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Is a bank account worth it? We break it down

At this age, almost everyone has a bank account. Not having a bank account is rather an anomaly in the current world. It is simply because having a bank account can be a great tool for managing your personal finances. The account statements from your bank can help you determine how and where you are spending your money. This can also help put you on track for a reasonable savings plan. To add icing on the cake, personal savings accounts often pay interest, which basically earns you free money. But is it worth opening for everyone? Let’s look at it from a neutral point of view.

The benefits are:

Earning from interest

You get to earn without doing anything. The savings account, depending on the interest rate can help you earn some money without actually doing anything.

Keeping a track of your spending

The transaction records help you to keep a track of where you spent all your money. You can plan your monthly or yearly expenditure from this. This can also greatly help you grow a habit of saving.

Going cashless

Most banks provide a form of a card, which can be used anywhere. This provides you with the option to go cash-free. This provides a more secure form of carrying your money, and it is essentially hassle-free.

Security

Banks are more or less secure. Keeping money in your home or wallet is not safe most times, and the incidence of burglary or theft is quite common. The main reason why the banking industry grew is still a classical reason to have a bank account.

Personal finances typically are significantly easier with a bank account, but you might have your reasons for living life without one. It might be a temporary thing while you clear up identity theft issues or problems you’ve had with banks in the past. Maybe you just decided to do without banks altogether. Either way, it’s essential to know how to function bank-free if that is your choice.

 These are the disadvantages of opening a bank account:

The Debit card fee at times is quite significant. At times the cardholder doesn’t have enough cash compared to the charges he has to pay for the debit card fee. There are other charges in the forms of GST charges, Cheque leaf fee, Minimum balance fee which a customer has to bear. The cost at times is not worth it if you don’t have enough money in the bank.

The security issue is another key drawback while opening a bank account. You share your identity, address, and your source of income to the bank. Although the chances are very slim, there were incidences of hacking, but the chances are like having a snowfall in a desert. Banks thus give quite a significant amount of importance to security nowadays. You also expose your unique details like your transaction and income details with the bank. You need to keep in mind and make an informed decision before opening a bank account.

The advantages and disadvantages point out that it is good to have a bank account in general. Whether or not you will have one depends on your choice, and as a smart person, you should make an informed choice.

Stay tuned to learn more about basic banking and financial system in coming articles.

Extraction fails miserably to portray Dhaka. How dare they?

Bangladesh had never got any significant footage or screentime in Hollywood. The trailer of ‘Extraction‘ had created a buzz all for the right reasons since it was the first Hollywood movie whose plot was centred around Bangladesh. But the air of the balloon of expectations ran out after the movie was released. Bangladeshis, in general, were very much disappointed with the movie.

Stereotyping portrayal of a country is an old thing for Hollywood; Mexico and Africa being the prime examples. The portrayal of Bangladesh caused massive disappointment amongst most Bangladeshi viewers. The yellowish background sarcastically called jaundice theme by viewers was not accepted well for starters. The over negative portrayal of Bangladesh Police and administration seemed hackneyed. And it’s a shame considering the fact that it was Hollywood’s sacred duty to portray Dhaka as a beautiful, shiny city that we all love and adore.

Although the film plot is centred around Bangladesh, almost the whole film was shot in India. The Bangla spoken throughout the film hardly seemed like our own dialect, rather more like the Kolkata dialect. Rookie move. The minor mistakes in costumes of the police and loopholes in the plot, in a popcorn action flick movie, disappointed people to the extent of ranting about it in social media with hashtags and petitions launched.

The Netizens are upset. Hollywood takes a major blow. Netflix is about to apologise. Next time Hollywood centres a movie around Dhaka, they better get everything right down to the last details.

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

The grand finale of the highly anticipated “Digital Khichuri Challenge,2019”; took place on 11th December 2019; in the wonderful ambiance of ICT tower Auditorium, Agargaon.

