Author Topic: Why Bangladesh needs Entrepreneurship Incubation Centers  (Read 3617 times)


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Why Bangladesh needs Entrepreneurship Incubation Centers
« on: March 18, 2018, 11:22:11 AM »
Why Bangladesh needs Entrepreneurship Incubation Centers

Business incubation programmes are often sponsored by private companies or municipal entities and public institutions, such as colleges and universities. Their goal is to help create and grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial and technical services.

Popular in Western and Far Eastern countries, Incubators provide numerous benefits to owners of startup businesses. Their office and manufacturing space is offered at below-market rates, and their staff supplies advice and much-needed expertise in developing business and marketing plans as well as helping to fund fledgling businesses. Companies typically spend an average of two years in a business incubator, during which time they often share telephone, secretarial office, and production equipment expenses with other startup companies, in an effort to reduce everyone’s overhead and operational costs.

Conception and Results

Business Incubation Centres have been receiving increasing attention as a tool to promote entrepreneurship, both in the developed and developing countries. They have become an integral part of the business assistance framework to offer critical support to newly formed enterprises. Recognizing its importance, all major stakeholders are trying to define, identify, measure, formulate and evaluate various aspects related to these programmes. Business incubation initiatives have arisen especially over the last decade with varying degrees of success in different parts of the world. Many countries including India are still experimenting with it to foster entrepreneurship.

While the Indian Government is trying to aggressively promote entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurs continue to face numerous challenges and the new venture failure rate is very high. In view of this, the Business Incubation Centres have assumed a lot of significance as they provide an enabling environment to deal with the difficulties in the process of entrepreneurship by providing comprehensive and integrated support to the entrepreneurs, thereby reducing the new venture failure rate substantially.

These Centres provide start-up businesses with a variety of services such as physical space, office equipment, business services, management guidance and an enabling environment to facilitate their development until they are capable of surviving on their own after exit from the incubator. At the macro level, they regenerate public confidence in entrepreneurship and help create an entrepreneurial environment.

Why do we need it?

Moving back to the Bangladesh scenario, it is good to learn that the prime minister has urged the National Institute of Biotechnology (NIB) to start a biotech incubator. True, that NIB has all the modern facilities and equipment in its Gonokbari, Savar campus. Intention is noble, but implementation will be difficult, as most NIB officials themselves live in Dhaka. Yet it is a start. But for NIB to develop, some mechanism needs to be put in place whereby personnel can start learning the ropes from people with experience in running incubators in Bangladesh. Expertise is available in the region which can also be tapped into with ease.

Although this is a recent phenomenon in the country the initial success is not meagre. Take the examples of or Creativa.Asia. These companies started off with just an idea and a lot of energy to drive forward. However, they did not know how to register as businesses nor had they any clue how to bag businesses once they were registered. However, with the help of one private sector incubator, both businesses are generating income today, creating jobs for people and adding value to Bangladesh’s economy.

Creativa.Asia is an interior design and event management business which finds most of its clients through the network the incubator maintains. Another incubatee of the same incubator is One Light Studio whose business is rural housing. It works in the villages of Bangladesh, where no architects or engineers step foot. Combining the technical with local knowledge of building houses, they assist to build homes with organic materials that emit zero carbon. They can help a villager build a two-storied house for seven people at the cost of only Tk. 200,000.

Examples like these are only handful because we do not have as many incubators as we should. If a country like Indonesia can have about 500 incubators how many should Bangladesh have? A few young innovators have taken up the challenge but the government should step up and set up incubators in the public-private-partnership modality. It also needs to come up with detail policy guidelines to help facilitate an incubation ecosystem.

SD Asia’s recent endeavour, Innovation Xtreme (IX,) is turning heads as a platform for rising local startups. SD Asia founder and CEO Mustafizur Rahman Khan cited an example,, who went from being an aspiring startup in 2014 to being one of the key speakers in last year’s edition of IX. ‘They credit us for being the catalyst of their success,’ he said.

But he is also cautious about the outcome from Innovation Xtreme. Long term benefits will happen, he adds, but for now SD Asia is just building the blocks to ensure that happens.

The SD Asia CEO also does not expect revenue to be the key strength from organising IX, but rather foresees data to be a key industry driver, which will support tech companies to lead the way.