Bangladesh’s leading telecommunications service provider Grameenphone today received the second batch of GP Accelerator in the presence of Begum Tarana Halim, MP, State Minister for Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication & ICT.
The GP Accelerator program, in partnership with SD Asia, has been designed to support early-stage, homegrown tech startups. These startups are provided with an intensive, rapid and immersive training over the four-month program.
The startups are provided with BDT 11 lakh in seed funding each, work space in Grameenphone’s headquarter GP House, and a weighty set of industry contacts to speed up the life cycle of their businesses. This fixed-term, cohort-based program allows the ventures to build a robust business model, become investable and scale them up.
Speaking on the occasion the State Minister said, “This kind of initiative can create job and give the youth of this country a chance to demonstrate their talents, which will keep them away from the influence of terrorism. Government is taking different initiatives to help the youth and it is good to see that private organizations like Grameenphone also lending a helping hand.”
BTRC Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, who was also present as special guest said, “Organizations like Grameenphone have deep knowledge regarding the needs of the customer and which will be highly beneficial for the young entrepreneurs of GP Accelerator to develop customer friendly services.”
Welcoming the new batch to GP House, Grameenphone CEO Rajeev Sethi said, “The startups at GP Accelerator remind us every day of the skills that drive real success: speed, agility and focus against all the odds. Grameenphone is committed to put Bangladesh on the global startup map firmly and together with the Government and the startup ecosystem.”
Kazi Mahboob Hassan, the Head of Transformation of Grameenphone, said, “We are on a mission to help build the first billion dollar startup from Bangladesh by 2021 and GP Accelerator can achieve this bold ambitious goal only by working together with the a range of partners.”
The top five startups of the second batch had to go through a rigorous, multi–staged process to acquire the sought after GP Accelerator spots. The selectors had a tough job to review over 500 submitted applications before selecting the final five.
Mustafizur R Khan, founder and CEO of SD ASIA said, “Teams joining our program will be more investment-ready after four months instead of taking one year to develop business on their own. The 5 selected startups will be taught to move fast, work in a learning environment with other promising teams and benefit from “hand-holding” that is rare in our startup eco- system”
Among those present were SENIOR members the GP, SD Asia and members from the start-up and investor communities. The GP Accelerator program, in addition to essential resources, provides qualified mentors with prior experience in various fields to help the ventures get a lot done in short period of time.
In exchange for a minimal equity share, every team joining is offered a package, including seed funding. The program, lasting for about four months, ends with a grand event, a demo day, where startups pitch to a plethora of experienced investors, partners and key clients.
Grameenphone is leading Telenor’s ambition and has been promoting local digital entrepreneurs and talents to come up with more and more digital content, services and concepts through different platforms. GP Accelerator is one of such platforms which is giving these local startups access to Grameenphone’s vast experience about the customers in Bangladesh and its resources.