Minhaz Anwar is a renowned personality in the Bangladesh startup outlook. He is the founder of Better Stories-an ideas agency in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He likes to calls himself a startup activist. He has been working on business incubation, startup mentoring and opportunity brokering for the last 6 years through his dream venture BizCube, Bangladesh’s first of it kinds. He is the licensee of the Bangladesh StartUp Cup and hosting this 7-month long mentorship driven business model competition in Bangladesh. He is also a Co-Director at The Founder Institute.Techworld Correspondent Fakhruddin Mehedi had a one to one session with him and discussed about the different issues of Bangladeshi startups ecosystem startup competition, Bangladesh StartUp and so on.
Techworld: how Better Stories works on others success?
Minhaz Anwar : Better Stories is a platform where startups get guidelines how to access the business market and how to get investment . We help startup providing knowledge about the business and do the matchmaking with venture capitals for finance. We are focused in growth and ones success in business, in any every phase he or she need. We started Better Stories in 2009 believing in the power of stories. Tell better stories, make it even better each time we retell! That inspire others to step forward. We have to achieve our goal to make 1000 entrepreneur by 2021. Better stories not only work in academic level but also habituated to work with policy level.
Techworld : Explain the major challenges of a startup at the beginning?
Minhaz Anwar : Its tough to own something seriously for business and make it happen. Most of the startups fail first time as fact but to take 2nd chance is rare. Social barriers and family support required importantly to start 2nd time and keep the constancy and passion to survive and established. On the other hand still we don’t have enough investment friendly rules , policies and legal issues to ensure someone to keep faith on a startups. You know sometimes we don’t found the business category and name in trade license that some one want to. Bangladesh is an emerging market so there are lots of opportunities to do.
Techworld: Access to the market is another big challenge for startups all the time. How they overcome it?
Minhaz Anwar : It is matter of demand and supply issue to consider. If you are offering a new product then you need create the demand first doing awareness. Can use the social media or others . on the other hand if you have a product or service that is available in the market then you must have some competitive advantage to offer. It is common idea generally. But if you have something innovative and you have the confidence then it’s a straight forward way to move. Unfortunately we want to do business where you can earn money fast and easily. First we should think about our own Specialty mean “ I am good at...
Then think its demand and find out a way to offer. It might happen that you could think your product has a good market demand but in reality it might not be . You might have started with assumptions but until you steps in the market and test them, you will not understand the fact. Once need some market study before start. This knowledge helps someone to meet the challenge to access the market
Techworld: Tell some unsuccessful startups tale. How to handle it?
Minhaz Anwar : Failure is not really a bad thing in entrepreneurship. But the mistakes that are avoidable , startups must avoid those mistakes. It’s okay to make mistake and fail but if they repeat the same mistakes in business I would say that’s not wise. we need to have a culture to accept the failure and encourage learning out of it. Many people in Bangladesh don’t start their own venture out of fear to fail, we must get rid of this cultural apathy towards failure. We need to build more acceptance towards failure in our culture if we want to see more initiatives.
What is Bangladesh start up cup?
Minhaz Anwar : Start up cup is a global network of locally-driven “accelerators without walls” open to any type of business idea. It can be replicated in any community and is a proven model to create viable businesses, grow jobs, and enhance entrepreneurial ecosystems. StartUp Cup set their Mission to unleash local innovation to drive global prosperity. Bangladesh Startup Cup is a true community platform for not only the startups but also for the eco-system players such as mentors, investors, and policy-makers. People in the eco-system who could help and support startups came together to a platform for the very first time. We started looking for a framework to make our virtual incubation work. That’s when we came across StartUp Cup, which already operates globally in 60+ counties and got in touch with the headquarter of Startup Cup. We found out that the Startup Cup is a highly customizable global phenomenon which could be applied in Bangladesh easily by tweaking it to meet the local need.
Bangladesh Startup Cup is a framework that helps any startup with ideas to go to market and also in the process helps them to reach out to the wider community that involves the mentors, investors, sponsors, organizers and all the concerned elements of a ecosystem in which they can grow.
How do you bring start up cup in Bangladesh?
Minhaz Anwar : Going back in 2010, we were trying to build our own capacity and exploring various models of operation worldwide and later that year, we established ourselves as Bangladesh’s First Business Incubator Bizcube. Over the years, we learnt a lesson that there has been a huge demand for a virtual, networked support system that involves mentoring, investments, legal and networking support to encourage the entrepreneurship. Bangladesh is country with different kind of minds So we were looking for a model which may in our country. And then we found start up cup the 100% customizable one. Through our promotional activities we reached more than 800 people in 2013. After launching application we found 27 startups and then we arranged boot camp where we select 15 startup to pitch infront of judges. And finally we got four named Zpac, memento, incognito and surokkha. They will have chance to pitch in Silicon Valley. In 2015 we are going to arrange the competition more bigger. We are going to go to 4 cities including Dhaka this time. Going to arrange a business workshops where For the first time mentors will be trained and certified. We also expect to automate few processes that had been done manually this
time. The process will create business hubs in the cities. We hope its huge success.