Mastering The Art Of Pitching

Pitching-a single action that can determine the future of an entrepreneur’s lifelong work. Mastering the art of pitching is the key to making your dream business idea come to life.

In a startup, pitching follows the Pareto’s Principle-80% of results come from 20% of efforts . A founder gets only a few minutes to present his/her ideas to investors. But the results can lead to a make or break situation. You get the funding and guidance needed to succeed or you don’t get anything at all.

Thus, pitching for your social business startup is extremely important. In this article, we will share 10 steps to master the art of pitching and get your startup to the place you want it to be.

  • Start with a story

We all are familiar with the saying, “First impression lasts forever.” Thus, the first few seconds are important for you, as the entrepreneur, to impress your potential investors. And what better way than telling a story? Research shows the brains of both the speaker and the audience (your investors in this case) sync up when the speaker tells a story.

But more importantly, telling a story will show to your audience about your passion and determination towards your project. It shows what the product or service you are building means to you and your team.

Creating a story for a social business is easier than other types of businesses. This is because social businesses are created out of an idea to change society for good. And this idea often comes from an experience a founder encounters. So create the human touch with your investors first by starting with a story.

Back in 2009, Professor Yunus started his commencement speech at Wharton School of Business in the following way:

When I finished school, got my PhD, I had no idea whether my life would someday be of any use to anyone else’s. But in the mid-seventies, I was back in newborn Bangladesh, and out of frustration with the terrible economic situation in Bangladesh I decided to see if I could make myself useful to one poor person a day in the village next door to the university campus where I was teaching.

When I went into the villages, I could not miss seeing the ruthlessness of moneylenders in the village. First I lent the money to replace the loan sharks.  Then I went to the local bank to request them to lend money to the poor. They refused. After months of deadlock I persuaded them by offering myself as a guarantor.  This is how microcredit was born in 1976.

See how Professor Yunus started with a story? You too can start with a story about how you came up with the business idea.

  • Create a one sentence soundbite

In news, you might see how tweets by celebrities, sportsmen, politicians or even CEOs can create a storm. This is because, the short phrases written by those people seem to be remembered by all and influence them as well.

Investors are like twitter users. They will encounter a lot of pitching by other companies as well on the same day you pitch. So probably they will forget about most of the companies.

As a social entrepreneur, you will be more worried as investors also would not like the idea of giving away the profits. Here, your business comes to the rescue. But what you think is a radical idea may not be the same for your investors. Have a sound bite that explains your business in one sentence to the investors.

For example: Shishir Water goes by the line, “MAKING WATER PART OF OUR LIFE”. This simple but effective soundbite helps investors to remember the purpose and motive of Shishir Water’s social business.

  • Create short and simple slides

Have you ever seen Steve Jobs giving presentations? In case you have not, I suggest you do. Though there might be a presentation file displayed on the back, everyone focused on what he had to say.

One of the mistakes, anyone of us giving presentations commit is to concentrate on slides more than the speech. A slide is important, no doubt. But it is not the most important thing.

However, you might need to use slides to complement what you say. You don’t need to be a doctorate in designing but a simple template will do the trick. Avoid making slides wordy and avoid making a lot of slides. Here you can follow a rule known as 10/20/30.

The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint is simple: A pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Why it works? First of all, humans can’t comprehend more than 10 concepts at a time. Second, after twenty minutes of an uninterrupted session, human attention decreases largely. And finally, font less than thirty points can make the slides unreadable for audience at the back

  • Visualize your numbers

How many of us have liked math classes when we were at school? Very few. That is because we take numbers as abstract signs bearing few context.

Investors are no different. So when you have to show finances or statistics, show them in a way that even a child can understand. Remember, Steve Jobs bringing out a Macbook from an envelope? He could have easily said the Macbook is 5cm thick. But instead, he showed to the audience how thin 5cm really is. By this way, everyone could understand the slickness of the Macbook.

Similarly, in your pitch visualize your finance and statistics. Use bars and charts to show numbers. In this way, investors can grasp an idea about the feasibility of your business.

  • Go through the seven points

You might have a lot of things to say about your social business or nothing at all. So how can you go through all about your business in a short amount of time? Follow these seven points and it will cover almost everything about your startup.

