CHATTOGRAM: The first-ever business incubator set up at a university is going to be opened at Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the ‘CUET Sheikh Kamal IT Business Incubator’ virtually through a function.
Her Information and Communication Technology Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will be connected with the programme while State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak will deliver the welcome speech.
The programme will be held simultaneously virtually from the Ganabhaban, ICT Ministry and CUET ends, said CUET sources.
Lawmaker ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury, CUET Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohammad Rafiqul Alam and other government officials and beneficiaries will attend the programme.
CUET has set up the incubator to develop successful entrepreneurs in the country's IT sector, encourage research and innovation at the university level and enriching the industry-academia collaboration further.
The project also aims to help achieve the expected income from the IT sector through expanding Bangladesh's global reach in this sector.
Under the ‘Sheikh Kamal IT Business Incubator’ project, a 10-storey incubation building of 50,000 sq ft and a 6-storey multipurpose training building of 36,000 sq ft have been constructed on around five acres of land on the CUET campus.
The incubation building houses startup zone, idea-innovation Zone, industry-academic zone, brainstorming zone, e-library, data center, research lab, Bangabandhu Corner, exhibition center, video conferencing room and meeting room.
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab, a machine learning lab, a big data lab, an optical fiber backbone, a sub-station and solar panel have also been set up to facilitate the work of entrepreneurs and researchers. In addition, separate corners for banks and IT firms, state-of-the-art cyber cafe, food court, cafeteria, recreation zone, maker space, display zone, media zone and parking facilities are also developed.
On the other hand, the multipurpose training building houses a well-equipped auditorium having an accommodation capacity of 250 people and eight separate computer lab cum seminar rooms each having accommodation for 30 people.
Besides, two separate four-storey dormitory buildings of 20,000 sq ft for female and male persons have also been constructed. Each of the dormitories has 40 rooms.
Moreover, a state-of-the-art research lab with two mini supercomputers is going to be set up soon.
Contacted, CUET Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Mohammad Rafiqul Alam said the purpose of establishing a university-based IT Business Incubator is to provide an effective platform for research, innovation and entrepreneurship within academic institution.
The initiative will surely bring multiple benefits for the students, teachers, researchers, business firms and others concerned, he said.
“We have already started some incubation activities including training and research at the incubator. The activities will be increasing in the coming days,” said the VC.
“The students will generate ideas, research them and develop programme there. Then, they will provide the innovation to the related businesspeople and became entrepreneur through it,” he observed.
“Some renowned companies have taken rent of floors there while many others expressed interest for research. Students of the university will be engaged with the activities,” he said adding that the young generation will work there for materialising their ideas.
The VC Professor Rafiqul also hoped that the incubator will play an important role in building a "smart Bangladesh" by 2041 through creating graduates in the IT sector to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.