Accelerator programs and its benefits for micro entrepreneurship
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This report is on how accelerator programs benefits micro entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. The programs that have been run were mostly outside of Dhaka – such as Rangpur, Barguna, Dinajpur, Khulna, etc. This is because the accelerator programs that are done in sub-urban areas reap greater benefits since the people living on the outskirts lack financial and educational support. Which is why when they get big support from the capital city, they excel in their performance and stay determined to grow their businesses. For these entrepreneurs the sky is the limit and they will travel great distances to get the vocational training provided by industry experts and business tycoons. The accelerator programs discussed here are mainly that of Unnoty program because that is the program that I was a part of. Apart from this there are small segments that talk about SmartCap and TruValu’s Farmer’s Hub done in Rangpur, all of which I was a part of. The report not only gives insights to what these small and medium sized entrepreneurs need, but what sort of steps actually helps these businessman and women in real life. There are different models provided in the report for different scenarios. Not all businesses are the same, so obviously not all solutions will be the same either. Having said that, there have been trials to make a generic plan for tackling most similar problems that are faced by micro-entrepreneurs such as access to finance, capacity building and forward market linkage. These are some of the basic generic problems that every one faces. There have been many models and structures of accelerator programs that tackle these very problems with different solutions. The report here discusses primary solution through going to the fields personally and helping out people in their daily work and also there are digital solutions where data input is required to understand the needs and wants of the entrepreneurs. Here, Farmer’s Hub of Syngenta Bangladesh has used an IT driven solution to help farmers grow better crops and get support beforehand so that it is not too late when professionals get to the actual scene. This report also gives the result of the accelerator programs and how they have helped SMEs get huge investments from venture capital firms which is very new in Bangladesh. Such VC firms need to grow and need to have a stack of opportunistic businesses to invest in. Bangladesh has a diverse set of products that can be curated to the international market. Under the right mentorship and planning this can be made possible where Bangladeshi products are being sold world-wide, and the exporters do not have to be from the Capital or the Port City of the country. One major plus point of micro-entrepreneurship is its nature of decentralized economy. Any part of Bangladesh can suddenly boom, if there is enough growth of small businesses in different parts of the country. The report gives an overview of the success stories of my time at LightCastle Partners and how we made it possible for SMEs to dream big. There are many such projects that are still ongoing and many more participants that are calling up to be a part of the such programs. I hope this student report sheds little light on the topic of Micro-Entrepreneurship and its importance for the growth of economy in Bangladesh.