Bangladeshi students might be bringing home the Hult prize, known as the noble prize for students around the world. A team of three students from Bangladesh University of Professionals will represent the country with their project Team Safewheel in the 10th Hult Prize on September 14, 2019.
The Hult Prize Foundation sought for start-up ideas which solve burning social issues through a business endeavour. They set different themes every year. This year the theme was unemployment.
Three teams from Bangladesh Banai, Employ me, and Safewheel made their way to the regional round in Shanghai. Among 37 teams in the acceleration round, team Safewheel became the first finalists among six in London.
Safewheel is an idea that focuses on inadequate number of ambulances in our country. It has come up with a solution to create three wheeled cost-effective ambulances to serve the rural people and it offers employment for two people at the same time.
Mazbahul Islam, Rafiq Islam, and Faysal Islam are the three dreamers of the team. The three friends are now on their final semester in marketing department. As the final round will take place at the UN headquarter, they all are busy with last moment preparations like re-checking the ideas, visa and all other formalities.
Faysal became the spokesperson for his team. He said, "They wanted socially impactful ideas with profitability that will create employment for at least 10 thousand people in next 10 years. We kept brainstorming about how we can do something that will be a social work yet bring money."
This is when they thought of focusing on a regular suffering Bangladeshi people have to face—insufficient ambulance service in cities and towns.
They wanted to bring out the real picture so they started visiting rural areas. Their finding after an extensive research was shocking.
There are only 6,000 ambulances in the country, and 50 percent of them operates inside Dhaka city alone. This automatically excludes many people living in the remotest areas of our country.
"Ambulances are supposed to have paramedics in it for patient's emergency. In fact, the ambulance drivers also should have some primary knowledge of a few basic things. But in our country only 7 percent ambulances have paramedics", Faysal stated regretfully.
Hence, they thought of turning a three-wheel CNG vehicle into an ambulance that go 70km/hr. There will be room for a trained driver, one paramedic, necessary equipment and one attendant of patients in these ambulances.
They have proposed a short paramedic training and specialised training for ambulance drivers. Practical implementation of their ideas may solve the lingering problem of ambulance insufficiency in the country while creating new employment scopes for people.
The winning prize would be one million dollars. If they do win it, the team plans to reach out to rural people, educational and religious institutions informing them about this ambulance service.
Their university authority has been the greatest support to them, said another team member Rafiq. In fact, they managed finances for their participation abroad. Mazbahul spent amazing time in Sanghai and London in previous rounds where they met teams from different countries. He is confident and looks forward to the final round with hope.
They will be starting for the final round on September 10. Whatever happens, the team wants their idea implemented regardless.