   

It is often seen that there is a lack of gender diversity in the sector, in regard to that they said, one of the main reasons is that women are often not encouraged to work outside at late hours. 

According to Ariq, the government can provide a solution to these drawbacks by promoting ITES firms in different private and public universities to create awareness among the young, so they can get the confidence to choose their careers in this sector. 

“Fortune favours the bold,” as the old adage says, is the driving force behind this company’s ideology. They wanted to break the stereotype that only the students with a good GPA land highly paid jobs. 

“All of our partners gained experience in multiple MNCs before forming the firm but everyone around us had been the victim of the stereotype,” said Ariq. 

“One of our founders was a student in China’s Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications and another was a graduate student from Sunway University Malaysia and a result of a mutual acquaintance, we got together and brainstormed ideas regarding the outsourcing sector which they have witnessed in China and Malaysia,” he added while explaining why they had chosen this sector to start a business in. 


Unemployment among the youth is one of the biggest challenges, creating more job opportunities and catering to offshore clients can be a great solution to fight unemployment along with creating a global image for Bangladesh in the outsourcing market. 

In the past decade, there has been a growth in the ITES/ BPO sector due to the ICT division’s various initiatives which encouraged the youth to come forward and explore the mass opportunities that lie in outsourcing. 

It has also boosted the freelancing sectors creating part-time income sources for students, something which the country lacks.  

Currently, there are more than 24 employees working full-time in the startup. 

Top players in the sector like-- Tasketeers, Genesis and others have flourished. 

“Competition isn’t too harsh, as the majority of the market is still untapped,” the founders said. 

“The ultimate goal should be to provide a standard customer service experience to the offshore conglomerates which in the future might lead us to more remittance.” 

When asked what their plans are for the future, Ariq said: “Our primary purpose as an organization is to deliver high-quality ITES services by ensuring more accuracy, punctuality and confidentiality. We want to employ more people who will go the extra mile for clients. We want to further establish a culture of growth, profitability and enthusiasm throughout the company.”

They also said that they plan to expand their operations locally as well, which could help cut operational costs for their clients.

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