  • The Problem: What problem of society do you wish to eradicate through your business? Why is it a problem? The problem Shishir Water wants to solve is the lack of pure drinking water in Bangladesh.
  • The Solution: What does your business do to solve the problem? For example: Shishir Water decided to solve the water crisis problem in rural Bangladesh through “Clean drinking water in a jar for consumption at affordable price, produced in a energy efficient way.”
  • The Method: How does your business solve the problem? Here, show the process by which your product/service will solve the problem. Shishir Water uses UV LED lighting to purify surface water. It sets up community based plants through franchisees and delivers the jars to disadvantaged communities.
  • The Model: What is your business model? What is your production target? How are you managing the finances? The business model will help investors understand whether you have a feasible plan for your business. Shishir Water’s business model consisted of its production target (6000 litres per month), monthly revenue and franchisee fee.
  • The Competition: Who are your existing competitors? If there aren’t any in your particular field, choose from a related industry. During pitching, show how your business serves customers better than the competitors. Shishir Water’s main competitors are subsidised water production systems and existing bottled water companies. What sets Shishir Water apart is that it supplies clean water using advanced energy efficient technology with a smart monitoring system.
  • The Strategy: How are you going to reach your target customer? This is mainly about the marketing of your product/service. Shishir Water reaches vulnerable communities through raising awareness among people and through direct sales.
  • The Team: Who’s your team? Co-founders? Here, you can talk about your team and their experiences.
  • The Progress: How far have you progressed? Have you reached milestones? Here, you can show the number of customers reached and how people have benefitted from your business. Shishir Water has reached more than 2 thousand people and has created jobs for 8 people.

This by no means is a comprehensive list on how to master the art of pitching. However, differentiating yourself from a bunch of companies saying the same thing can really help make the difference. So next time you pitch for your company, please do follow these steps. And if it works (or it worked before), do mention it in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Next Venture Corp (P1), Social Business Youth Alliance/ Prito Reza Productions (P2), Shishir Water (P3).

Writer: Farhan Uddin

Meet Latest Batch of Startups at YY Goshti

After a rigorous national search, team YY Goshti has welcomed eight emerging social businesses in its six month long incubation program. These startups are solving critical social issues in the field of agriculture, craftsmanship, youth employment, waste management and urban safety. Here is the complete list-

 

YOUNIFI: YOUNIFI is a platform for connecting youth and positive impact organizations to develop skills. It helps young individuals to develop their skills through voluntary activities which will help them to apply these in their professional lives.

Roomerio.com: roomerio.com helps users find and connect with their potential roommates. It provides a platform for people to rent out their rooms or to rent one as per their needs. The revenue model is subscription based.

Travel Bangladesh: Travel Bangladesh is a travel information portal and service provider. It is a platform that provides information about each and every place of Bangladesh and generates revenue through tours, advertisements and other services.

 

Self Protect: Self Protect App is an application designed to support users to connect and provide safety. It allows the user to contact with the concerned authorities in case of any crime. Revenue is generated through advertisements and service subscription fees.

GARBAGEMAN: Garbageman is a platform that aims to convert waste into resources. It collect waste and processes them into compost fertilizers that are sold to customers. Revenue comes through selling compost and fees.

Jute Monarchy: Jute Monarchy makes Innovative and diversified jute products. The aim is to create employment opportunities for unskilled and less skilled persons. It promotes Bangladeshi art and craft in its signature products produced for mostly foreigners.

Nagarkrishi: Nagarik Krishi’ provides eco-friendly gardening solution by utilizing a website/ app platform. Urban centers are polluted and citizens are staying away from farming activities. To improve this situation, it makes people conscious about gardening, planting tree, and green revolution by providing online and offline training.

Shoyong: Shoyong aims to bring variations on spinning and weaving by automation and changing on twist, color combination and fabric design. It provide export quality tribal fabrics with unique designs by empowering disadvantaged Bangladeshis living in Chittagong hill tracks.

We are bringing in our tried and tested Entrepreneurship Development Protocol that has supported 30+ social entrepreneurs in Bangladesh since 2016 to help these startups grow with support from EMK Center, PUM Netherlands and our generous mentors.

Writer: Kaniz Ahmed

What is Social Business? Learn from Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors. The company must cover all costs and make profit, at the same time achieve the social objective, such as, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, financial services for the poor, nutrition for malnourished children, providing safe drinking water, introducing renewable energy, etc. in a business way.

