Blue Gold Innovation Challenge

SBYA – YY Goshti

Blue Gold Innovation Challenge

The Blue Gold Innovations Challenge (BGIC) is a yearlong business incubation program organized by YY Goshti and Blue Gold Program, with financial assistance from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. BGIC works to find innovative business solutions which address water resource management, agriculture and sustainable development of south west region of Bangladesh (Patuakhali and Khulna).

Pure sunflower oil produced by Sunfarm, ensuring better income for smallholder farmers

Inspiring Growth

The key objective of this program is to inspire innovative business solutions to the various problems faced by the inhabitants of the BGP polder areas so that they can begin to support themselves independently and profitably.

Approach & Process

The program involved multiple 6 month cohorts where local youth with innovative business solutions were invited to compete for training, mentoring, prototyping grant and business incubation support. Top innovators received 48 hours of training on business development and prototyping to launch their businesses. The training program was followed by a pitchday where the participants were invited to present their ideas in front of a group of invited audience and judges. After the pitch day a total of 7 innovators were selected from Patuakhali and Khulna for further support which includes prototyping grant, pro-bono legal and accounting services, market research, office space and access to resources.

19 year old Tanu working in her field

Impact Numbers

BGIC inspired and educated more than 800 youth on social business and entrepreneurship, has formally trained 25 idea stage entrepreneurs, and is currently providing business incubation services. These innovators are supported with business consultancy services to help them grow, so they can later apply directly to BGP for funding.

Outcomes

7 young people are currently receiving business incubation services where 4 of them already have a working prototype and customers namely- SunFarm- producing sunflower oil, Tanu’s Farmhouse- growing strawberry, gourd,lettuce etc empowering teenage girls in Patuakhali, Regen-producing organic fertilizer using food waste in Khulna and AloeFarm- producing organic aloe vera juice empowering rural women from BGP Polder areas in Khulna.

The other innovators who competed can still access services from YY Goshti. One such venture named Farm2Fork, an online market place that allows shrimp farmers to trade online has been connected with a private equity firm for funding.

Organic fertilizer produced from kitchen waste by Regen, one of the BGIC Khulna cohort winners

Learnings

One key aspect that we have become aware of is that innovation needs to provide a sustainable solution but also has to be sustainable itself.

Future Prospects

We are currently providing business consultation services to the 7 winners as well as everyone else who participated in the BGIC cohorts. We are working closely to ensure that they meet BGP’s application standards so that they can eventually apply for the BGP innovation fund.

YY Goshti Resource Network train applicants

Expansion and scaling

YY Goshti has been approached by enthusiastic individuals from Satkhira and depending on the outcome and impact of the first two cohorts, we might consider another cohort in that district if circumstances allow. YY Goshti will keep supporting these innovators for another 12 months with business incubation, creative & web services and access to networks for the next 6 months for free while they grow their ventures.

We’re also rather hopeful of the results. We expect that these individuals will inspire more local people into becoming entrepreneurs and find innovative solutions to the problems currently faced by the people in the region particularly in the polders. The best kind of support we can think of for this people is the business infrastructure that allows them to become enterprising problem solvers.

Email: shazeeb@yygoshti.com | Cell: +880 17 9836 7836
Address: H692, R09, DOHS, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh – 1216

Download a PDF version: SBYA – BG Innovation Challenge v3