Monday, 08 May 2017 00:00

Urban innovation challenge announces 5 winners

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BRAC announced five winners for bringing innovative solutions to the growing challenges faced by the people living in cities across Bangladesh. The mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Annisul Huq, announced the winners at an event organised at BRAC Centre today (7 May 2017).

Praising the initiative he said, “It’s wonderful to see the youth coming up with so many innovative ideas for the country. I really appreciate BRAC’s effort in creating a space and scope to incubate these innovations.” He also added, “The city corporation is always ready to support the new innovators to bring their ideas into effective solutions. We are hopeful for the results. Thanks to all the participants who joined the competition.”

Launched in October 2016, the competition created a platform for innovators, young entrepreneurs and university students to offer their solutions to the growing problems in urban areas. The three specific problem areas were: health, transportation and informal sector employment. The goal is to find the best ideas in Bangladesh and support innovators to build them into sustainable social enterprise models.

Around 600 applicants registered for the competition. 33 were short-listed for submitting full proposals. 13 teams were selected for the final round.

A jury of 5 experts including development practitioners and investors assessed the proposals on sustainability, relevance and human centricity of the design. Five teams are finally selected as winners. The winning teams are: Bhumijo and Bloodman in health category, Driver Mela and Servicing Campus in employment category and Amar Bike in transport category.

Winners will build their prototypes and test them in the field with BRAC in the next six months. They will receive mentoring, skills development and support, as well as a grant amount up to BDT 5 lac and linkage to potential investors.

The runners up of the competition are HealthSoc and The Neem Squad in health category, BlueSynaps, Team B and Unigigg in employment category and Barisal-1 and SmartTraffic in transport category. Identity Inclusion got special mention in health category.

Present as special guest, Executive Chairman of PPRC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said, “Innovation always works when there is an ecosystem. Innovative mind-set is another essential component of this system. I am happy that the competition was not Dhaka based, rather it was Bangladesh based, which proves that innovative mind-set is everywhere. We just need to give them a platform. The Urban Innovation Challenge not only ensured that platform but it also helped to produce responsible citizenship.”

In the concluding remarks, BRAC’s senior director Mr Asif Saleh said, “With our experience from the last 45 years, we can guide the young innovators to bring their ideas into a sustainable solutions. In order to do so, all of us the innovators, the mentors and the investors have to work together.”

Shout-Daily Star partnered the Urban Innovation challenge for youth engagement, Radio Shadhin for radio engagement, Beatnik for digital engagement and IDEO.ORG for knowledge management.

This competition was a part of BRAC’s newly launched urban development programme which focuses on improved service delivery, mobilisation and governance.

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