Startup blog SD Asia has joined hands with telecom company Grameenphone to launch an accelerator programme in Bangladesh.
Called GP Accelerator, the programme will provide seed funding of more than BDT 10 lakh (approximately US$13,000) each, in addition to a co-working space, logistical support and mentorship to participating startups.
GP and SD Asia will work together to select the prospective entrepreneurs, mentor them through their concept stage and provide seed money to turn their concept into reality.
SD Asia and GP will get 10 per cent equity in each startup.
“Bangladesh has amazing talent and entrepreneurial spirit. The population consists of smart, hardworking and driven individuals. However, there is very little infrastructural support for entrepreneurs, in order to make their dreams come true. This programme is going to help entrepreneurs’ dreams come true,” said Erlend Prestgard, Chief Strategy Officer at Grameenphone.
As per the agreement, there will be two four-month sessions – the first one scheduled to start on February 2016 and the second in August 2016. Five projects will be selected to participate in each session. At the end of each session, participants will have the opportunity to present their product to prospective investors on the demo day.
“By helping startups, we are indirectly helping the already-emerging Bangladeshi economy. The most unique thing about GP Accelerator compared to other programmes that are running locally is that we will provide seed fund and office space from Day One. We will also provide mentorship and host demo day on graduation day for the five participating startups,” said Mustafizur Rahman Khan, CEO and Founder of SD Asia.
Samad Miraly, Co-founder of SD Asia: “We are looking for startups in the mobile and tech sectors. They could be in the education, agriculture, or health spaces.”
According to Fayaz Taher, another Co-founder of SD Asia, tech is being adopted at a faster rate in Bangladesh, Internet is growing, content is being consumed and, most importantly, the consumer market is developing at a fast rate.
“This makes the timing now for startups to build, learn and pivot. This is why the GP is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs because they will be exposed to the best mentors and experienced entrepreneurs, get a place to work and get seed funding and exposure,” Taher added.