Call for policy support to startups

Staff Correspondent

7 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Speakers at a webinar said the government should formulate a prudent policy for start-up and innovative new business.

 The entrepreneurs expressed their surprise over the absence of a provision related to the startup business.

Bangladesh Bank’s former governor Dr Atiur Rahman attended the discussion titled “National Budget 2021- Expectations for Startups” as the chief gues.

Preneur Lab Youth and Innovation Trust organized the event under the Business Boost Bangladesh (BBB) initiative on Sunday, said a press release.

The speakers also criticized the tax increase on e-commerce and mobile banking and said it would create negative impacts on the sector’s growth which became a fast growing sector in recent time.

Dr. Atiur Rahman said the pandemic posed new challenges for many sectors and at the same time created new opportunities for the innovative business like startups.      

 “A thousand number of startups have started on different social platforms like Facebook during the pandemic while majority of the initiatives were taken by women,” he said.

Citing a study of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, the eminent economist said the tax hike on mobile financial service was not foresighted at this moment when 31 percent of businesses were using mobile transactions.

According to a recent study, Bangladeshi startup companies have raised a total of $317 million in the last 10 years with 95 percent of the funds coming from the foreign investors.

Some 78 Bangladeshi companies have fetched investments through 146 funding deals of which 80 are disclosed so far till February 2021, research think tank Light Castle Partners data showed.

Prenuer Lab CEO Arif Nezami said the ultimate goal of the BBB initiative is to reform policies of getting business registration and document requirements to start a business and to give policy advocacy.

Startup Dhaka cofounder Fayez Taher said the companies need a one-stop solution where their VAT registration can be done in one single place. A central registration should be created. e-CAB joint secretary Nasima Akter Nisha said there was no option for e-commerce in the trade license process. “We have been asking this for the last few years now.” Old Bailey Chambers managing partner ABM Hamidul Misbah, iDEA project senior consultants Alaol Kabir and Adnan Md Dewan, BRAC programme manager Samanta Farahnaz, HandyMama CEO Shah Paran, Human Aid Foundation founder Shekh Moinul Khokon and Teach It co-founder Naimul Hossain joined the virtual session.