Economic and social prosperity rests upon the ability of communities to create healthy and productive lives for themselves. Over the last decade, vast improvements in health, education, infant mortality, and life expectancy in Bangladesh have driven remarkable progress for its people and economy. With an average economic growth of over 6 percent per year, per capita income rising almost threefold, and the rate of extreme poverty cut by more than half, Bangladesh has transformed from one of the poorest regions in South Asia to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Though Bangladesh has made impressive strides, there is still widespread poverty, with new challenges emerging such as rising levels of youth unemployment and increasing exposure to environmental health risks as the country urbanizes. Rapid mass migration to cities in Bangladesh has strained its infrastructure for health, transportation, and waste management, while simultaneously depleting rural communities of traditional labor and prosperity. About 24 million Bangladeshis still live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day, and one in ten of the country’s 44 million youth are unemployed. Further, the country’s large and shifting population overtaxes its land and water resources, resulting in pollution, resource depletion, and food insecurity, as well as limits its capacity to provide adequate health services, with a current estimated ratio of only one registered physician per 1,847 people.
As Bangladesh transitions from a low to middle-income economy, boosting entrepreneurship and innovation and creating better and more inclusive jobs are critical to maintaining its growth trajectory. The Tiger Challenge aims to find and support start-ups that will provide quality education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, and promote Bangladesh as a country that fosters innovation. To do so, the Tiger IT Foundation is seeking applications from Bangladesh-based innovators with new ideas, tested prototypes, or established businesses that will:
- Accelerate economic growth and create high-paying jobs across geographies and demographics in Bangladesh, especially among marginalized populations and youth;
- Provide equitable and cost-effective access to services such as healthcare, education, and skills training to enable Bangladeshi society to adapt and thrive in an environment of changing technology and demands;
- Reduce economic vulnerability and lower barriers to global participation and inclusion, including expanding access to information, internet, and digital literacy; and
- Support economic development and food security in rural Bangladesh through sustainable agricultural methods that are resource efficient, low/zero carbon, and do not contribute to regional pollution.
Up to USD $2 million in investment funding is available for selected winners of the Tiger Challenge, including a total USD $200,000 for Bangladesh-based winners.