The theme of this year’s challenge was, “Creating digital literacy among the migrant workers.” 9 finalists were selected for pitching their ideas in the grand finale round.

About Digital Khichuri Challenge

Upon hearing the word khichuri, a wholesome mixture comes to mind. And the idea and naming of the khichuri challenge also promotes a similar mixture. It was initiated to promote diversity and to prevent violent extremism.

The integration of diversity and pluralism was the core purpose. And hence the name ‘Digital khichuri Challenge’. The challenge has a successful past record of events. And it is now supported by Facebook,  Startup Bangladesh and ICT division.

About this year’s Challenge

This year, the theme of the Dhaka challenge was ‘Digital literacy for the migrants.’ The migrants are one of the driving forces of our economy. However, for a lack of digital literacy, they usually don’t have a refined online presence.

From a huge number of applications, 9 teams made it to the Grand Finale. They underwent a grooming and boot camping session for 3 days.

How the event unfolded

Sonia Mehzabin, Operation Manager, UNDP, initiated the event. She recounted how it all started and thanked the organizers and sponsors for making it possible. Then the audience enjoyed a short video rundown of the previous events; including the success stories of teams and the event.

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

But the showstopper was the storytelling session of a migrant worker; ‘Rehana.’

“Nobody thinks about us. I am really happy people are thinking about us now. The troubles we face, the difficulties cannot be expressed in words.”   

The pitches of the 9 teams came after this storytelling session. The organizer had kept entertainment as a priority. So an amazing beatboxing performance by Beatboxbd followed.

The ending session

Our honorable ICT minister Zunayed Ahmed Palak was the chief guest of the ending ceremony. In his speech, he remarked:

“Our payment comes from these migrant workers. So, it is our responsibility to make things easier for them. Also, our government is patronizing technology and startups. And the winning ideas will get all kinds of support.”

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

 Nazrul Islam, DGFEA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with Dr. Nurul Islam had also graced the event with their speeches and inspiring words.     

The Winners of Khichuri Challenge 2019

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

Winners were selected from 2 categories- Student and Startup.

Champion from student section was Team Edsite, Runner up was Team Choukosh.

Champion from startup section was Team We Works, Runner Up was Team Probash Kotha.

Champions from each category had received 5000 US Dollars, and Runners up received 2500 US Dollars seeding money.

They also have the opportunity of getting free office space and mentoring opportunities from ICT division.

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

A startup can be undoubtedly called the buzzword of the century. People have started to believe in the thought that building your own startup is their only possible way of becoming a billionaire. However, not all startups succeed like Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat etc. Here are the top 5 reasons why most deshi startups fail.

Not having a proper business model

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Having a well-analyzed business plan is the first and foremost thing a startup should have. The business model should include why they are building their startup, what is the product and how they are going to sell and reach to the people. The business model should have a proper revenue model and also how they are implementing the supply chain. 

At times founders assume that because they will build such an interesting web site, product, or service,  customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases, the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

Not understanding your customers

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Market research is a crucial thing in building a startup. As a founder, you might think, “I have an idea of a wonderful product, this should work.”

But in reality, not every product will suit everyone.

You have a great concept of starting a service that will allow car owners to rent their cars when they’re not being used. Sure, it may work wonders in the USA. But will it work in Bangladesh?

Without doing proper market research, you may never know whether people would actually pay for the product. It is a futile project to build a product that nobody wants.

Not marketing the product the right way

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Marketing your product is the only comprehensive way to make your products known to potential customers. You might have a great product, an amazing team behind it and a product that cater to the right customer group. But without a proper marketing channel, your product will fail to reach your customer. Hire the right marketing team or outsource it to the right agency. Hire consultants who can tell you the best way to market your product. Every little detail is crucial.

Not having a proper team

Many experts consider the startup team is the most crucial part of a startup. If the team members don’t have proper understanding amongst each other, they will not be work with each other for long.

Pathao had been successful because the team members had an amazing sense of understanding amongst each other, which dates over 10 years.