The impact of the business on people or environment, rather the amount of profit made in a given period measures the success of social business. Sustainability of the company indicates that it is running as a business. The objective of the company is to achieve social goal/s.

Clarifications on Social Business

I am not opposed to making profit. Even social businesses are allowed to make profit with the condition that profit stays with the company; the owners will not take profit beyond the amount equivalent to investment. Social business is a new category of business. It does not stipulate the end of the existing type of profit-making business. It widens the market by giving a new option to consumers. It does not intend to monopolise the market and take the existing option away. It adds to the competition. It brings a new dimension to the business world, and a new feeling of social awareness among the business community.
When we approach the concept of social business from the philanthropy side, it looks very convincing and logical. Why should everything in philanthropy be given away? If some of these goals can be achieved more efficiently and sustainably in a (social) business format, then why not take that route? After all our purpose is to achieve the social goal.

But when you approach it from the orthodox business side, it tends to look a bit out of tune. Why on earth give up profit? Why should anyone run a business without profit? I understand the surprise perfectly.
Let me clarify: I am not asking any businessperson to give up any of their businesses. Nor am I asking them to convert some of their businesses into social business. The idea of “giving up” something creates this shock wave. I am not asking anybody to “give up” anything. All I am saying, if you are worrying about a social problem (while totally engaged in your routine business) I have a message for you, you can make a significant contribution in resolving the problem. If you put your mind seriously into it, you may even open the door to eliminate the problem globally. You can do both: conventional business and social business.
It is all upto you to decide whether you want to do a such thing or not. Nobody will raise an accusing finger at you if you do no such thing. But you may feel happy if you do it. I am suggesting a way which may make you a happier person.

A Learning Process

It is a great learning process. You are doing things which you never did before. You are thinking in a way which you never did before. You are surprised to see you are enjoying it a lot. You start digging into your experiences to see what is relevant for the task. You check through the reservoir of technology that you are familiar with, start contacting the pool of experts that you have gotten to know in your business, to achieve your new goal. You start exploring a new world which was totally unknown to you. You realise that you are now wearing “social business glasses” on your eyes, you see things which you never saw before. You start sensing that your eyes were fitted with “profit-maximizing glasses” all along, while you thought these were your natural eyes in your economic world.

Now when you turn your eyes to your own profit-making businesses you start noticing things which you never noticed before. You bring new-gained experiences from your new business to your old businesses. Slowly you move towards becoming an multi-dimensional person, rather than a robot-like person.
Some people ask me why can’t you run businesses with some profit and some social benefit “doing well by doing good”, as it is popularly described.


Of course, it can be done. I am never against it. But I am trying go to the ultimate point where you don’t make any profit for yourself at all. This is easy to identify, easy to handle in day to day decision making.
When you mix profit and social benefit it gets complicated for the CEO. His thinking process gets clouded. He does not see clearly. More often this CEO will take decision in favour of profit, and exaggerate the social benefit. Owners will go along with it. Social business gives a clear unambiguous mandate to the management. There is no balancing act involved. If you can agree to take a “small” profit, you can also persuade yourself to take zero profit. Once you get there you get rid of all old ways of thinking. You prepare yourself to explore a new world, a new way of seeing things, and doing things in a different way. When you were in the world of a “small profit” you were still operating in the old world, with old ways of doing things, only restraining yourself here and there.

Another way to put the same question is: Why can’t you allow thee investors in social business to get a small fixed profit say, 1% dividend. My answer is the same. I may describe this situation by saying something like this: you are in a “no smoking” building, you are arguing “Why can’t I be allowed to take just one small puff ?” Answer is simple it destroys the attitude. In Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink until the after the sunset. Why not take a sip of water during the day? It destroys the strength of the mental commitment. You lose a lot for a small favour.

Social business is about making complete sacrifice of financial reward from business. It is about total delinking from the old framework of business. It is not about accommodation of new objectives within the existing framework. Unless this total delinking from personal financial gain can be established you’ll never discover the power of real social business. Some times you can set up a technically correct social business with the purpose of making profit through your other companies by selling products or services to this social business company. This will be a clear sabotage of the concept. There may be many other subtle ways by which one can weaken the concept and practice of social business. A genuine social business investor must make all efforts so that he does not walk into this trap unwittingly.

