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Shamdanee Tabriz Tech-Led Logistics Startup Rapido Secures Funding To Accelerate Growth

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Bangladesh-based tech-led logistics startup Rapido Ltd. has raised $100,000 seed funding at an undisclosed valuation in a round backed by local angels. Among the investors are individuals who were early investors in popular e-Commerce platforms and tech startups.

Founded in 2016, Rapido provides e-Commerce delivery solutions including packaging, order management, order tracking, and doorstep delivery all across Bangladesh. The team spent 4 years developing its own platform which enables e-commerce entrepreneurs to do business from the comfort of their homes.

The startup plans to use the funds to significantly scale up its operation in Bangladesh and develop its express delivery, grocery delivery, and food delivery segments. Rapido plans on harnessing the power of technology to develop its platform and seamless experience for the end customer.

Rapido is currently serving over a client base of 3,500 businesses and helped them to deliver over 5,00,000 packages all across Bangladesh. It previously received a government grant from the a2i Innovation Grant from the Idea Project and a seed loan from BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED).

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Joy to distribute Joy Bangla Youth Award tomorrow

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Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser and CRI Chairman Sajeeb Wazed Joy will announce the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2023 winners at a ceremony in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, tomorrow.

The country’s biggest youth award giving ceremony, recognising the efforts of young visionaries to turn around their communities, will kick off at 2:20pm at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Youth Development at Savar.

This year marks the seventh edition of the ceremony. The event will be aired live on private television channels in addition to its broadcast on the Facebook pages of print, electronic, and digital media. CRI, the ruling Awami League’s research wing, will air the event live on its Facebook page.

The award will be given in six categories after selection from more than 750 applications from all over the country.

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According to Young Bangla, the country’s largest youth platform which organizes the event, the field visit was done after scrutinizing the applications initially received this year. From there, the names of the final winners will be announced.

The award recognizes the best youth organizations in Bangladesh for their humanitarian work and contribution to society. The biggest youth platform Young Bangla has been hosting Joy Bangla Youth Award since 2015.

In the previous six seasons, 145 youth-led organizations have been honored through this award. Along with that, their success story has been presented to the people of Bangladesh.

This year, the awards are given to organizations of people aged 18 to 35 in six categories. The categories are skills and employment, arts and culture, community well-being, social inclusion, climate and environmental innovation and communication. Organizations under this category include women empowerment, child rights, empowerment of persons with disabilities, empowerment of backward people, employment and innovation, creativity and entertainment, knowledge and capacity development, empowerment of the extreme poor, environment and climate change, health care, socio-cultural initiatives, disasters risk reduction and emergency service delivery.

Young Bangla is currently working as the largest youth platform with more than 300 organizations in addition to the organizations that received the Joy Bangla Youth Award.
 
Along with these organizations, more than 50 thousand volunteers and more than 3 lakh members are associated with Young Bangla. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina became a member of Young Bengal in May 2022.

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Since its inception in November 2014, Joy Bangla Youth Award, named after the historical pro-liberation slogan ‘Joy Bangla’, Young Bangla, the youth front of CRI, has been awarding young people of organisations run by young people whose vision and initiatives catalysed positive change in society.

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World Bank Helps 900,000 Rural Youth in Bangladesh with Better Employability and Entrepreneurial Opportunities

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The government of Bangladesh and the World Bank today signed a $300 million financing agreement to equip about 900,000 economically disengaged rural youth with skills and alternative education needed for employment and entrepreneurship. About 60 percent of them will be female.

The Economic Acceleration and Resilience for NEET (EARN) Project will help overcome barriers that prevent disadvantaged and vulnerable youth from gaining education and employment. It will provide skills training, alternative education, employment, and entrepreneurial support to rural youth who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). The project will establish vocational training centers to offer a range of skills development opportunities and provide online and offline training courses in market-driven and futuristic trades. They will be in locations convenient to rural youth, especially female. It will also and offer competitive financing and mentorship support for entrepreneurial activities. It will help secondary school dropouts, particularly female students to complete vocational secondary education. 

