The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) organized the grand finale of DifferenceMaker 2021, a youth entrepreneurship competition designed for university students, virtually on Saturday (22 January).
ULAB DifferenceMaker program is organized under the licensing agreement with the renowned DifferenceMaker Programme of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. EMK Center provided technical support to organize the event.
DifferenceMaker is a campus-wide program that helps students solve problems and pursue their ideas, with a focus on having a positive impact on the world. The initiative provides students with resources to solve their problems and make their ideas into realities. The objective of the program is to help students develop a creative mindset and make a difference in their community.
After rounds of assessment, seven finalists presented their business plans to win the competition on 22 January evening in the presence of a judging panel. Team Shape Shifter became the champion for their idea of introducing lab-grown meat to Bangladeshi consumers and creating a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions in the process. Team FRSHR became the first runner-up for their idea of fish culture using aquaponics, and Team Paper usify became the second runner-up for their plan to recycle used books among students through an app and also have a positive impact on Bangladesh’s carbon footprint.
The winners received cash prizes, scholarships to attend international training on entrepreneurship and design thinking, and the opportunity to have yearlong mentorship from technical and business modeling experts.
Aditya Shome, business strategist and founder of the social enterprise Ujjwala Limited, Sharawwat Islam, managing director of Truvalu Enterprise Limited and Khairul Islam Shazeeb, an Obama Scholar and founder of YY Ventures participated as the members of the judging panel.
Professor Imran Rahman, vice-chancellor of ULAB and Professor Shamsad Mortuza, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university attended the event as special guests.
Representatives from different actors within the entrepreneurial ecosystem from home and abroad attended the event. Members of the judging panel and the guest speakers emphasized strengthening the financial planning and financial projection capacity of young entrepreneurs and the importance of in-depth market research for developing a successful business model.