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Dhaka Tribune

Citi, UNDP stand beside young Bangladeshi entrepreneurs

This year Amar Lab, Kotha, Liter of Light Bangladesh, Mechanic Koi and Releaf were awarded in the national dialogue event

Update : 05 Nov 2020, 09:13 PM

The Citi Foundation and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) co-created Youth Co:Lab as a platform for young entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific towards achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) through innovative business solutions.

The closing event of “Youth Co:Lab Bangladesh National Springboard Programme 3.0”, was organized virtually by UNDP and Citi Foundation in association with the ICT Division on Thursday, to share the ideas of youth accelerating the implementation of SDGs through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak Chairman of the Board of Directors at Startup Bangladesh Ltd NM Zeaul Alam, Resident Representative of UNDP Sudipto Mukherjee, Youth Co:Lab Bangladesh Govt Focal and Managing Director Startup Bangladesh Ltd Tina Jabeen and Citi Country Officer Bangladesh N Rajashekaran (Shekar) were present at the virtual ceremony.

This year Amar Lab, Kotha, Liter of Light Bangladesh, Mechanic Koi and Releaf were awarded in the national dialogue event.

These teams came up with solutions with significant social impact at the community level for attaining the SDGs.

AmarLab is a health-tech startup, providing end to end diagnostic test service in Bangladesh, Kotha is a feminist organization tackling the culture of gender based violence (GBV) through primary interventions, Liter of Light Bangladesh is a research oriented social enterprise working on renewable energy lighting solutions, Mechanic Koi is an online platform that provides 360-degree vehicle solutions and ReLeaf is an urban gardening oriented social business and platform.

“We have had an amazing journey with Youth Co:Lab. The learning was immensely important for us for that reason. AmarLab is so thankful for this remarkable event,” said Dr Shazzat Rahat Hossain, chief clinical officer, AmarLab.

“We are constantly impressed by the innovation of our young Bangladeshi entrepreneurs and their endeavors in addressing the SDG challenges. Through Youth Co:Lab, we are working closely with the startups in order to harness their spirit and inspire them to reach new heights every day. Citi Foundation is proud to join this movement and work on solving some of the most crucial social and economic challenges,” said Citi Country Officer for Bangladesh N Rajashekaran (Shekar).

“One cannot help but take note of the rapidly increasing numbers of youth led start-ups in Bangladesh, catalysed by Digital Bangladesh.  To my mind, this is a clear signal that a large part of both the Covid-19 response and recovery will be youth led and that if systematically supported with a more enabling ecosystem, will feed further into meeting the other development aspirations of Bangladesh such as LDC graduation and successful achievement of Agenda 2030,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative, UNDP Bangladesh. 

During the event, top five teams were awarded in the event for their innovations as startup ecosystems from the 13 social enterprises. These startups participated in a 3-day virtual bootcamp, which was conducted by the experts from UNDP.

For the third consecutive year, Youth Co:Lab is working continuously in order to further the agenda of development and tackling SDGs.

This year the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unforeseen rise of unemployment in Bangladesh and entrepreneurship is key to tackling unemployment.

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