Capitalism has created poverty by focusing exclusively on profit. It built a fairy-tale of prosperity for all. This never happened. That’s why Europe decided to entrust the government to take care of poverty, unemployment and health. They were smart enough to figure out the emptiness of capitalism in solving these problems.

Author’s Summary on Creating a World Without Poverty

While free market capitalism is thriving globally, almost unopposed now, and bringing unprecedented prosperity to many, half of the world lives on two dollars a day or much less. Eradication of poverty remains the biggest challenge before the world. Colossal social problems and deprivations, mostly poverty-related and very unevenly distributed around the globe, continue to shame us everyday. Obviously the free market has failed much of the world. Many people assume that if free markets can’t solve social problems, then governments can. After all, the government is supposed to represent the interests of society as a whole. But decades and even centuries of experience has shown that while government must do its part to help alleviate our worst problems, it alone can not solve them.

Fortunately for us there is a keen desire among many to lend a hand through charity, for addressing the problems of poverty and other social problems. Charity is rooted in basic human concern for other humans. These days concern is usually expressed in the shape of non-profits and NGOs which may take various names and forms. Then there are aid organizations sponsored by rich governments’ bilateral and multilateral. Nonprofits and aid organizations are trying to keep the problems within some control. But charity is a form of trickle-down economics; if the trickle stops, so does help for the needy. On the other hand multilaterals like World Bank focus only on growth as the means of helping the poor, but can not see that the poor people can be actors themselves. There are serious questions about the type of growth that can help the poor. As another response to the global social problems some businesses are identifying themselves with the movement for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and are trying to do good to the people while conducting their business. But profit-making still remains their main goal, by definition. Though they like to talk about triple bottom lines of financial, social, and environmental benefits, ultimately only one bottom line calls the shot: financial profit.

I always believed that poverty can be totally conquered in our own lifetimes if the right approach is adopted. I based my belief on the inherent ability of the poor that can be unleashed once they are given the opportunity to help themselves. This I have proved in action through my three decades of experience with Grameen Bank. The concept of microcredit did not exist before I initiated Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which basically recognized that credit without collateral is a fundamental right of the poor. Our success with this in my own country has been widely replicated all over the world including in some of the richest countries; and the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 for Grameen Bank and myself is one recognition of that success. The story of Grameen Bank has been told in my earlier book: “Banker to the Poor”. In this new book I have described the further evolution of Grameen System. But more importantly I have introduced and elaborated here my broadened concept of social business, that the Grameen experience has led me into.
Grameen allowed the poor to be an actor in the free market and to enjoy some of its fruits to try to come out of poverty. It is fundamentally a business model, pure and simple, but a social business. There can be other social businesses. They are just like any other business; but for social objectives and not for personal gain or dividend. I have tried to show in the book why social business can succeed in addressing social problems where other means mentioned above have failed. social business should not be confused with the term social enterprise which is used in a more encompassing sense and includes NGOs, personal initiatives, charities, etc., and may include social business too.

Social business introduces a totally revolutionary dimension to the free market economy. It does not interfere with the mechanism through which the normal Profit Making Business (PMB) works and prospers capitalization, expert business management, competitiveness etc., but investors here do not receive any dividend, though they can recover their investment if they want to, to reinvest in other social businesses or PMBs. The satisfaction gained in achieving the stated social goals are the only motive behind the investment, and the business will be evaluated according to that standard. Essentially it is a non-loss, non-dividend business aimed at social objectives education, health, environment, whatever is needed to address the problems faced by society. The profits here remain with the business and help it to grow further. The whole thing is based on the premise that entrepreneurs need not be motivated only by the profits they personally receive, but can also be motivated by social goals and may enjoy success there with equal satisfaction. The important thing is not to mix up a Social Business with a PMB. In fact the inclusion of Social businesses alongside PMBs in the business world will give the free market capitalism a larger, nobler and a more fulfilling purpose. Its advantages over straightforward charity are many efficiencies, continuous use with each turnover, competition with PMBs following the same rules, utilization of business innovations being some of the most important ones.

There can be two types of social business. Type One focuses on businesses dealing with social objectives only, as has just been mentioned. Type Two can take up any profitable business so long as it is owned by the poor and the disadvantaged, who can gain through receiving direct dividends or by some indirect benefits. There are various ways how the ownership can go to the poor. The two types can be mixed together in the same social business as has happened in the case of Grameen Bank. In a similar mixture of the two types, a socially beneficial rural toll road or bridge can be built by a company as a social business whose ownership will belong to the poor. On the other hand a huge project such as the Deep-Sea Mega Port in Bangladesh, which I have been advocating for, which will be used by several countries in the whole region and can potentially change the economic face of Bangladesh, can be built as a social business owned by the poor women of the country.

