Huawei announced yesterday six startups as the winners of the Huawei ICT Incubator 2022 program. The winners will get seed money as the award in addition to the opportunity to meet global startups for knowledge sharing.
The announcement came in a Gala event held at Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel today. Leading global ICT infrastructure provider Huawei organized the event with the cooperation of the strategic partners Startup Bangladesh Limited and Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA).
The competition has two groups, namely, the Idea Stage and the Early Stage. The winners of the Idea Stage and the Early Stage, respectively, are Insure Cow (Champion), Durjoy DSS (1st Runners up), and Relaxy (2nd Runners up); and Jahaji Ltd. (Champion), Palki (1st Runners up), and We Gro Technologies Ltd. (2nd Runners up).
The champions will get BDT 500,000 as prize money and USD 125,000 Huawei Cloud credit; whereas 1st and 2nd runners-up will get Tk 300,000 and Tk 100,000 as prize money, respectively, in addition to USD 80,000 Huawei Cloud Credit. Apart from these, a co-founder from each company will visit abroad to meet successful foreign startups.
An independent jury panel, comprised of the iDEA project, Huawei Bangladesh, Startup Bangladesh, and other renowned leaders of the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh, selected the winners. The honorable guests of the gala event announced the winners’ names in the event. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division graced the event as the chief guest. H. E. Li Jiming, Ambassador of China to Bangladesh, was present as a special guest along with Professor Vincent Chang, Ph.D., Vice-chancellor of Brac University, Pan Junfeng, CEO of Huawei Bangladesh; Sami Ahmed, Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh; Md. Altaf Hossain, Project Director (Joint Secretary), iDEA Project, BCC, ICT Division.
In his speech, the chief guest, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Honorable Minister of State, ICT Division, said, “From a startup, in just 35 years, Huawei has become a huge company. This can be an inspiration to follow for startups. Under the prudent leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the PM’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, we have successfully realized the Digital Bangladesh vision by 2021, riding on the four pillars of Digital Bangladesh. We have inaugurated several institutes to enhance the skills of our youth in the ICT sector, which I believe will help them be equipped with future skillset. I thank Huawei for its involvement in three ongoing projects with the ICT Division. Besides, I call on Huawei to consider Bangladesh a significant market for them so that they can play a positive role in the country’s ICT sector and support Bangladesh in achieving its vision to become a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041. I wish luck to all the participants and winners of Huawei ICT Incubator 2022.”
H. E. Li Jiming, Ambassador of China to Bangladesh, stated, “China and Bangladesh are important strategic partners of cooperation with each other and share extensive and in-depth cooperation and common interests in various fields. China has been Bangladesh’s largest trading partner for twelve consecutive years since 2010 and ranked among the top sources of FDI. In recent years, Chinese enterprises have expanded their investments in Bangladesh in terms of infrastructure, science, and technology, among which ICT is one of the most remarkable and promising ones. I am confident that the two countries will enjoy more favorable opportunities for cooperation in ICT and foresee much brighter prospects for win-win cooperation.”
Professor Vincent Chang, Ph.D., Vice-chancellor of Brac University, said, “It gives me great pleasure to see that globally leading technology leaders such as Huawei are helping the youth to become truly future-ready. Including this Incubator program, as per my knowledge, Huawei is also running other skill development programs like Seeds For The Future, ICT Skills Competitions here, and also partnering with universities across Bangladesh to build Huawei ICT Academies where the youth can enhance their skills.
Huawei Bangladesh CEO Pan Junfeng said, “For over 23 years, Huawei has been working with the ICT sector, telecom operators, and local partners in Bangladesh. Huawei ICT Incubator is part of our continued efforts to facilitate the country’s young minds by empowering them, training them, and providing them with unmatched opportunities. Throughout the entire program, participants got the chance to learn from industry experts and gained both business and technical knowledge to further refine their ideas. I congratulate all the winners who will be making a difference through their ideas in the near future.”
Sami Ahmed, Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh, said, “It goes without saying that the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh is continuously growing. Startup Bangladesh is working relentlessly to flourish a venture capital ecosystem in the country by providing necessary support to early-stage and Idea-stage startups. This is where we align with this Huawei ICT Incubator program, which also aims to facilitate young startup entrepreneurs. It was a wonderful experience for us as a strategic partner of this program, and we found Huawei as a very collaborative company indeed.”
Md. Altaf Hossain, Project Director of iDEA, shared, “In a world of rapid change, young people are leading the way through the right combination of skills and knowledge. Against such a backdrop, an innovation-induced culture can provide Bangladesh with its own fuel to strive forward through young minds. As a strategic partner of Huawei ICT Incubator program, iDEA strongly resonates with Huawei’s philosophy of upskilling the youth and providing them with ample opportunity to thrive.”
Kajal Abdullah, Co-founder, and CEO of Jahaji Ltd. said, “We are glad that Bangladesh nurtures a support mechanism for aspiring entrepreneurs. Throughout our journey in this ICT incubator program, we were taken through various training and skill development regimens, which helped us to transform our respective ideas into functional business models. I would like to wholeheartedly thank Huawei, Startup Bangladesh, and iDEA for making this program happen.”
Around 180 participants applied for this year’s ICT Incubator program. Divided into two groups – The idea stage and the Early stage, 68 startups were selected to join the Incubator Bootcamp, where they were mentored and provided technical training. After this, the participants presented their startup ideas before the jury panel. Based on the judgment of the jury members, a total of 20 startups from both stages were selected as finalists for the gala event. Finally, the top 3 from the Idea stage and the top 3 from the Early stage have been announced as winners at the gala event.