HowBD aims to provide easy access and guidelines to local public service information
The droning uncertainty of the pandemic continues to punish thousands of startups in Bangladesh. Valuations dwindle in their pursuit for investment from local and foreign sources, for business projections have drastically fallen short for numerous young entrepreneurs. However, good intentions in business seem to shine through.
In midst of the pandemic, a collective team of six Bangladeshi individuals launched a video platform named ‘HowBD’ to address the issue with their own funds; aiming to provide easy access and guidelines to local public service information. The platform launched last month with over 50 short how-to videos on common public service procedures.
A consistent hurdle for the average citizen over the past decade has been accessing the necessary information, especially when it comes to essential public services. Particularly when seeking the exact process or timeline of necessary services related to passports, national smart cards, driving licenses, birth/death certificates, police verifications etc.
Their idea is simple. The digital era of our nation has allowed early businesses to take advantage of communications to the extent where the entire operation can be effectively managed. This meant hope, allowing the group of youngsters to assemble, research and create quality video content from the safety of their own homes. The co-founding team includes Md Saimum Hossain, Rad Sharar Bin Kamal, Maisha Samiha, Nadira Ahmed, Abdullah Al Mamun and Fahim Bakhtiar; each specializing in different areas of the virtual initiative.
HowBD began by addressing the issue by making short, easy-to-understand videos. Releasing them into public channels for easy access for free since last year in the midst of the pandemic. All operations were managed online, using virtual software to roll out over 50+ videos on various topics. Fueled by their passion to help the nation, even their tagline reflects as “Information, For the People, By the People, Of the People.”
Beyond the urge to help solve a national problem, earning has been possible as well to sustain. They also offer clients the service of making bulk tutorial, how-to videos to help customers understand business processes. Applying most for banking, health and education sectors. All addressing the lack of instant answers to specific questions, while being able to earn revenue to tackle the obvious logistical challenges of a global pandemic.
Lack of access and availability of how-to information is quite alarming in our nation, and this phenomenon causes two types of problems. The first being the sheer amount of time, money, physical and mental energy that local and international information seekers must invest to simply understand where to go, what documents to submit, which signatures to take etc. The second being the long-term impact, including loss of career and life opportunities for not being able to complete a certain process properly, on time.
While access is the primary problem, availability is also a major challenge! The information present on the web is scattered across multiple platforms, including informal channels including social media. Oftentimes these written pieces of information are not up-to-date, encouraging information seekers to act poorly on obsolete data. Accordingly, HowBD videos show accurate data which are fun to watch and experience on all platforms. The tips and tutorials encouraged are clearly defined and simple in understanding to apply.
COVID-19 has raised heavy questions on how traditional business is applied, all of which are difficult to answer and adapt to. A survey by LightCastle Partners this year showed that 63% of start-ups being left with a runway of less than 90 days! However, the digital prowess with behavioural changes of the nation has sparked hope for tech-savvy startups even if they solve the simplest of issues. Earning from the content as simple as giving instant information on YouTube.
To know more, visit www.howbd.org or visit their YouTube channel named “HowBD.” Their content is also present on Facebook and Instagram.