mPower Social Enterprises, Dhaka-based technology focused social enterprise, has decided to open up its internal incubator program mCube to early stage social enterprises working on solving social challenges. mCube will offer work space, seed funding, technical support, mentorship and other relevant supports to select startups. Here is Mridul Chowdhury, CEO of mPower, in a recent interview with Future Startup about the program:
“There are a lot of young people with bright ideas but due to lack of proper platform, they often cannot take their ideas to the market. Some of them manage to fund their ideas from their own pockets or through a grant or competition but often with the limited funds they fail to assess the market feasibility let alone getting some traction.
Due to lack of opportunity to test their ideas, many ends up doing things that are often supply driven and based on pure gut feeling that “I think it will work”. But in reality, a lot of intuition doesn’t work.
You have to test your idea. There is a rigorous process of testing intuitiveness. Unless you go through this process you cannot say whether it is worth investing or not. Just because it makes sense logically it does not make it a good investment. This is where we can help startups and early-stage ventures.”
What is mCube?
mCube started as an in-house incubation platform of mPower. Over the past years, it has helped some of mPower’s internal projects such as TraumaLink, Jeeon, mTracker etc which were initiatives by mPower team members. Now mPower is opening it up for people outside mPower at a limited scale where it will allow early stage social enterprises that are trying to solve critical social problems to get in and support them with space to funding to connections and more. again from Mr. Mridul Chowdhury:
“We have experience of building companies from scratch, we have our technical team, our connections across industries and other resources that we want to share. They can use our resources and network to test their products. We have also developed a rigorous procedure of testing market feasibility. Along with this support, we are also offering work space. So if you are building a technology driven solution that has a social goal, we think we can help.”
Corporate incubator program has become a thing in recent years. Globally major corporate giants from Unilever to Microsoft have launched incubator programs, both internal and public. In Bangladesh, we have GP, Banglalink and Robi to launch incubator/accelerator programs in different capacities.
However, this is relatively new in the development sector. In Dhaka, Dnet has an incubator/accelerator program called Junction and BRAC has recently launched a competition in the name of Urban Innovation Challenge. All of these initiatives are still at the very early stage.
(Ruhul Kader contributed to this story)