Not being able to adapt

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Eric Ries model of Lean Startup is very popular amongst startup founders, which states the importance of having a minimum viable product. But a core concept they miss is that building the minimum viable product is not everything, they need to adapt it with time.

You might have a great concept and you’re ready to jump ship. But in this mercurial market, if you don’t make necessary adaptations, your startup is bound to fail. 

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A burger flipper turned CEO worth $148 million: The incredible story of Ashik Ahmed

A very common scenario of any immigrant going to a first world country is simply this: doing a part-time job to earn their bread. The scenario was somewhat similar for Ashik Ahmed. Flipping burgers was the way 17 years old Ashik would meet his ends. However, a powerful vision, creativity, and indomitable perseverance have made Ashik one of the big shot CEOs in Australia. He is now worth a staggering amount of $148 Million!

How it all started

Ashik came to Australia from Bangladesh when he was 17 years old. He started flipping burgers at a fast-food chain in Melbourne to earn his living. He recalled about his hard early days in an interview with SBS Australia, saying:

“I was an hourly-paid worker myself so I saw all the challenges on this side, and I also got to see it from the employer’s side in managing the employees.”

This indomitable ambition and thinking outside the box have paid well for Ashik. His exposure to the multidimensional work environment of Australia, along with his ardent passion for Mathematics and Science, had helped him co-found Workforce management ‘Deputy’ back in 2008.

Quoted from his Forbes Bio,

“I was fortunate to meet my co-founder Steve Shelley (a small business owner) for whom I was able to make a significant difference by improving people management in his business. In 2008, we co-founded Deputy to make every other small business owner successful like Steve. Deputy is now used by over 40,000 workplaces in 73 countries.”

Read more: Snapchat’s former Bangladeshi CSO, Imran Khan, launches e-commerce venture to compete with the likes of Amazon

About Deputy

Deputy is a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets, and communication.  The mission of Deputy is to improve the lives of shift workers and small business owners, by providing them with the necessary technological disruption. 

Deputy mainly provides cloud-based workforce management and scheduling platform. It is designed specially to help companies organize, track, and manage their teams. The company now has a client list of more than 184,000; which includes big names like NASA and Qantas.

The 38-Year-Old Ashik Ahmed is now worth over 148 Million Dollars.

The once burger-flipping 17-year-old is now listed at number 25 on the Australian Financial Review Young Rich List,  which was released this week. Ashik Ahmed has made good use of his 11 years in entrepreneurship, and is an inspiration for any aspiring entrepreneur!

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestions. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!

HiFi Digital’s workshop on Data Journalism held successfully

A wonderful and a much needed workshop on ‘Data Driven Journalism’ was held in the beautiful ambience of Hotel La Vinci on 13th September. The day long workshop was organized jointly by Hifi Digital Limited and Bangladesh Internet Society.

The workshop had two distinct phases. The first phase, conducted by Zyma Islam, focused on how to collect data from authentic sources. Some really useful sources were shared, and questions from the audience made the session quite lively. Zyma poured out her experience by giving some real life case studies. A brief showcasing of some useful tricks of Microsoft Excel made it quite a productive experience for the observers.

The second phase, conducted by Abu Shaer Reaz, focused on data visualization. He focused on some simple tools, which can be quite powerful if we know how to use them.

The most common mistake journalists do in Data visualization, is not knowing when to use which tool.

Some real life case studies from his experiences in Daily Star made his session quite engaging. Shaer wonderfully finished the session by showing the audience a simple yet effective data driven documentary, which helped the session to end on a high note.

“The experience was quite immersive. I learned a lot. The real life experiences and case studies shared by the two experienced instructors made it quite a learning experience.”

Nabila Jalil, one of the attendants, said joyfully

The participants of this workshop had mostly given positive feedback, and their constructive opinions were taken in formal response forms. The complimentary lunch and snacks made it quite a wholesome experience for all the participants. The cherry on the cake was added by the certificate giving ceremony, where all the participants were given certificates for their participation.   

