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OP-ED: Standing with young entrepreneurs

  • Published at 05:49 pm November 6th, 2020
youth tech solution
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Tech and social progress go hand in hand, and the youth recognize this

The creative ideas of the youth are driving forces that will shape the business world of tomorrow. To ensure that we remain competitive as we move into the future, we must nurture the young entrepreneurs of this nation, and create an environment where start-ups can realize their vision, and thrive.

Bangladesh is a young nation, demographically speaking. But young people are often thwarted in their attempts to bring about change due to institutional barriers, widespread corruption, and outmoded thinking in the bureaucracy. Even when new systems are introduced, often they are not fully embraced, or are scrapped after a while, taking things back to square one. 

For example, many government systems could and should be fully digitalized. Our youth are fully up to this task, but due to low digital literacy across the board, and due to a resistance to any kind of change that requires breaking the old patterns, these projects often meet a dead end. 

It is high time that, instead of speaking only vague words of praise for the youth, we truly let them enact change. Without the values of the young, society does not move forward. From the road safety movement to the recent rape protests, it is the young who have been trying to change toxic cultures which have now become norms in the country. The young, too, will come up with the solutions if they are not blocked from doing so, time and again.

At a recent national dialogue event organized virtually by UNDP and Citi Foundation in association with the ICT Division, five teams -- Amar Lab, Kotha, Liter of Light Bangladesh, Mechanic Koi, and Releaf -- were presented with awards for solutions with social impact at the community level, solutions which will allow us to achieve the SDGs.

Tech and social progress go hand in hand, and the youth recognize this. They should be given the resources and platforms to build an equitable, sustainable, and smart future.