Is this an utopia? Will there be social businesses outside the realm of microcredit? Who will invest in such social businesses? I could answer these questions confidently in my new book, not only because I have faith in my idea and on the ability of the entrepreneurs to have social motives as well as profit making motives; but also because I am seeing this actually to happen at this very moment. I have devoted a good part of the book on the details of the first such social business we have started Grameen Danone Company which went into operation in early 2007. The idea of the company was born over just a casual lunch I had with Franck Riboud, the Chairman and CEO of Groupe Danone, a large French corporation a world leader in diary products. It took just that time for me to convince him that an investment in a social business is a worthwhile thing for Danone shareholders. Even though it will not give any personal dividend to them, he agreed to the proposition even before I fully explained it to him. It took somewhat more time to fix up the modalities, the product (a fortified sweet yogurt for the poor malnourished children of Bangladesh at a price they can afford), the financing, tax and regulatory issues, new yard sticks for evaluating business and many other such details. And I have devoted many pages of the book on these details to show how all these things can be taken care of. The yogurt “Shokti Doi” (Energy Yogurt) is already in the market.
The Grameen System has invested in a second social business this time an Eye Hospital where the poor can have eye treatment and cataract operations at a very low cost and all others in the small town and the villages around will have an excellent medical facility where there was not any like that before.

Social business is a new concept and its practice is just beginning. As my book reveals, it has to make a lot more exploration while gaining more experience. There are challenges to be faced and solutions to be developed. For example, we had to invent a totally innovative marketing system to keep the market fragmented so that the low cost “Shokti Doi” is reserved only for the poor children and does not disappear in the urban market for the well to do. I have also touched upon other issues such as how can the ownership of the Type Two social business be transferred to the poor, or how can the wonderful opportunities offered by IT be best deployed for social business.

One thing is very clear to me that with social business taking off, the world of free market capitalism will never be the same again, and it then will really be able to deliver a deathblow on global poverty. I am sure, many business wizards and successful business personalities will apply their abilities to this new challenge the challenge of creating a poverty-free world within a short time. At the moment we are seeing merely the line of horizon. Soon a good part of business genius, creativity and innovation of the world will devote itself to this new goal of social good. A whole new stock market with its new indices will thrive in the financial capitals of the world motivated by this new incentive. It will accelerate the process of poverty eradication to an unthinkable pace using the same market mechanism which accelerated the global prosperity for the rich in the first place.

Welcome to the new world of social business.

Muhammad Yunus
25 December 2007
Source: Yunus Centre

Disrupting Agriculture: Startup Driven Innovation In AgriTech

Farming is no longer a matter of sickle and plows anymore. It has been digitized with the aid of technology enabling farmers to track their crops and animals, sell their farm produce as well as monitor the yield of their crops. (Innovation Village, 2017) New concepts like smart & precision farming, crop efficiency, and vertical farming bring a breath of fresh air to this field, leading to what is called AgriTech or AgTech. Bangladesh is an agrarian economy with growing population, a threat of climate change, and globalized trade need to produce more food using fewer inputs. Bangladeshi agriculture should seek new products, practices, and technologies. Farmers want yield boosts and cost savings where consumers are demanding healthier, clean food and ingredients. Data-driven is causing the disruption to meet these needs.

Farmers can be among the most hidebound of managers, so it is no surprise that they are nervous about a new idea called prescriptive planting, which is set to disrupt their business. In essence, it is a system that tells them with great precision which seeds to plant and how to cultivate them in each patch of land. It could be the biggest change to agriculture in rich countries since genetically modified crops. And it is proving nearly as controversial since it raises profound questions about who owns the information on which the service is based.

