Key Takeaways From Opportunities in Bangladesh

BLOCK71 Entrepreneurial Link: Bangladesh x Singapore

Market Opportunities in Bangladesh

The Entrepreneurial Link series by NUS Enterprise serves as a bilateral platform for knowledge exchange and networking between start-ups, investors, corporate partners in Singapore and key overseas entrepreneurial hubs. It also aims to deepen the links between the Singapore entrepreneurial ecosystem and the respective overseas hubs.

In this installment of Entrepreneurial Link, BLOCK71 Singapore, in conjunction with Boston Consulting Group, connects with a group of like-minded start-ups, focusing on how Bangladesh based companies can become partners with Singaporean start-ups to source for outsourced talents.

Challenges In Singapore

Singapore is a leading innovator in the region with a growing number of recognizable startups. However, modern-day challenges such as an ageing population, shortage of talents and the rising cost of living are hindering local companies from hiring suitable yet cost-effective talent.

Why Bangladesh Makes a Good Partner

Andrew Tan, CEO of PayPlus | Fumiko Inada, CEO of TransferBee

1. Second Fastest Growing Economy

Bangladesh is the second fastest growing economy in the world (>7% growth in GDP annually) and has a high mobile penetration rate (75%+ i.e. 130M+ mobile subscribers). A fast growing economy with high mobile usage enables mobile-centric companies to access the market.

2. ‘Optimistic’ population

An ‘optimistic’ population refers to a market of consumers who are more willing to upgrade to better services. Bangladesh is regarded as a more ‘optimistic’ population compared to countries such as China and India,  making it easier for startups to introduce new products in the market.

3. Low-cost Outsourcing Platform

Cost-effective talents

Singaporean based companies are able to outsource talents from Bangladesh at a lower cost. Bangladesh has a large talent pool with half a million university graduates each year.

Lower cost of developing solutions

Bangladeshi companies have been helping startups source for business solutions for the last few years, including successful startups such as Foodpanda and Gojek. Outsourcing enables Singapore startups to hire tech talents in Bangladesh to develop cost-effective solutions, without necessarily having to move their operations overseas.

Countries such as India may have better talent, but small startup companies may not be able to attract or have access to their top talents as compared to Bangladesh.

3 Ways to outsource talents from Bangladesh

1. Work with a local agency in Bangladesh

An effective way to mitigate the challenge of finding talents is to work with local partners or agencies who are familiar with the available talents in Bangladesh.

2. Train in-house University graduates

Singapore based companies can choose to obtain university graduates from Bangladesh and train them in house based on specific roles they are suitable in.

3. Sieve out suitable talents

A good way to evaluate the skills of potential talents is through administering tests. Talents can be shortlisted through appropriate skill tests before being requested for an interview. This way, employers can save time in finding candidates with suitable and desired skills.

Tips to Enter the Bangladesh Market

1. Keep things simple

The product should be simple to use, hassle free and a ‘no-brainer’. In this case, some features of the product may have to be removed in order to fit into the market. However, the desire for the modified product should still be strong even if some features are stripped off.

2. Offer a Low Cost Product or Service

Ideally, the pricing of the product should be kept low, compared to product pricing in consumer markets such as Singapore.

3. Low-risk product

Risk refers to the chance of losing any form of credit such as digital money. Keep your product low-risk by providing refund policies and removing holding periods (deposits are on hold).  This can help to encourage potential consumers to try out the product.

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