ENTREPRENEURSHIP & SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (ESDP)
Bangladesh is a country full of potential and possibilities. It needs much endeavor to achieve the goals. The Government has taken many steps for investment promotion that include building infrastructure, undertaking mega projects, making available energy and power, enhancing access to finance, reforming policies, re-designing various programs, improving tax and regulatory regime, arranging better services, improving incentive structure, creating ancillary facilities and developing institutions like BIDA.
All these have had some positive effect on the growth of the economy. At present, we have a growth rate of around 8% per annum. If we can overcome and obviate the existing obstacles and bridge some missing links, then the growth rate could increase and could be in double digit.
Historically, we have had a past in trading and commerce but for various reasons, what we have in this country now is a general environment of risk aversion and a dominant attitude among the youth of “job-seeking” rather than “job creating”. Even though we have in Bangladesh a class of entrepreneur that has developed in a number of leading sectors like RMG, Power, transportation, pharmaceuticals etc., we do not have as many entrepreneurs as we need to speed up our growth at a pace required for materializing our vision ‘2021’ (becoming an upper middle income country).
Our economic growth is constrained and will be seriously restrained by shortage of entrepreneurs in all areas of the economic activities including those in agriculture, industry and services. We need larger number of good quality entrepreneurs for boosting local investment and to tie up, partner and work with the foreign investor. We have millions of young people who can turn into entrepreneurs and investors and bring about energy, ideas and innovation and open new frontiers including those in “sun-rise” industries like IT, bio-tech, health care, financial services etc.
However, these new investors, with ideas of business and passion to succeed have very little finance and resources and hardly any collateral. They are unlikely to have access to finance from traditional sources like banks and other financial institutions. Therefore, we need to arrange “critically needed suitable funding” for the new generation of investors.
Private sector is recognized as the primary engine of growth, owing and operating production systems and accounting for most of the investment of the country. To increase investment, in private sector, attention and importance should be given to prioritized sectors in order to encourage entrepreneurs and help them to develop their skills. Private sector has been playing a significant role in the economic development of Bangladesh. One of the key focuses of the government is to widen the involvement of private sector in all areas of development activities. In order to increase the private sector investment both local and foreign, the government has introduced this development project titled as “Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Project” through Bangladesh Investment Development authority (BIDA) to achieve following objectives:
- Create skilled entrepreneurs for supplier and linkage development industries providing training to the potential youths on regulatory regime and business procedure;
- Accomplish the Sustainable Development Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth);
- Reach the target of private investment (34% of GDP) according to the 7th Five Year Plan.
The project will be implemented for two years in all 64 districts. The key functions of the project are:
- 24000 young educated and unemployed men and women will be trained for creating entrepreneurs for suppliers and linkage development industries;
- Selected candidates will be provided throw one-month training for becoming entrepreneurs as well as investor;
- The trained entrepreneurs will be guided to devise an investment model through mentoring by successful businessmen;
- Local trade bodies and chamber of commerce, business associations and/or successful business persons/investors will be engaged for creating business plan after completion of the training;
- Investment related issues and information will be provided through 24 x 7 online learning platform.
- A designated space with some facilities will be provided at all training centers in 64 districts for the trained entrepreneurs to support free service for startup the new business or investment projects;
- Business and investment related digital contents will be created to upload in social medias and the website of the project;
- Trainee entrepreneurs will be recommended with the public and private banks and other financial institutions to assist them for getting credit for investment;
- Awareness programs will be arranged in all 64 districts to promote investment in grass root level;
- A data base will be created with information on domestic and foreign investment and investors.
- Establishment of Project Head Office in Dhaka: As per the DPP, the head office of the project has been set up on the 3rd floor of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) office building. The project activity has been kicked off from 14 March 2019.
- Recruitment of Procurement Consultant: To complete the procurements properly in accordance with the DPP following PPA-2006 and PPR-2008, a Procurement Consultant has been recruited.
- Recruitment of the Human Resources: Recruitment of the required manpower has been done properly in outsourcing method. The selection of the outsourcing company was done by Open Tendering Method. Recruited human resources, ie; 64 trainers, 02 facilitators and a programmer including other required support staffs were already posted to the respective workplaces (head office and district offices).
- Training Modules: Two specific modules for both trainers and potential entrepreneurs has been designed and now are being followed for the respective training.
- Training for the Trainers: Trainers have been provided with one month long training (TOT) from 1 June to 30 June 2019, and then posted to the District Training Centers.
- Training for support staffs: For smooth running of the project and providing an overall idea about the project, support staffs were also trained for 4 days in two different stages.
- Training Center: According the DPP, training centers in 64 districts have been set up. Now the project activities are running in all districts in those centers.
- Training for the Entrepreneur: Meanwhile, trainers started their activities in respective assigned districts. A high level district committee, having Deputy Commissioner as the chairman, supervise, monitor and provide necessary supports to the project. Interested entrepreneurs can enroll their name for training by coming to the district offices physically or by using the project website (www.esdp.gov.bd). The training program of entrepreneur has been started from August, 2019.
- Website design, online learning platform: This project open its own website (www.esdp.gov.bd), furnished with all necessary information. This site is now being used for entrepreneur registration also. An initiative has been taken to design more convenient and interactive website, create an online platform to assist entrepreneurs with investment related information round the clock (24 by 7), and design digital contents equipped with necessary investment related information.
- Mentoring: During the training program entrepreneurs will develop their own investment plans. To formulate this investment plan, members of the local business chamber of association or successful local businessmen are being attached to the trainees (entrepreneur) as mentor. Trainees have to finalize their respective investment plan with consultation and guidance from those mentors.
- Incubation Center: Each district training center consists of an entrepreneur support center. This center is designed to encourage and provide necessary supports to the young entrepreneurs for startup and other business related issues to gear up their business to next stage.
- Getting Credit: Trainee entrepreneurs are being recommended for access to linkage with the public and private banks and other financial institutions.
- Awareness Program: Awareness programs will be arranged in all 64 districts to promote investment from grass root level.