It may be noted that AgTech is brewing conflicts that arise when data entrepreneurs meet old-fashioned businessfolk. Farmers have mixed feelings about the technology anyway: although it boosts yields, it reduces the role of discretion and skill in farming—their core competence. However, the bigger problem is that farmers distrust the companies peddling this new method. They fear that the stream of detailed data they are providing on their harvests might be misused. Their commercial secrets could be sold, or leak to rival farmers; the prescriptive-planting firms might even use the data to buy underperforming farms and run them in competition with the farmers; or the companies could use the highly sensitive data on harvests to trade on the commodity markets, to the detriment of farmers who sell into those markets. (The Economist)

Start with the vastly increased supply of information everywhere from the plant genome to water management, fertilization, climate, soil, machinery, and crop protection systems. On the production side, this is changing the value chain in big ag as access to big data is transferring power to the farmer and smaller companies, while the big companies consolidate and struggle to innovate. Disruption will take big ideas, new business models, and bold people. New generations of independent companies are harnessing big data to generate new insights, practices, and products. Traditional Ag companies and supply chains will have to adapt if they want to keep up.

This transparency has the ability to disrupt value chains and will likely be unpopular with some retailers, distributor dealers, and large seed and chemical producers. Information pushes power to the grower level by creating visibility of pricing and performance of brand-name inputs. Growers will be able to use fewer chemicals applied in very precise ways. Using generic inputs with precision may well give better results than using top brands across the field. More precise planting will likely lead to the reduction in the use of inputs by about 30 – 40% which, along with squeezing margins for the big ag inputs companies, could cause further consolidation in the supply chain.

The rate of adoption of new ag-technologies is increasing, despite low commodity prices and sustained low farm incomes. In 2016, AgriTech funding figures dipped to 2.7 billion Euro from 3.8 billion Euro in 2015 reflecting the overall pullback in global venture markets. (Agfunders News, 2016)

As the agricultural industry attracts more investors and big corporations in terms of opportunities it is changing at a rapid pace, leading to a massive transformation compared to how we know it today. Decreased cost, optimized output, and innovative machinery will support farmers in optimizing their operational profits. As the innovation areas we outlined in this breakdown are only a fraction the technologies that will impact the agriculture industry, we have no doubt that AgTech has not reached its peak yet. (Startus Insights, 2017)

The disrupting agriculture is in its early days, and most of the potential for value creation is still unclaimed. But it has set the industry on a path of rapid change and new discoveries; stakeholders that are committed to innovation will likely be the first to reap rewards. We are hoping the big winners in this revolution are the producers, the environment, subsistence and small farmers, and consumers. This is the best time for disruptive acceleration in agriculture innovation, one that can empower new players in the supply chain to participate, benefit and significantly enhance crop performance.

 

BGIC Winners from Khulna Cohort: Three Social Businesses to join YY Goshti Incubator

The Pitch Day of Blue Gold Innovation Challenge – Khulna cohort took place at Tiger Garden International Hotel on October 22, 2017 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. The event was hosted by Shah Waseef Azam, Program Manager of YY Goshti. It was followed by a welcome remark from Shazeeb M Khairul Islam, CEO of YY Goshti. Later the audience witnessed an hour of presentations from the 7 finalists. Each finalist got 5 minutes for presenting their business plan and 2 minutes for Q&A session. The event was attended by 55+ people. The audience included students, teachers, stakeholders, innovators, entrepreneurs, NGOs and local people. The Jury panel had Mr. Amirul Hossain, Project Coordinating Director (PCD), BWDB, Mr. S.M. Ferdous, District Seed Certification Officer, DAE and Mr. Alamgir Chowdhury, Deputy Team Leader, TA team. The Blue Gold team was also present there to ask questions to the finalists and give them their valuable insights and feedbacks. The event came to an end with concluding remarks from Mr. Amirul Hossain, Project Coordinating Director (PCD), BWDB. He talked about the immense possibilities of entrepreneurs working in polder areas and how they can improve the lives of people giving them employment opportunities. The winners were then announced and they got certificates from the BGP team and the YY Goshti team. The winners are following:

ALOE FARM – With a motto of “everyone deserves to drink organic”, the entrepreneur Rajoana Jannat will produce organic aloe vera juice for the people of khulna region. This product will have social impacts by providing organic nutritious drinks to health conscious people and empowering rural women of khulna polder area economically by letting them produce aloe vera and the juice.

REGEN – Fahim Uddin Shuvo produces best quality vermi compost by collecting and recycling food waste concentrating on commercial kitchens aiming to contribute towards a clean and better city and providing low lying land farmers better fertilizers.

