| Toru’s 4-Day Workshop on Unlocking New Models for Impact |

From 16 to 19 January, Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation conducted a 4-day long workshop as part of their Impactor Program. This workshop, named “Unlocking New Models for Impact”, was the third stage of the year-long business incubation program which was launched in October. This workshop covered three main themes: Problem – Opportunity Fit: Are You Solving the Right Problem, Problem – Solution Fit: Can you translate your opportunities into a viable solution, and Product- Market Fit: Can you take your product to the market. The final 15 Impactor teams consisting of 30 social entrepreneurs were introduced to new concepts and frameworks during the workshop. The sessions brought them closer to the objective of transforming their prototypes into sustainable and scalable businesses.

On the first day, Impactors considered the problem to solve in various case studies from Bangladesh, ranging from postpartum depression to the quality of rural primary school education. They approached the case studies in a holistic manner; who is the “impact group” – who suffers from the problem and what are the social and cultural factors that affect this problem. The ‘Who are You Solving the Problem for?’ session circled back to identifying the pains, gains, and jobs of each customer in each Impactor’s own venture. The day ended with a session on ‘Introduction to Impact Measurement and Frameworks’ – by a guest speaker from UNDP, Ashfaqul Haq Chowdhury.

Day two begin with mapping each venture’s value proposition and paving the path to a minimum viable product (MVP). Impactors voiced their own experiences at building early versions of products. They cautioned each other to avoid the pitfall of wanting to share too many features in early versions of the product. In a session called ‘Monetizing Innovation’, the Impactors learned about various pricing models and reflected on which pricing model is best for their own customers.

Toru invited Syed Javed Noor, General Manager of IDLC Asset Management Ltd. to speak from his experience about investment readiness for the Impactors. Investment is such an essential part of building a business; entrepreneurs valued his insights from the investor’s perspective. He spoke about what investors looked for when they are approached and the factors that demonstrate that a venture is ready for investment.

On the third day, the facilitators focused on business operations, sales and distribution and the power of storytelling. To add on to their learning, Risalat Siddique from Analyzen spoke about ‘Minimum Viable Branding for Startups’ on the final day. Impactors learned how to evaluate their marketing and branding efforts using key metrics and the key elements of branding.       

Throughout the workshops, the participants reflected and updated their mission and vision. They improved their pitches; Impactors were encouraged to account for the various ways information should be tailored for different audiences. This prepared them for the jury pitch that was held on the final day and a deciding factor in their selection to the next round.

Finally, the Impactors presented their pitches in front of six external juries. Among the jury board members were, Nawed Wahed Asif, Head of Treasury from IPDC, Zareen Mahmud, Founder and ED of HerStory Foundation, Ludo Kockelkorn, Senior Expert, PUM Netherlands, Nirjhor Rahman, CEO of Bangladesh Angels, Shakeb Nabi, Bangladesh Country Manager for Christian Aid and Sebastian Groh, Managing Director of ME SOLshare Ltd.

Nirjhor summarized, “I was really impressed with all the teams. I love their enthusiasm and their passion for the problem that they are trying to solve. Clearly, they have done a lot of work on their products and have thought a lot about their markets and the business model.”  

Sebastian shared, “Toru continues to be able to pick such fantastic representatives of the entrepreneurship landscape here in Bangladesh. We saw a wide variety of entrepreneurs at different stages of development, all very unique in their own sense. Great solutions!”

Shakeb Nabi added, “It’s been a huge learning opportunity to be part of this event. I am sure some of these ideas will make a mark in Bangladesh.”

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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