One simple idea to achieve entrepreneurial success

Team Kaizen, Bangladesh
Gold Award Winner (University Division), 2013

In 2013, while they were finishing their final year studies at the Institute of Business Administration at University of Dhaka, three promising students established “Kaizen CRS”, a market research firm. They worked on a cost efficiency study with a ready-made garment factory, and witnessed firsthand how a seemingly routine healthcare issue badly affected the female workforce and the business.

In Bangladesh, women form a big part of the workforce in many industries and contribute immensely towards the country’s economic development. Despite this, discussions about menstrual health are still considered taboo, and sanitary napkins are considered a luxury item for many. On average, 2 out of 10 women stay out of work during their menstrual periods, which accounts for as much as 10% of their annual working hours.

After gaining these insights, a business idea quickly sprang to mind – there is a genuine demand for sanitary products. Made from local bamboo fibers, Shurokkha (meaning protection) is a disposable sanitary pad which is both affordable and eco-friendly.

With this raw business idea in mind, the three fresh-faced entrepreneurs wanted to test the waters and get feedback from people who know business. “The Global Student Challenge turned out to be the best platform to share the idea, and meet like-minded people - entrepreneurs, mentors and judges,” said Debojit Saha, one of the founders of Kaizen CRS. 

Team Kaizen’s solid business plan, outstanding presentation and meaningful cause behind the project won the hearts of the judges. They were awarded the Theme Award – Health & Wellness, and were eventually honoured as the Gold Award Winner (University Divsion) of GSC 2013.

“The fact that we got to share our business plan with a wide range of audiences - and the fact that they liked the concept - made me more confident in the work we were doing,” said Saha. The team has been maintaining communication and receiving guidance from one of the judges after the competition ended.

Since winning in 2013, the team has successfully procured financial backing and conducted an extensive product testing with resounding results from female factory workers – around 70% of test participants will purchase the new product when it hits the shelves. They are now working on the packaging and market research, and the product is set to launch in 2016.

“We believe that the growth of our business means providing healthier and affordable hygiene solutions to women around the world. Regardless of socioeconomic background, every woman should enjoy good health and this business is well aimed to achieve this vision. We believe that we will touch lives of millions of families,” said Saha.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, Saha has this to say to other young people, “When you graduate you will see most of your friends joining corporations with stable incomes. Most of your friends will have a more secured life. Most of your friends will know what they will be doing on their weekends. But if you are serious about your dream and truly believe in your idea, then ‘BE THE FEW!’ Remember your race track is completely different from most of them, and therefore it is unwise to compare yourself with them. Be unique in your own way.”