SMART POULTRY FARM – Abdullah Al Musabbir wants to start a poultry consultant and service providing company, Tech-Gen, which will launch smart poultry farm service providing bio-gas based electricity production plant, fertilizer production system, automatic temperature and humidity controlling system to the poultry farmers at the cheapest cost.

However this not the end,  in fact this is the starting of a new and much more exciting journey where their commitment and dedication towards their initiative can make a lot of differences. YY goshti will now assist them with office space, pro-bono services, mentorship, business development process, creative and web development services, strategic consultancy and partnership

BGIC got Finalists for its 2nd Cohort in Khulna

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge has got its top ten finalists from Khulna region that will compete for the Blue Gold Innovation Fund to launch their social businesses in the coming week. They will attend the Innovation Camp and Pitch Camp in Khulna and present their business ideas in front of the judges on the Pitch Day.

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge (BGIC) is a social business incubation program organized by YY Goshti in collaboration with Blue Gold Program (BGP). The BGIC promotes innovative social entrepreneurship and challenges young people of coastal Bangladesh to design sustainable business solutions.

List of Selected Finalists:

  1. Rajoana Jannat
  2. Nirodh Paul
  3. Abdullah Al Noman
  4. Shourov Barua
  5. Mortoza Morshed
  6. Khairul Alam
  7. Fahim Uddin
  8. Ananda Kumar Biswas
  9. Tasnimul Rifat
  10. Abdullah Al Musabbir

The finalists have been chosen based on their credibility, innovation in business, scalability and feasibility. Finalists will be attending the ‘Innovation Camp’ from October 16-19, 2017 to be held in Khulna. This will help them learn the ins and outs of social business development. The participants will get the opportunity to work with facilitators where they will receive at least 30-35 class hours. The entrepreneurs will also receive 10-12 hours of pitch coaching on October 21-22, 2017. The outcome of this Camp will be a pitch deck ready to be presented in front of investors for each finalist. The sessions will culminate in live Pitch Day in Khulna on October 22, 2017 where the participants will make a final presentation of their ideas in front of a panel of judges and an audience of relevant stakeholders. The winners will get the chance to incubate their businesses and build them into prototypes ready for scaling up. They will be able to access small seed capital to prototype their product/services. YY Goshti will work with them in one-on-one advisory sessions to help them along their prototype building phase.

YY Goshti and Blue Gold Program are excitedly looking forward to working with these aspiring idea stage social businesses.

BGIC is now active in Khulna

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge is now open for innovators, students, startups and organizations from Khulna region who would like to launch social businesses addressing water supply management, agriculture and sustainable development of south west region of Bangladesh.  Participants from other districts are also allowed to apply, but they must attend sessions in Khulna and execute their plans in Khulna districts as well.

 

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge (BGIC) is a social business incubation program organized by YY Goshti in collaboration with Blue Gold Program (BGP). The BGIC promotes innovative social entrepreneurship and challenges young people of coastal Bangladesh to design sustainable business solutions.

 

Entrepreneurs should be aged 18-35 and preferably from/connected to the Khulna region. It is not necessary for the entrepreneurs to already have a well-thought out business plan, just an idea that intersects with the target industries set by the organizers.

 

An online portal is open to receive the submissions both in Bengali and English. You can apply through the following link:

http://bgic.yygoshti.com/apply-now/

 

Emphasis will be given to areas of interest defined by Blue Gold Program i.e. agricultural innovation, water supply management etc. The businesses ideas will be screened to select the most promising ones. The ideas to be shortlisted for online submission round will be determined based on the uniqueness of the Idea, possible innovation, social impact, product or service focused on agriculture and/or water supply management. Winners will be attending an ‘Innovation Camp’ (to be held in Khulna) that will help them learn the ins and outs of social business development. The participants will get the opportunity to work with facilitators for a period of two weeks where they will receive at least 42-48 hours of class hours. The entrepreneurs will also receive 8 hours of pitch coaching. The outcome of this Camp will be a pitch deck ready to be presented in front of investors for each participant. The sessions will culminate in live Pitch Day in Khulna where the participants will make a final presentation of their ideas in front of a panel of judges and an audience of relevant stakeholders. The winners will ‘Incubate’ their businesses, i.e. build them into prototypes ready for scaling up. The winners will be paired with a mentor, with whom they will have one-on-one advisory sessions to help them along their prototype building phase. They will be able to access small seed capital to prototype their product/services. The outcome of the program is to research and understand the content better, and finally, build an active business service that they can continue working on after the BGIC ends.

