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Dhaka Tribune

‘Young generation should stop complaining and start solving problems’

Dipta Saha, co-founder and COO of Agroshift Technologies, shares his experiences and future planning following his inclusion in this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list with Dhaka Tribune's Ayon Roy

Update : 23 Jun 2023, 11:57 PM

Dipta Saha, co-founder and COO of Agroshift Technologies, an agricultural supply chain platform, has been named in this year's Forbes' 30 under 30 Asia list. Last year, the aggrotech company won H&M's STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge, which aims to improve the livelihoods of women in the garment sector. In October, it raised $1.8 million in a pre-seed round led by Shorooq Partners and Anchorless Bangladesh. The young entrepreneur sat down with Dhaka Tribune's Ayon Roy in this exclusive interview to share his thoughts, experiences and future planning.

Congratulations on your latest achievement. What influence will this recognition by Forbes have on you?

This recognition is like an acknowledgement of my entrepreneurial journey, as a global media platform like Forbes recognizes individuals for commendable achievements. It has opened doors to new opportunities, expanded my network, and provided a platform to share my ideas and experiences with a wider audience. 

What impact will it have on Agroshift's future growth?

For Agroshift as a company, this has significantly enhanced our visibility and credibility and is helping us attract attention from key stakeholders and potential customers. The inclusion in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list demonstrates that we are a credible and promising player in the market. This recognition will attract top talent, and facilitate partnerships with key stakeholders that will boost our future growth. 

Could you explain Agroshift's unique "phygital" business model for the agricultural supply chain?

“Phygital” is the integration of physical and digital elements that provide customers with a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience. We are building an O2O (online-to-offline) grocery retail marketplace, where users can browse products and place their orders online, and complete the transaction offline. We aggregate demand from factory workers through our digital platform and deliver within 12-18 hours. To cater to the massive demand pool coming from the factory workers, we have created a micro-logistics network and connected it with our network of farmers, traders and processors. Due to our highly optimized supply chain, we can keep wastage minimal and the end consumer pays way less than the retail market. 

Can you share some key milestones that contributed to your recent recognition on Forbes?

Over a decade ago, Forbes introduced this renowned list, which spotlights young people who are making a significant impact and shaping the world. The recognition came as a result of my work in Agroshift, a venture that my two co-founders and I established in 2022. Our aim is to connect the most underserved communities in Bangladesh—farmers and factory workers. Through digitization, we provide affordable groceries to workers and create better market access opportunities for farmers. Our efforts are generating a massive impact on both ends, and Forbes acknowledged this endeavour, granting me a spot on their esteemed list. 

Which qualities do you think are behind Agroshift's growth and making a positive impact on the agricultural sector?

The only quality that I believe to have is listening and understanding the perspectives of those I interact with. From villagers to venture capitalists, from farms to funds, I prioritize utilizing my people skills. In the agricultural sector, which is not highly digitized, this quality becomes even more critical. By actively listening and gaining insights from the ground level, I can take prompt actions that align with the needs of the industry and drive Agroshift's growth.

How do you plan to leverage this recognition to further propel Agroshift's growth?

Bangladesh, being home to over half of the world's top 100 Leed-certified factories, prioritizes worker wellness. Aligning with this industry goal, Agroshift has focused on building our initial market approach around the welfare of factory workers and their families. The Forbes recognition has opened doors for us, resulting in introductions from factories and accelerated partnership discussions. We plan to leverage this recognition to further propel Agroshift's growth by unlocking more opportunities and forging strategic collaborations in the near future.

How does Agroshift integrate sustainability practices into its operations?

Agroshift, being an impact-driven organization, aligns with multiple sustainable development goals (SDGs). Our commitment to ensuring affordable groceries directly aligns with SDG 2 - Zero Hunger. We provide guaranteed market access and increased earning opportunities for farmers, which aligns with SDG 1 - No Poverty and SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth. Additionally, our innovative micro-logistics network reduces fossil fuel usage, resulting in lower carbon emissions and minimal wastage of agro commodities, supporting SDG 13 - Climate Action. Furthermore, our efforts bring financial savings for predominantly female RMG workers, aligning with SDG 5 - Gender Equality.

As a young entrepreneur and leader in the industry, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

I strongly believe that we should stop complaining and start solving problems. Bangladesh ranks 168th among 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index, highlighting the challenges of entrepreneurship here. However, I view these challenges as opportunities to make a positive impact. When problems arise, we have two choices – complaining or solving. Instead of complaining, let's focus on finding solutions and embracing the problems we encounter.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for Agroshift and yourself personally?

For Agroshift, our aspirations are pretty straightforward. Redefining how agricultural goods are traded. Irreversibly changing how Bangladeshi people do their grocery shopping.

Personally, my entrepreneurship goals have always been focused on influencing the lives of a large number of people. For example, if I can reach a point where 1 out of every 10 households in Bangladesh buys their groceries from Agroshift, I think that will be a success.  

What are the key factors that will drive the digital transformation of the agricultural industry in the coming years?

In the coming years, the key factors driving the digital transformation of the agricultural industry will include the increasing adoption of smartphones and internet access by the next generation of farmers. This will enable them to stay updated on market prices and weather conditions, leading to more informed decision-making.

Agroshift positions itself as a player that offers farmers a reliable market for their produce. By aggregating a significant demand pool from factories, we can forecast demand calendars, volume, and prices with ease. This enables farmers to be more aware of what and when to grow, empowering them with market insights. However, there is still a need to inspire the sons and daughters of farmers, as well as individuals from outside farming backgrounds, to consider farming as a viable and rewarding career. Agroshift recognizes this and aims to contribute towards changing the perception of farming and attracting more talent to the agricultural industry.

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