Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), the entrepreneurial wing of BRAC University, has organized a round table discussion titled "The Prospects of Impact Investments in Bangladesh" at the University’s GDLN Centre on 14 September 2022.
Discussants from distinct organizations shared their valuable thoughts and insights regarding the status and future of impact investments in the country while acknowledging the footprints of their respective organizations in the industry for supporting startups and venture within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Bangladesh.
The Chief Guest of the event was Mr Sami Ahmed, Managing Director, Startup Bangladesh. He mentioned that most of the startups are not lucky enough to receive funding; which is why Startup Bangladesh has been created to help them. Mr Ahmed mentioned the return on investment from the startups tends to get calculated financially, but at present, such a trend is being pivoted toward measuring the impact socially and environmentally.
Dr Md Mafizur Rahman, Managing Director, SME Foundation Bangladesh, was the Special Guest at the event. He remarked that instead of managing the fund which can have varied sources, it is now more important to give the youth the scope to generate innovative ideas of business which can bring good and greater impacts on society.
Dr Sebastian Groh, Associate Professor, BRAC Business School, urged to have clear and stringent measurements to measure the social and environmental impacts of investments.
Mr Ariful Islam, Chief Financial Officer, BRAC University, also opined that there should be more focus on identifying such measurements.
The CEOs and founders of Bhumijo and ShareTrip shared their startup journey and explained how their startups brought an impact on gender equality, while the representative from iFarmer emphasized on the sustainability and scalability of the business which has been very crucial for the growth of iFarmer.
Among the discussants, there were also representatives from IFC, Teach for Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Angels.
Mr Shamim Ehsanul Haque, Assistant Professor, BRAC Business School, and Senior Research Fellow, CED, moderated the event. He summarized the main discussion points of the events which are irresponsible profit making of the business can lead to a negative impact and there should be fund management for the university student-led startups.
In concluding remarks, Dr David Dowland, Registrar, BRAC University, acknowledged the thoughts shared in the event by young entrepreneurs from BRAC University who are currently receiving incubation support and services from the Business Incubation Centre (BIC) of BRAC University, the first-ever university-based BIC in the country, established and being managed by CED.
Dr Dowland recommended that young social entrepreneurs like them should be linked together as they have many common aspects to share as well as be an impactful part in terms of the growing need for strengthening the industry-academia linkages in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.