A friend of mine told me, a few months ago, to watch Startup Dhaka, a documentary freely available on Youtube presenting the tech scene of Bangladesh’s capital city.
Just take a look at the video, and you know why I’m extremely excited to go there next week to attend Innovation Xtreme, their main tech festival, which is also taking place during the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Bangladesh: 160 million people and a 6% GDP growth rate
Why Bangladesh? At Innovation is Everywhere, our mission is to explore the tech scenes of the emerging markets. Bangladesh is high on my list for several reasons.
First, because it’s a big, big country, the 7th largest in the world with 165m population (218m expected by 2050). Startups ARE about scale and technology, so it makes perfectly sense to address this huge market (where, guess what, Rocket Internet has already made its first moves).
Second, because in so many emerging markets, the population is young, with 60% below 30. We don’t mean to be rude to our elderly, but innovation comes from the youth, especially when there is s much issues to solve as an entrepreneur around you, from infrastructure to social causes up to payments.
Last but not least, Bangladesh is a growing economy, with 5.7% to 6% over the 2014-2016 period. Slightly less than neighbouring India, but it’s relatively better as the need of job creation is not as big as a 1.2bn population country. And it’s comparatively almost twice better than Pakistan, a country with a similar size.
Why you should go to Innovation Xtreme in Dhaka?
Well, if you’re in Asia, it’s probably you want a piece of this huge and growing cake that Asian economies represent today (at least from my European viewpoint…).
China? Good luck with learning Chinese, getting your licences, and finding your place among a amazing competition.
India? Yes! We loved visiting Bangalore last week and are quite bullish on this country too! The market size, diversity of languages and cultures, as well as a startup scene already quite active doesn’t make it a true “blue ocean”
Bangladesh is a frontier market, and as such, if your heart is the one of an entrepreneur, it must resonates positively.
The event itself will take place on November 22nd at the Radisson hotel, nearby the international airport, and is a full day of pitches, keynotes and networking.
Opportunities are not abounding yet, and the organisers clearly recognise it on a post in Startup Dhaka, the local tech blog: “Twenty ﬁve years from now when we reach 2040 the amount of connection that will exists from an individual Bangladeshi to a collective internet connected community will multiply exponentially. People will be redeﬁning the rules of borderless world. Essentially, we will have the ability as an individual or a corporation from Bangladesh to start becoming a meaningful member of a global business community.”
It’s the right time to go now, because the tech scene is still at human size, and having an impact early is a guarantee of influence and results on the long-run.
Among the participants, you will meet Jeffrey Paine from Golden Gate Ventures, but also the management from Zalora Malaysia, MasterCard, tech media from around the world, and of course entrepreneurs from Bangladesh who will be pitching several times during the day.
Workshops will complete the show and help educate the market with skills ranging from fundraising to marketing or big data management.
So in a nutshell: Nov. 22nd, in Dhaka, all-day, for about $250. Early-bird prices available until Nov. 10th (yes, that’s Monday!). Registration on Innovation Xtreme website.