This bamboo made school from Bangladesh just won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

A very simple but quite innovative amphibious structure made of bamboo was adjudged one of the six winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It was announced Thursday in the Russian city of Kazan. The award-winning structure houses a school for underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

About the project

The Arcadia Education Project is situated on the bank of Dhaleshwari in South Kanarchar of Keraniganj. The award-winning structure for this project is constructed by Saif Ul Haque Sthapati and run by Maleka Welfare Trust.

But the most unique thing is, the project is built on a site that remains submerged by three-meter of water a third of the year on average.

The structure was built using very simple materials -different varieties of bamboo, recycled tires and steel drums. The innovative part of the structure is that it rises with the water level. The structure expands on about 486 square metres. 

Read more: Abandoned WWII airbase to turn into Bangladesh’s first Aeronautical and Aviation University

The innovation has paid off handsomely. The six winners of the Aga Khan Award would share the prize money of $1 million among them, as stated by a release of Aga Khan Development Network.

The release also added: “The modesty of the program, the use of materials and the construction method are all successful parts of building this amphibious school through experimental and collaborative teamwork. Though simple and compact, the project resolves complex issues – of buoyancy, anchoring against the river current and waste management.”

Read more: Bangladesh earns the highest rate of trust in vaccines, France the lowest

How the structure is made

A traditional Bengali method was employed in the construction. The bamboos that were used in the structure were collected from neighbouring villages. They were then chemically treated and made waterproof by applying liquid made by boiling local Gaab fruits. Moreover, most of the joints in the structure used a rope-tie technique rather than steel wire which would corrode. This technique was a major innovation itself. 

“At a time of rising sea levels, this modest bamboo school illustrates how to build an affordable and viable solution with locally available materials.”

Said an official press release about the structure 

Read more: From slums of Dhaka to the USA, the incredible story of Siam

The people behind the project

The construction of the structure was executed by a team led by Pran Bollov Biswas from December 2014 to February 2016. For planning the building at the cost of $50,800, the designers had spent exactly two years from December 2012.

About the Aga Khan Awards

The Arcadia Project was not the only project catching limelight in the Aga Khan Awards. Bangladeshi project, Amber Denim Loom Shed in Gazipur, was earlier shortlisted in the final 20s for the 2019 award.

The other winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture are the Revitalisation of Muharraq of Bahrain, the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, the Public Spaces Development Programme in Tatarstan of Russia, Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit in Bambey of Senegal, and Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah of United Arab Emirates.

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Snapchat’s former Bangladeshi CSO, Imran Khan, launches e-commerce venture to compete with the likes of Amazon

A new retail website, called Verishop, has gone live recently. And it goes head-to-head with mammoth platforms like Amazon. The brain behind this venture is the former Chief Strategic Officer of Snapchat, Imran Khan.

Why Verishop

Khan being present in the business arena for quite a while had observed some of the frustrations up-and-coming brands have expressed regarding existing sites that have counterfeit products or that hurt brand integrity. Verishop aims to change that and create an even and transparent platform for both buyers and sellers.

The business model of Verishop

Verishop actually buys the inventory directly from the brands. This step is to prevent having counterfeit goods on the site. Verishop hopes this differentiating factor will help build trust with consumers, too.

Is the big tech too big?

Globally companies like Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet etc. are ruling the world. It takes much audacity to come up with a business that has to compete largely with Amazon itself. However, Khan doesn’t feel that the big tech is too absolute. And with proper differentiation of their services, they can have a sustainable business.

“I think our vision is to be the best home for brands,” Khan said in an interview ahead of the launch of Verishop.

“Whenever the consumer is looking for branded products, we want to be their first destination. There is massive growth of direct-to-consumer brands.”

