| 2-Day Workshop for Bangladesh’s Innovative Social Start-Ups:Toru Impactors |

“It’s a very safe space to expose ideas, talk about it, and get feedback. We gained clear visions about moving forward with our idea.”

– Project: Decent Wastepreneurs, one of Toru’s 31 Impactors who was selected for Toru’s first ever cohort-based business incubation program – Impactor.

Toru Institutive of Inclusive Innovation’s Impactor Program is designed to provide business incubation support to early-stage entrepreneurs. The program started off with a call for application and we received an overwhelming number of submissions from aspiring entrepreneurs! Through a rigorous screening and selection process, we selected the  31 entrepreneurs for the first round of the program.

On 27 and 28 November 2018, we held a two-day workshop on Design Thinking and Business Modelling. The sessions took place in the newly inaugurated co-working space of StartUp Bangladesh, ICT Division, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology. During this workshop, the Impactors learned how to apply empathy and design thinking concepts to build user-friendly and feasible ventures that will have a social impact. In addition to working individually with mentors, Impactors discussed their ideas, prototypes and business models with 6 fantastic external mentors who provided valuable feedback and sector-specific advice.

The Impactors got the opportunity to interact with industry experts from corporates, banks, start-ups, and publishing.  The external mentors and Toru Team used these interactions to learn about the entrepreneurs, the solutions to the problems that they are addressing and the viability of their ventures. Muthopay, an Impactor said, “Here we discovered flaws we never thought about before and found other enterprises we can potentially collaborate with.”

After an extensive assessment of the first 31 Impactors over the two days, the workshop culminated with the selection of 15 Impactors. These 15 Impactors will be joining us for the next round where they will undergo rigorous training and from them, 10 will become eligible for seed funding from Toru. On 29 November, we proudly announced the 15 Impactors: Biotech Bangladesh, Black Shoot, HeadBlocks, ItsOkay Bangladesh, Jotno Healthcare, MARS Ltd., Muthopay, NexParc, Project Decent Wastepreneurs, Shuttle, Smart Lab, Solar Powered Micro Irrigation Boat, Study Buddy, Women Robotics Research Team and Wreetu. Learn more about the Top 15 Impactors here.

“Three trends are converging and driving unprecedented growth in social entrepreneurship”, says Sankalita Shome, Head of Operations at Toru. “Firstly, entrepreneurship is gaining in popularity and attracting a new generation, secondly, technology is accelerating the pace of innovation and thirdly funding is more available than ever before. And  this is where Toru’s experience in mentorship and incubation comes in; connecting the dots and bringing it all together for the innovators and entrepreneurs.”

These ventures are now gearing to participate in the upcoming intensive four-day boot camp which will be held in January 2019. The Bootcamp will focus on providing frameworks and mentorship sessions to help the ventures develop and implement a growth trajectory.

The program is supported by Standard Chartered Bank, Microsoft Bangladesh, The Daily Star, IPDC, Annisul Huq Foundation, Startup Bangladesh and North South University. To learn about the Impactor Program visit – http://impactor.toruinstitute.com/.

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