Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) is a platform to encourage young entrepreneurs to venture their innovative ideas of startups and build a startup ecosystem by establishing this event as a flagship program at the national and international levels. Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) was initiated by the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) in 2019. The first Bangabandhu Innovation Grant was handed over to the ten winning startups from the second chapter of the national level contest ‘Student to Startup,’ on October 16, 2019. And to celebrate the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman, the groundbreaking ‘BIG 2021’ was announced with a larger scope.
The three main focuses of this initiative are: University and Stakeholder Activation Campaign, a TV reality show, and an international roadshow to encourage and solve various practical business challenges using effective strategies and innovation & technology. The iDEA project is organising BIG 2021 with the support of the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority(BHTPA), Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), and a2i. There are also different trade associations as private partners, including BASIS, BACCO, BCS, ECAB, ISPAB, and BIJF.
Bangabandhu Innovation Grant 2021 will showcase the talent and creativity of local talents and aspiring entrepreneurs through a thirteen-episode TV Reality Show. Startup Bangladesh Limited, the flagship venture capital fund of the ICT Ministry, is one of the proud sponsors of the TV reality show alongside Bangladesh’s two prominent enterprises Evaly and Walton. At a press conference on June 9, 2021, Ms Tina F Jabeen, Managing Director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited, said, “ As a Venture Capital Fund.Startup Bangladesh Limited is honored and proud to sponsor Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) 2021. We look forward to making potential equity investments of up to one crore each in multiple startups contingent upon Due Diligence approval from the Company. These startups will join “Shotoborshe Shoto Asha” vintage.“ She assured that Startup Bangladesh Limited is determined to enable faster innovation, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realise the vision of Digital Bangladesh by strengthening the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh and empowering the entrepreneurs. This company is continuously supporting early-stage to high-growth tech-based and social impact companies in the form of capital, financial guidance, and operational guidance considering the startup requirements.
Startup Bangladesh Ltd. launched “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha” with a commitment to invest BDT 100 Crore in 50 startups in 2021 to celebrate the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh. Therefore, joining the“Shotoborshe Shoto Asha” pipeline will be a significant milestone for the top startups of BIG 2021.
The reality TV show will air on Ekattor TV from the 1st of July and continue till 31st July, and during the course, the top sixty-five national start-ups will pitch their ideas. These startups will also get the opportunity to join a six-day-long boot camp and factory visits before the reality show. In each episode of the reality show, five start-ups will compete with one another, and from each round, the top two start-ups will be selected. In the end, a total of twenty-six start-ups will go to the final round and will be receiving a grant of BDT ten lakh each from the iDEA Project. Ten international startups will join these top twenty-six local startups in the final round.
The ten international startups were chosen from a pool of two hundred and fifty-five registered ideas in the BIG International Startup Competition 2021. For this competition, more than seven thousand startups registered from fifty-six countries. This groundbreaking campaign was run in one hundred and forty countries and received an enormous response.
In the final round, the winning startup will get USD 100,000 as prize money. The remaining thirty-five startups will get a grant of BDT 10,00,000 from the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) of the Information and Communication Technology Division. Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will be present in the Grand Finale to hand over the prizes to the winning startups.