Business Incubator nurses the start-ups from the idea development stages to mature level. Business Incubator can help the start-ups in surviving especially the vulnerable ones. It is always strength to the start-ups to work in a Business Incubator because they know that in case of any emergency, the start-ups will get some incredible support from the experts.
Considering the failure rate of becoming entrepreneurs, it is really important to come forward to establish business incubators to promote entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. Entrepreneurship is one of the vital sources to create employment opportunities for large number of unemployed people. The Business Incubators just have started to be spread, initially in the urban areas especially in Dhaka. Department of Information & Communication Technology, Government of Bangladesh is working enormously to promote entrepreneurship through supporting start-ups especially IT relevant ones under the vision 2021 of Awami League government to establish “Digital Bangladesh”. Some Business Incubators initiated by private organizations or Universities, are also working hard to promote entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.
The Business Incubation Centre (BIC) of BRAC University managed by Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) funded by World Bank under Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) of University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh, has been established in 2014. The students and alumni of BRAC University are having excellent opportunities of Business Incubation through BIC. Many aspiring entrepreneurs regularly visit it and many of them are under process to avail services along with the outstanding start-ups who are already receiving various services from the BIC. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, BRAC University is the chief patron of the Business Incubation Centre.
The Trustee Board of BRAC University has allocated BDT 50 Lakh as seed fund to be distributed to the start-ups who are working in BIC of BRAC University as a revolving fund. Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Vice-Chancellor of BRAC University is very much supportive to the BIC so that it can create an excellent impact not only on the students and alumni but also on the community to promote entrepreneurship.
A Business Incubator runs so many activities to nurse start-ups; some activities are regular while some other is required by the start-ups to support them.
The main objective of a business incubator is to create an environment where a start-up functions different activities as part of the journey to take a start-up from the creation to maturity level. The business incubator helps the start-ups to fly with incredible entrepreneurial dreams as it is always at the back end with very effective supports. A mature business incubator ensures extensive required services to the start-ups to make excellence. The main activities of a business incubator are providing office spaces, helping in sourcing fund, assisting in increasing clients and business promotions, helping in cost cutting, sourcing mentors and organizing expert meetings, arranging organizational visits, enriching knowledge through workshop and training, and so on. The operations of business incubators can be changed any time basis on the requirement of the incubatee. Because the need of different incubatee are dissimilar like a vulnerable start-up needs the support to survive while a promising one needs the support to increase market share or next stage funding opportunity.
The main purpose of any business incubator is to ensure required services to the incubatee. So the incubator management always should keep in mind that there is no limit of the activities of business incubators. One very important task of a business incubator is to monitor and evaluate the start-ups so that they can take necessary steps to assist the incubatee after diagnosing their problems. Besides this, some other regular activities like help in redesigning the business model if necessary, assist in making innovation or product differentiation, attending in meetings both internal and external, supervisory role of Incubation Manager etc can be done by a business incubator.
Rapido Deliveries is a very promising start-up which is working at the Business Incubation Centre of BRAC University. Shamdanee Tabriz, Managing Director of Rapido Deliveries said, “It is a wonderful time to live in, with our country perusing the dream of becoming the Digital Bangladesh and many young entrepreneurs coming up with brilliant ideas to solve the problems around us. However, we do still have some shortcomings in terms of the seed funding stage and the entrepreneurs do face the most basic problem of bringing their dream into reality. Rapido Deliveries, our tech-led logistics company, have received its first stage of seed funding from BRAC University in 2017 through BIC and a lot has changed then. We have been able to make complete use of our fund to capture more market share and the fund has allowed us to grow, expand our business and implement new strategies. Now we are delivering for e-commerce giants like Daraz Bangladesh and 560 other business every single day. Apart from the funding, the incubation facility has allowed us and many others to be exposed to the industry experts and take an informed decision.”
Ahmed Saquif Anough, Co-Founder- porashona.online, another incubatee of Business Incubation Centre of BRAC University said, “The greatest advantage from a managed workspace is the ability to concentrate on the product, and less on logistics- making teams more efficient when it comes to daily matters. What makes the BIC workspace really helpful for us is the ability to work right between classes. As a company formed by university students, it’s a major help that we aren’t travelling miles through Dhaka traffic to reach office- thus increasing attendance levels, helping individual output, and enabling a healthy work environment. ”
Still now, Business Incubators are at the initial stages in Bangladesh in providing services to the start-ups. So they are also going through many new experiences and learning. It will take little time to set a standard of incubation services make available in the business incubators. For this, all the relevant organization from government to private organizations, multinational organizations, NGOs, Banks, Universities should come forward to help the business incubators to develop their services significantly so that they can be able to provide quality incubation services to the start-ups. It will inspire aspiring young entrepreneurs to come up with new incredible business ideas and establish quality start-ups. Because they feel more secure working in Business Incubators than working alone. The government of Bangladesh can develop policies to create Business Incubator friendly environment for promoting entrepreneurship as the chief patron.
In the end, considering the importance of encouraging the aspiring young entrepreneurs, Business Incubator can play a significant role in promoting entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. It can give the entrepreneurs a bigger sky to fly beyond the limitations. Business Incubator is like a strong hand which in most cases can save the entrepreneurs from falling down in their entrepreneurial journey. If the start-ups start facing problems, they can work with the business incubators for better and effective solutions. These relationships between the start-ups and the Business Incubators can lessen the failure rate of becoming entrepreneurs.
The writer is a Programme Officer, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), BRAC University