 

The aspiring entrepreneurs will get to work closely with a mentor who is well-versed in working in the industry and with existing experience as an entrepreneur.  They will also have access to seed capital to use to build a working business. They will also face strategic consultation meetings with YY Goshti every two weeks so their progress can be closely monitored.

Inspire: Knowledge Sessions held in PSTU, Patuakhali

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge (BGIC) launched its second on-location activity “Inspire: Knowledge Sessions 2” at PSTU Information Dissemination Centre (PIDC), Patuakhali Science Technology University (PSTU) in Dumki, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bangladesh on January 1, 2017 from 3.30 pm. It was attended by students from PSTU, specifically from the Department of Agronomy. Both undergraduate and post graduate students were present.

The session began with an introductory speech by Dr. A. S. M. Iqbal Hussain, Professor of the Department of Agronomy. He spoke on the topic: “Scope of Innovation to promote Agricultural Development in Bangladesh”. This was followed by a short informative session by Ms. Namista Tabassum, Director of YY Goshti. She welcomed all the participants, and explained what BGIC was all about. After that, Mr. Shazeeb M. Khairul Islam, Founder of YY Goshti, started his session on Social Business 101 and the use of the social business model to create innovative business solutions accelerating agricultural, water resource management and sustainable development. The session ended with a short question and answer session, where the audience voiced various questions about how they can benefit from BGIC, and what they need to qualify as an applicant. The day ended with a very interesting session by Mr. Ekhtiar Uddin, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agronomy, PSTU.  He presented short case studies on innovations that are possible for supply chain development within the agriculture and water resource management sector. The students in the audience also participated and brainstormed creative solutions for value chain development.

After the session ended, many students came forward and were personally coached on how to apply for the BGIC program.

 

YY Goshti is now active in Patuakhali !

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge (BGIC) launched its first on-location activity “Inspire: Knowledge Sessions” at Patuakhali, Barisal, Bangladesh on December 30. Multiple knowledge sessions were conducted by seasoned social business experts and academics in the city, local universities and colleges. These sessions were attended by students from Patuakhali, Young Professionals, Representatives from local NGOs & NPOs, and local media personnel.

These events were chances to inspire people from the local community to apply for the BGIC program. More than 200 people attended the sessions. A majority of them were students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. The events started with an introduction by Ms. Namista Tabassum, Director of YY Goshti and organizer of BGIC 2016. She welcomed everyone and expressed her anticipation in working with potential entrepreneurs for the next six months. Mr.Shazeeb M. Khairul Islam, Founder of YY Goshti, explained how anyone, with the will and passion, can become a successful entrepreneur. Multiple sessions were conducted during the events as-’Accelerating economic development in Patuakhali using the social business model’ by M F M Amir Khashru, General Manager of Yunus Centre, “Creating Employment Opportunities Through Entrepreneurship”, by Ms. Shahana Sharmin, Country Manager of One97 Communications Ltd and “How Young People Can Lead the Nation’s Development”, by Mr. Wahid Hossain, Founder, and CEO of Tiger Bow.

 

BGIC Launching Ceremony 2016

The Blue Gold Innovation Challenge (BGIC) launched its activities at a Ceremony this December 18, 2016 at 6.00pm. It was held at Moar, Banani 11, Dhaka Bangladesh. The Launching Ceremony was attended by representatives from NGOs, Entrepreneurial Funds and Entrepreneurs from all over Bangladesh.

The event was a chance for those in the development sector to come together and talk about some of the pressing issues in agriculture and water resource management that can be solved through innovative business solutions. Among chief guests was Ms. Lamiya Morshed, Executive Director of Yunus Centre, who shared her thoughts about social business and how the development sector can achieve social impact through more sustainable models. Mr. Boudewijn Sterk, Manager of Innovation Fund, Blue Gold Program and the partner of YY Goshti in this program, was also present. He expressed anticipation in working in the agricultural and water resource management sector, paving the way for collaboration in the development sector that has not been done before. He was excited to see what new things can be achieved through this endeavor. Finally, Shazeeb M. Khairul Islam, Founder of YY Goshti, shared that the YY Goshti team is looking forward to work with aspiring entrepreneurs while building some innovative businesses that can access funds from the Blue Gold Program, using their expertise in incubating next generation businesses.

 

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