The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on economies worldwide, and small businesses, in particular, are coping with multiple challenges resulting from the crisis. The ongoing move towards more digital transactions and offering traditional services through online platforms, however, also creates new opportunities for small businesses and startups to innovate and build new products that exploit the new environment. In connection with the UN’s global initiative towards post-COVID-19 resurgence of the MSME sector, ESCAP has partnered with key stakeholders in Bangladesh’s tech sector, including Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, the Bangladesh Startup Consortium, and the ICT Division of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to produce this report on the current status of Bangladesh’s startup ecosystem.
The report evaluates the current macroeconomic and development environment of Bangladesh, gives an overview of important stakeholders in the ecosystem, and looks at current investment trends as background to an evaluation of the opportunities for tech startups in the country. By also taking into account the Government’s current initiatives to grow the technology sector, the report shows what areas might require further attention for the continued advancement of startups. In particular, greater emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship and gender lens investing will enhance the contribution of Bangladesh’s businesswomen, including women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).