Verishop has launched with around 150 brands. Those include apparel makers Levi’s, AllSaints, DVF and Citizens of Humanity; home-goods retailer Boll & Branch; make-up company Lily Lolo and skin-care line Kora Organics.

An offer too good

Verishop offers free, two-day shipping with no minimum purchase, free returns and a 24/7 customer-service portal on the web. That means you can buy anything even worth 10 Dollars, and still can get free shipping! This new feature is something that most customers had been waiting for.

There are 2 main shopping sections, Tastemakers and Responsible Shop. Between these two, Tastemakers is solely targetted towards influencers. 

In this daunting attempt, let’s hope Imran Khan makes a difference to the world of e-commerce, as he has done in case of Snapchat. A reminder for the readers, this is the same Imran Khan whose BTV debate went viral on Facebook this year!

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. We want to hear from you. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestion. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!

Tonic app lets you order dengue tests from your home

Tonic, an online healthcare service of Telenor Health, has launched its home service for diagnostic tests of dengue through their mobile application.

The recent dengue outbreak has become a major national issue, and Telenor health has raised eyebrows by this intervention. Tonic has launched the service along with video conference for doctors’ consultation through its mobile application “Tonic App”.

People from Dhaka and Chattogram metropolitans and Mymensingh city will be able to order dengue screening tests through Tonic App. The best part is that the patients can get the entire test done from their homes.

Read more: Dengue in Bangladesh

How it works

The patient first needs to order tests through the Tonic app. After the order has been placed, Tonic’s sample collector will visit and collect the sample from the patients within 24 hours. Tonic is quite concerned with the safety and promises to maintain all aseptic conditions necessary. After conducting the test, the patient can consult a doctor over a video call through Tonic App along with their report.

Read more: Preventing dengue: Steps that you must take

In this age of digital disruption and innovation, Tonic App promises to be the much intervention at the most appropriate time. Let us hope this app has a significant impact on the ongoing outbreak. 

From slums of Dhaka to the USA: The incredible story of Siam

We all love underdogs. Rags to riches stories are quite popular amongst people. A story defying all odds has become a reality in our country because of the amazing resilience of a boy. A boy from the slums of Rayerbazar has managed a scholarship in one of the most prestigious IB programs of USA!

If anyone ever told MD Bilal Hossain, a caretaker in Rayerbazar, that his son would one day attend a prestigious program in the US, he would probably let out a big sigh or laugh it off. He had struggled quite a lot in maintaining the expenses of his family from his low-paid job. His struggles doubled when he lost his job right after admitting his only son, Siam Hossain, in a school of Jaago foundation in 2008.

Flash forward eleven years, Siam has successfully rekindled the hopes of his family for a better through his nothing less than stellar academic performance.

He has managed to earn a two-year scholarship at the renowned United World College (UWC) in New Mexico, USA.

Starting from the academic session 2019-20, the scholarship is worth $80,000.

Siam’s academic journey through years

This wonderful academic achievement didn’t come in a single day. Siam had always shown good performances in his academics.  He had achieved GPA-5 in the Primary Education Completion (PEC) examination in 2012. He had also registered an A grade from the science department at last year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.

The UWC programme

UWC (or United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with the mission to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. UWC consists of 18 schools and colleges on four continents, several short educational programmes, and national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide.

Siam has received a scholarship in their college of New Mexico. Most of these18 schools and colleges exclusively offer two-year residential programmes, for young people aged 16–19 years, during which they complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

“There was a time when I didn’t take my studies that seriously. However, hopes for better and higher schooling arose in my mind after being admitted to the Jaago Foundation School”

Siam said during a press conference at Jaago. 

Siam thanked his sponsors because there was a time he thought of quitting his studies because of financial hardship. He had also mentioned how his ambitions rose after his stellar result in the PECE examination. 

The dreams of Siam

Siam expressed his ambition to become either a doctor or a communication specialist. Upon completing his two-year course at the UWC, he would like to pursue higher education at a foreign university before returning home to serve the people.