“The youth are the future of any country. Creating a well-equipped competitive workforce, where no young person is excluded, is a critical development priority for Bangladesh,” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan“The project will help develop a competitive workforce through skill development, continuity of education, and employment opportunities while addressing underlying cultural and social norms that drive exclusion, particularly for women, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities.”

In Bangladesh, about 27 percent of youth that is about 12.6 million people are classified as NEET. About 90 percent of them are female, mostly living in rural areas. To enhance their employability, the project will offer skills development training for a wide range of market-relevant trades with an emphasize on modern and non-traditional trades, especially for women.

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For secondary school dropped-out youth and adolescents, the project will provide access to Bangladesh Open University education programs through an accelerated curriculum. They will be able to access diploma-level technical education in fields such as nursing, medical technology, agricultural food processing and other courses. To support entrepreneurship, the project will provide seed financing, mentorship, and other relevant supports to the new entrepreneurs. 

 “The government placed high priority on economically engaging the youth, particularly female and disadvantaged ones, who are not in education or employment through skill development,” said Sharifa Khan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh“This project is aligned with the Eighth Five-Year Plan 2021-2025 and support the country’s graduation from LDC status in 2026 and the vision 2041. It will support the government plans and policies by establishing a comprehensive support mechanism for economic engagement of the rural NEET youth, including the persons with disabilities, and segment of the population with special needs, which is essential.”

To create a supportive environment for youth to participate in skill development activities, the project will launch communications and awareness-raising campaigns and involve the communities in planning and monitoring the project activities. It will also provide incentives in terms of stipend, examination fees, and textbooks to motivate the youth, especially women. It will also promote sports and cultural activities and provide psychosocial support to youth.

The agreement was signed by Sharifa Khan and Abdoulaye Seck on behalf of the Government and the World Bank, respectively. 

The concessional credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. 

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Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling $15.86billion. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed about $40 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country since its independence.

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Bangladeshi Nabanita in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Toronto list

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Nabanita Nawar, a Bangladeshi researcher and entrepreneur residing in Canada, has recently been featured in the Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 Local: Toronto’ list. This is the popular business magazine’s first-ever list of this kind, and she is the only Bangladeshi to be featured. The list is a part of Forbes’ local series where they attempt to highlight the bright minds from major cities across the world.

Nabanita is the co-founder of HDAX Therapeutics, a company pioneering the development of the treatment for peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects over 30 million people globally. Due to nerve damage brought on by chemotherapy, diabetes, injury, or genetics, peripheral neuropathy patients experience discomfort, loss of sensation, immobility, and paralysis. Presently, the advancement of the disease cannot be slowed down, stopped, or reversed by medication. According to their progress so far, patients could receive doses of HDAX by 2025.
“I am very grateful, and honoured, to be a part of this prestigious list,” Nabanita shared in a conversation with The Daily Star. She added, “While it is very challenging to be working at the forefront of innovation, it is definitely a fulfilling and rewarding experience.”

The Forbes ’30 Under 30 Local 2023: Toronto’ list also included Pimyupa Manaswiyoungkul, another co-founder of HDAX Therapeutics who serves as chief operating officer (COO), while Nabanita is the company’s CEO. The company has collaborated with leading cancer research facilities from all across the world and has submitted several patent applications. It was built on the foundation of five years of academic research at the University of Toronto and has raised more than $800,000 in funding so far.

Nabanita graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD in medicinal chemistry and a BSc in biological science. She has over eight years of experience in the fields of scientific policy, leadership, and drug discovery. Due to her work in this area, she was honoured with the ‘2022 Rising Star’ distinction from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. She was also awarded the ‘Canadian Silver Medal’ from the Chemical Institute of Canada.

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According to Forbes, Toronto is the pulse of Canada’s business and tech life, and has been called the next Silicon Valley. In this first-of-its-kind list, Forbes outlines Toronto as a city renowned for its entrepreneurial and multicultural spirit, as well as world-class educational institutes. Other inclusions in the list include personalities from many different areas, including tech, science, sports, and arts.

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