16th edition of the four-day exhibition BASIS SoftExpo 2020 kicks off

The 16th edition of the BASIS SoftExpo kicked off yesterday with the view to showcasing the aptitude of the country’s software industry that is gunning for $5 billion in exports by 2021.

The four-day exposition at the International Convention City Bashundhara is the perfect opportunity for local software and IT companies to display their capabilities to international buyers, said Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), the apex trade body of the ICT industry.

“The exposition is the largest regional technology congress,” he added.

The government has targeted to create a couple million jobs by 2021 -- an aim that is seeming more and more likely by the day.

In the last ten years the ICT sector created 10 lakh jobs, and by 2021 total employment in ICT related professions will hit 20 lakh, said various entrepreneurs and industry leaders during separate sessions on the expo’s opening day.

The government’s initiative to build 28 high-tech parks and provide training programmes across the country has also helped the industry to expand.

If at least two parks are made ready this year, the target would be easier to achieve, Kabir told The Daily Star.

Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid inaugurated the event, where about 300 exhibitions were showcased in the presence of top ICT companies, personalities, key policymakers, industry leaders and other stakeholders.

The government should create scope for people to work on different government projects so that they can become self-dependant through learning, Hamid said, while also stressing on local service development.

The Softexpo will focus on creating more collaborative relationships at the national and international level and inviting trade delegations from various countries to experience the immense potential of Bangladesh’s ICT industry, said Farhana A Rahman, senior vice-president of BASIS.

The exposition was broken up into 10 individual zones, such as the Industry 4.0 Zone and Experience Zone, which highlighted the growth and development of Bangladesh’s ICT sector.

The other zones were VAT, digital education, fintech, software, mobile innovation, digital commerce and IT-enabled services, and business process outsourcing or BPO.

The event, which will wrap up on Sunday, will also feature business to business (B2B) matchmaking sessions between local and foreign companies, including those from Sweden, Japan and the Netherlands.

A ‘BASIS Top Ten Digital-Ready Company’ award will be presented to 10 companies from other verticals for successfully organising B2B sessions with BASIS members.

Besides, there will be about 30 seminars and sessions, where over 100 national and international speakers will share their thoughts on the industry.

An ICT career camp will also be held, where more than 2,000 students from upwards of 45 universities will showcase their innovative projects.

The event is sponsored by Dutch-Bangla Bank.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun and ICT Secretary NM Zeaul Alam also delivered speeches on the occasion.