A freelance photographer, Tareq Ahmed had always wanted to expand his credentials and skills by taking part in online skill development courses.
There are many platforms that offer skill development courses but unfortunately, most of the reputed ones, such as Coursera or Udemy, offer content only in English or other foreign language.
Tareq has always struggled with foreign tongues.
After a long search, however, he came across a platform named Bohubrihi on Facebook, which offered good quality content in Bangla.
Bohubrihi is an edtech (short for educational technology) company that offers skill development courses online.
Starting from basic computer knowledge to IELTS practice tips - they offer a variety of courses.
But their primary focus is on technology and business related courses.
The courses are especially designed for Bangladeshi students to help them in their professional life.
Tareq enrolled in their free trial course on Adobe Illustrator.
"I honestly did not expect the course to be this detailed and precise," he said.
Being satisfied, he enrolled in another course by Bohubrihi and so far, he is happy with it.
How it all started
Though the company now has a team of at least 10 people, it started out with only two university friends, Yanur Islam Piash and Galib Hassan Khan.
They opened up to this correspondent about the journey of Bohubrihi - which roughly translates to "multi-dimensional" in Bangla.
Talking about when they started, Piash said Galib had always been a career-oriented, pragmatic young man. Being a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) was not enough for him.
He wanted to be as skilled as possible, and spent his leisure hours in learning through skill development courses.
In fact, the duo bonded while discussing the skill development courses available online. It was in 2016 and they were only second year students.
While taking the courses, they felt that Coursera, Udemy, or edX contents were not designed for the Bangladeshi industry.
Undoubtedly, these courses teach new things, but they might also seem out of context for Bangladeshi students.
This is why Piash and Galib thought about contextualising the knowledge in ways which would help students in our country.
They thought of opening up a platform that will teach courses in Bangla so that it reaches the highest number of people.
All of these ideas and reflections remained prototypes, as they were young and did not have enough resources to bring the idea to life.
Nevertheless, they did not let any obstacle discourage them.
They kept working with a long term plan where Piash concentrated on improving knowledge on web development and Galib focused on course quality.
Alongside refining their knowledge, they began to save up money they earned from tutoring students.
When the two enthusiastic minds began their journey, they had only Tk15,000.
Their determination and passion did not go unnoticed by people around them and one of their alumni from BUET stepped in to help them.
With that help, they launched a beta website in late 2018 when they were still undergraduate students.
It took them a while to generate revenue.
They started officially as an organised company in January 2019.
How it has been so far
Piash thinks that they have a long way to go, but he is hopeful about their growth.
He said that in the beginning, they were not very efficient with branding and marketing strategies and had fewer contents.
They were experimenting with business models like an open market place model where anyone could submit courses and earn as an instructor.
But they realised that this model may not guarantee content quality.
Now, they are networking with experts of specific industries and inviting them to collaborate with the Bohubrihi team.
This way, they have been able to provide good content.
So far, 28,000 students have enrolled in 27 different courses on their platform.
The students have to pay only once to enrol in a course.
They get a lifetime access with this one time pay system. It gives them flexibility in learning.
Popular courses and cost
GRE and Excel are two of their most popular courses.
But most of their courses are designed to teach people computer programming, business, data analysis– things which are useful in professional life.
Within a short time, they were able to partner with companies like Brain Station 23 and Intelligent Machines Limited with a view to constructing courses on technology and software engineering.
The course prices are between Tk1,000 and Tk4,000; payment can be made with bKash or credit card.
There are some free courses on WordPress, PowerPoint, Excel, and SPSS software.
All the courses are in Bangla and the analogies used to explain technical terms are easy for users to understand.
During the shutdown, their revenue has increased.
In the one and half years since they started, they earned the most in April 2020.
Future plans for Bohubrihi
According to their website, there are 68 courses being offered.
In future, they want to increase the number of courses and work is under way for 20 new courses.
The company is working on a career track programme which is a package of all the courses needed to become a web developer.
It will take four months to complete, but it will ensure depth of knowledge for aspiring web developers.
Their plan is to dominate the e-learning industry by providing best content on programming, software engineering, and data science analytics by 2021.
They also want to eradicate the fear and confusion surrounding e-learning in Bangladesh.
Already they have recruited campus ambassadors and they are collaborating with university clubs to work closely with students.