The government has initiated Startups Bd Ltd and provided Tk50 crore to support startups, said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for information and communication technology, on Monday.
"It will provide free hosting facilities for the startups as well," he said at the virtual inauguration of "Founders Against Covid-19".
Palak said the government would facilitate the sharing of co-working places for startups and mid-sized IT companies at its IT parks in several cities.
sBusiness along with The Business Standard, Don Sumdany Facilitation and Consultancy, and Better Stories created the platform Founders Against Covid-19.
Due to the pandemic, startups and mid-sized companies are facing unprecedented challenges. As per Light Castle, approximately 80 percent of startups and mid-sized firms are observing complete shutdown in operation. Their challenges include cash flow, drop in sales and customer acquisition.
sBusiness, an initiative of Sheba.xyz, created the platform to address these challenges. Through this, SMEs can internally buy and sell products and services under a fair deal, and compare the best qualities and honest pricing at one place.
Currently, it is offering different services, including human resources, co-working space, accounting solutions, cleaning and disinfecting etc. Founders Against Covid-19 is also offering Tk10 million in credit for those who do not have enough financial capability right now.
Currently, Sheba is offering two service packages – a cost saver package to minimise expenses, and a revenue package to sell products or services.
"I believe tech giants will grow in our country in the future, and to make it true, everybody has to work together," said Palak, adding sBusiness is working to bring several businesses under one platform.
Referring to new startups, he said, "Creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, co-creation and co-investment are required for a better work-plan."
Sharier Khan, executive editor of The Business Standard, said, "All businesses are depending on the government to recoup the fall. But the government is not capable enough to meet everyone's need."
That is why private initiative is needed, he said.
"Sheba has taken such an initiative by making this platform to ease the hurdles of the startups," he added.
"As it is a good initiative, and The Business Standard is a reputed daily focusing on business, we joined this platform," said Sharier when asked why the newspaper had joined Founders Against Covid-19.
Adnan Imtiaz Halim, chief executive of Sheba.xyz, said, "We want to bring all the startups under an integrated service, and we will share each other's service."
"We made a virtual office to cut the cost of a physical office rent to help businesses overcome the crisis," he added.
Ghulam Sumdany Don, chief inspirational officer of Don Sumdany Facilitation and Consultancy, and Minhaz Anwar, chief storyteller of Better Stories, also reiterated the platform's good aspects.
They said it is a great initiative and that is why they have extended their cooperation to the platform.
Tina F Jabeen, investment adviser at Startup Bangladesh under the ICT Division, and Syed Almas Kabir, president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, also spoke at the programme.