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ASPIRING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS AND SUCCESSFUL WOMEN TALK ABOUT THEIR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT AT DW 2017

The ‘Women in Digital Economy’panel at Digital World 2017 consisted of three emerging women entrepreneurs and five industry veterans who have made it to the top. They talked about what they are working on, their journey and their visions. At the end of the panel discussion the panelist officially inaugurated ‘She Means Business’,a programon Facebook for helping woman entrepreneurs on the ground.Here is an excerpt from the discussion in easy to read snippets.

Tawhida Shiropa

Dreamer at ‘Moner Bondhu’

‘MonerBondhu’ provides mental healthcare. We are partnered with the Psychology Department of Dhaka University and National Institute of Mental Health and Research. Most of our workforce is women. This makes us very women friendly. We want MonerBondhu to be the go to service whenever people need mental health support.”

Rakhshanda Rukham

Founder, Begum

“Begum is a platform that helps women by providing business, lifestyle and other contents. We have been able to reach approximately four thousand women. Recently we have been to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.”

Nusrat Jahan

CEO, Interactive Artifact

“My journey started with the help of the ICT Ministry. Last year we were chosen from 437 startup ideas in a competition by the ministry. We have created a software and hardware solution for measuring the physical exercise.”

“Often patients stop doing physical therapy or exercise at home. They start to feel better and they stop. But our software will encourage you to finish that by giving a progress report.”

Luna Shamsuddoha

Founder and Chairman of Dohatec New Media

“I started in the 90s when CD-ROM was a big thing. This was before cloud computing, bfore ‘www’. We are still working. Our main work is in e-governance in Bangladesh. We worked with the Bangladesh Army for the national ID project and we made the solution. We are now working on e-tendering, specifically the e-GP. The e-GP system provides an on-line platform to carry out the procurement activities by the Public Agencies – Procuring Agencies (PAs) and Procuring Entities (PEs).We are also dong the same work in Bhutan.”

Munni Shaha

Head of News, ATN News

“I’m probably the only journalist who ends up saying at least once every week ‘thanks to digital Bangladesh’. I used to miss my old reporting day when I would go to villages and talk to the people there. But now I have a weekly program called ‘Connecting Bangladesh’ where we use technology to connect to these people. This is a two-way communication. We talk to them and they are also able to speak. Without Digital Bangladesh I wouldn’t have been able to connect to these people.”

Jullia Quazi

Managing Director, PwC Corporate Finance, USA

“I’m truly humbled to be sharing this stage with all of these wonderful women. I work in Wall Street, I’m an investment banker, where I would say that 98 percent of employees are men. Today, as a managing director at the investment banking division of PwC, I am the only one of two women leaders. It’s really unacceptable, and always been unacceptable for me.” “I learned as a young woman, and not just as a woman, but a brown woman in a white men’s world, that I have to develop a brand and I have to develop it very quickly. It’s very important as a woman for you to figure out what you want your brand to stand for. And then you have to meticulously develop it.”

“You don’t have to be a genius to be successful, but your communication skills and the basics have to be strong and that’s 90 percent of success. It’s impression and perception.”

Tina Jabeen

Investment Advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division

“The purpose in life is what drives people. For me the purpose was to be successful, to be independent. And that is the reason I spent about 30 years in San Francisco, working similar to what Jullia is doing. For the last five years I have been planning to come back to Bangladesh, because I wanted to give back to the country. I planned for it. I am fortunate that I was able to come here.”

“It’s like destiny for me the startup initiative of the ICT Division started at the right time for me. I had the background and I got on board. What I want to get out of this journey is that I want to inspire the youth. The Bangladeshi youths are so smart and now they have the resources. We have a $34 million fund, which is a government fund. The government wants us to invest it on our entrepreneurs, so we can create and develop a VC ecosystem with this money and support the ecosystem.”

Hosne Ara Begum

Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority (BHTPA)

“I think as the managing director of Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority, I have a great opportunity to do something for the people. You can’t build a Digital Bangladesh without the active participation of all people. We are creating different platform for women everywhere. The Prime Minister already declared that women must have a designated 30 percent space allotted to women in each and every Hi-tech Park. Other than that we have various kinds of training by the Hi-tech Park Authority.

“We have seven IT training incubation centres, we have 12 IT Parks and other projects. In all of these I have the scope to prioritize women and the young generation. We will have Sheikh Kamal Training and Incubation Centre will be established in seven districts and 17,500 people will be trained. Among these 500 places are designated for women.In 12 IT Parks we will have 30 thousand trainings and women will have allotted 30 percent. Under the Support to Development of Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park project we have already trained 6,700 women, and among them one thousand already got jobs.”

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