The Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) Project under the ICT Division of Bangladesh has been working since 2016 to create a startup ecosystem in Bangladesh by encouraging new innovative ideas of startups. With the able guidance of the Honorable Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Honorable Adviser Mr. Sajeeb Wazed and the able leadership of the Hon’ble State Minister for ICT Division Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, the project has been undertaken in many initiatives. So far, 179 innovative startups have been nominated for BDT 10 Lakh grants each at the pre-seed stage through an expert selection committee of the iDEA project.
To provide equity funding to seed and growth level startups, ‘Startup Bangladesh Limited’ the country’s first fully state-owned venture capital company, was formed in March 2020 through the iDEA project. Through this company, startups have the opportunity to get investment in the seed stage up to a maximum of BDT 1 crore and in the growth stage up to a maximum of BDT 5 crore per round sharing a maximum of 49% equity. Startup Bangladesh Limited is being provided BDT 43 crore from the iDEA project for the development of seed and growth level entrepreneurs. In this context, for the equity investment of startups, the “iDEA Project” has provided BDT 7 crores, BDT 10 crore and BDT 6 crore in 3 steps ie a total of BDT 23 Crore. The project will provide the remaining BDT 20 crore to the company in the next 2021-22 financial year.
The Project Director & Joint Secretary of iDEA Project Md. Abdur Rakib, handed over a cheque of BDT 6 crore on the 14th June 2021 to Startup Bangladesh Ltd at the office of iDEA project of ICT Tower, Agargaon, Dhaka. Mr. ABM Monirul Islam, Company Secretary of Startup Bangladesh Ltd. received the cheque on behalf of Startup Bangladesh Limited.
Thus, the iDEA project of the ICT Division has been playing a significant role in forming a startup ecosystem in Bangladesh. Apart from financing the startups, the project is also carrying out various activities for their training, mentoring, and domestic and international networking.