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Plaudits for young innovators
In the third season of Crown Cement and The Daily Star export idea contest, ÒRise High BangladeshÓ, Dhaka University's IBA team The Wildlings became the champion for the innovative idea of producing a mosquito repellent by using hormones extracted from chicken skin.
Misfits from Bangladesh University of Professionals became the runner up for their idea of making biodegradable cutleries from banana trees to replace single-use plastic ones.
Con Artists from North South University bagged the third position with their idea of producing silica by incinerating rice husk.
Rise High Bangladesh is a joint initiative of Crown Cement and The Daily Star that aims to inspire the youth of Bangladesh to come up with export ideas and convert them into feasible business products and services.
The champions won the chance to visit different industries in Malaysia for developing their ideas; the runner up team received a cheque of Tk 1 lakh while the second runner
up received a cheque of Tk 50,000. All three teams were also awarded crests.
The jury panel selected the winners after each of the three teams presented their business ideas at the final event yesterday at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in the capital.
A total of 150 teams from different public and private universities participated this year.
Of the teams, five were invited to present their ideas in the final round. Of the five, a panel of judges picked the three.
Meanwhile, Prof AKM Fazle Hussain of Texas Tech University in the US, has been awarded with the Amazing Bangladeshi award at the event.
On behalf of him, ASM Quasem, chairman of Newage Group, a leading garment exporter, received the crest.
The Amazing Bangladeshi award is given to a Bangladeshi expatriate for his or her outstanding contribution to uplifting the country's image abroad.
Addressing as the chief guest, Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, said The Daily Star is not only a newspaper. It is an institution promoting what is best in Bangladesh.
What we saw today is a fine example that when Bangladeshis are given an opportunity, they can be as good as any.
One thing I learn from innovators is, what they need is an environment that encourages and nurtures innovation, he said.
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of the Standard Chartered Bank, Bangladesh; Syed Ferhat Anwar, professor of the IBA at Dhaka university; and Rubaba Dowla, president of non-profit organisation TiE Dhaka, were the judges.
Jahangir Alam, chairman of Crown Cement, said they started their journey with a production of 600 tonnes a day, which had increased to 10,000 tonnes.
He added that the company started its journey in 1995 and this is the first company which exported cement products from the country in 2000. It has achieved National Export Trophy three times.
The company employs over 5,000 workers and initiated the Rise High Bangladesh in 2016, aiming to create fresh entrepreneurs by harnessing their talents.
Saying that Bangladesh is full of opportunities and possibilities of skilled human resources, Alam urged the prime minister for establishing a separate ministry on human resources development.
In his welcome speech, Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said, "Now we need to increase our export basket."
The Rise High Bangladesh programme aims to help diversify the export basket and to engage the young people of the country in business, he said.
Rene Holenstein, ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh, said the event was to honour the creative young Bangladeshis.
"All of you should be proud as amazing Bangladeshi youths. Bangladesh and Switzerland has very strong relations. The focus of our relations with Bangladesh is, in particular, set on young peoples' entrepreneurship," Holenstein said.