• Monday, Oct 21, 2019
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‘Banai’ to the next round in Hult Prize

  • Published at 01:53 pm June 23rd, 2019
Banai team
PHOTOS: COURTESY

Four Bangladeshi students move forward to the accelerator program of HULT

Everyone wants to avail the opportunity of learning while also earning some cash at the same time. This is quite a cardinal thing, which mostly students seek to pursue. While they pour most of their money on education, they also want to know if they are on the right track with the career they aspire to build for themselves in the future. With the right kind of practical career guidelines, earning opportunities and courses for the youth, ‘Banai’ - a team formed for the business competition, Hult Prize - pitched their idea. From over 1,20,000 applications, the team of four Bangladeshi students from Universiti Putra Malaysia got selected at the regional card, and with a wild card entry, enrolled into the Hult Prize 2019 Accelerator Program in Ashridge Castle, London, UK.  

The Hult Prize foundation fosters the development in education and entrepreneurship, while empowering the youth around the world. The social change is brought up with the idea pitching competition. The winning team of the start-up business competition would set off to start their business with rigorous training on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, business strategy, guidelines and with a generous fund of USD 1,000,000.

This year, with the competition’s challenge of creating a startup that provides meaningful work for 10,000 youths within the next decade, ‘Banai’ (formerly called ‘Maker Hub’ on the On-Campus round), focused on quality and skilled based education. Making it to the regional level, the competition got intense amongst the forty teams from forty different nations. Since the teams had to address not just the regional, but the global issues as a whole for the business idea to generate, the team ‘Maker Hub’ finalized the name ‘Banai’. They wanted to tackle the global issues while representing Bangladesh, along with their university.  A hopeful team comprising of Tahzinul Islam, Akif Islam, Prokriti Wazed Sikder and Tahiya Islam, with zero background in business, came forward as one with the persistence of creating youth employment opportunities and developing the textbook education system in Bangladesh. 

It was unfortunate that ‘Banai’ didn’t get the chance to directly enter the accelerator program. However, when the world wild card application was released online, ‘Banai’ was sure not to let the opportunity slide, and let their efforts go in vain. With the chance to present their idea in two minutes, ‘Banai’ finally stepped onto the next round.

In Bangladesh, job opportunities prevail only for graduates. In the midst of choosing a career for a better source of income, most of the youth remain dubious on what course could be suitable for them. Foreign countries, like Malaysia and Canada, provide employment to youngsters while they are students. Applying the same kind of system for Bangladesh, ‘Banai’ introduced the freelancing maker hub system. ‘Banai’ focuses on high school and university level students. The team offers three categories of courses: multimedia, textile, and engineering. When a student applies for the course, they can consult with the counsellor of ‘Banai’ about the kind of courses they are interested in. After developing the skills from the course, the students will be given the opportunity to work freelance through the multiple job offers provided to them by ‘Banai’. Students can also partake in ‘Banai’ as instructors, once they have developed their skills from these courses. For the implementation of their start-up, ‘Banai’ has already started the whole program with their own logo and website, and has been training students with the courses as the pilot study for the accelerator program. 

The program is a five-week long summer boot camp, starting from June 27. The Hult Accelerator summer program will provide rigorous training to the young minds while the teams prepare themselves to make their start-up a sustainable one. Teams excelling in the program will be invited to the 10th Annual Hult Prize Awards & Gala, where the judging panel will decide the winning team and will be awarded by former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.