Speakers Call for Simplifying Startup and e-Commerce Policies: Also Asked for Mobile Financial Service Tax Reduction : National Budget 2021- Expectations For Startups

Business Boost Bangladesh initiative organized a budget discussion roundtable with prominent policy makers, investors, business leaders and young entrepreneurs on 5th June virtually. The event was organized by Preneur Lab Youth & Innovation Trust in partnership with RTV News as a part of Business Boost Bangladesh initiative. 


Bangladesh has huge potential in the Startups and SME sector. These are playing an important role in the economy of the country. With the advent of information and technology, young people have started working on startups or the SME sector, but they still have to face various problems to start a business that needs to be addressed. From this perspective, Preneur Lab Youth & Innovation Trust has taken a research initiative called “Business Boost Bangladesh” which is focused on highlighting the challenges of young entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. The ultimate goal for the project is to reform policies of getting business registration so that time, cost, and document requirements are reduced to start a business and to give policy advocacy for the upcoming national budget. For this instance, a portal has been created for female and young entrepreneurs where they can add their entrepreneurship issues and policy expectations for the upcoming budget plan. 


A lot of important issues have come up through this web portal and a virtual budget discussion event was organized last Saturday to discuss these issues. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank said, “Although Covid is a challenge, it is an opportunity for startups. A thousand numbers of startups have started in this covid pandemic and the majority of these entrepreneurs are female.” He also added, “31% of businesses are using mobile financial services for their transactions according to a study of BIDA. But the taxes for MFS have increased from 2.5% to 7%”. The co-founder of Startup Dhaka, Fayez Taher said, “Tech companies need a one-stop solution where their vat registration can be done in one single place. A central registration should be created.” The joint secretary of E-cab, Nasima Akter Nisha said, “There is no option for e-commerce in the trade license process. We have been asking this for the last few years now.” A B M Hamidul Misbah, Managing Partner of Old Bailey Chambers who has spoken for the laws and regulations. He said that, “There is no definition of a startup in law. Startup deals with challenges by using technology. This is the right time to define startups within the law and policy for scaling, growth, and the sake of innovation.”  R H M Alaol Kabir, Senior Consultant: Research & Innovation Specialist, iDEA Project, ICT Division, said, “From the iDEA Project of ICT Division we support the startups. We provide them a grant of up to 10 lakh taka and we have funded 179 startups till now. “ 


Adnan Md. Dewan, Consultant, Manager (Development and Commercialization), iDEA Project, ICT Division, Samanta Farahnaz, Programme Manager, BRAC, Shah Paran, CEO, Handy mama,  Dr. Shekh Moinul Khokon, Founder, Human Aid Foundation, Syed Naimul Hossain, Co-founder, Teach It – were also present as guest speakers and talked about the points from the portal which were added by the entrepreneurs. Speakers discussed the Business registration and trade license process, Business Registration Digitalization, and E-trade license and funding opportunities for female entrepreneurs. Preneur Lab CEO Arif Nezami hoped that this discussion will positively impact the policy framework. 


The speakers expected more policy support for entrepreneurship, startups, and business legalization policies, to support young entrepreneurs and make it easier for them to start a business.