Let's Disrupt: Preparing Small Businesses for the Post Crisis World

Date: May 6, 2020
Time: 4:00 am - 4:55 am
Contact: Maimun Ur Rashid Mustafa
Phone: +8801977044778

Let’s Disrupt | The COVID19 Series

Preparing Small Businesses

SMEs, Development & Sustainability: Charting Strategies to Succeed in a Post Crisis World

The “Let's Disrupt” series sparks conversations on contemporary issues shaping our world. For this first globinar in the Covid-19 Series, we will dig into how global pandemic is disrupting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing nations, highlighted in the context of the Bangladesh economy. We'll be discussing challenges and opportunities... for growth and success in the post-Covid-19 environment.

With limited resources and high vulnerability to such shocks, how will SMEs navigate these turbulent times and maybe even come out on top? How can low and lower-middle income earners bounce back as they watch their jobs getting destroyed?

While there are clear threats and numerous difficult questions, Covid-19 can also open new avenues for the SMEs. Consider a variety of new manufacturing opportunities in textiles, food and beverage, hand sanitizer, PPEs and more.

Any individual or company dealing with SMEs and green opportunities  in developing economies will benefit from significant learnings offered by the expert panel representatives of social businesses, economists and sustainability experts.     

Join us May 6, 2020 at 5pm GMT+6 (4am PT / 7am ET / 11am London / 5pm Dhaka). Link provided upon registration.


  • Zeeshan Abedin - Country Economist of the International Growth Centre (IGC)
  • Farzeen Ferdous Alam, Chairman of Oggro Ventures
  • Bijon Islam CEO - LightCastle Partners
  • Dishen Maharaj - Co-founder of B.E.T.


  • Global Chamber Barisal
  • United Nations Development Program in Bangladesh
  • Movementum Consultancy and Facilitation Group


Zeeshan Abedin, Country Economist of the International Growth Centre (IGC) in Bangladesh. Zeeshan is the Country Economist for the International Growth Centre (IGC) in Bangladesh, and boasts a portfolio of work that focuses on different aspects of the manufacturing sector (particularly that of Ready Made Garments) spanning from productivity, technology adoption, innovation when it comes to management practices to workers' welfare that furthers the understanding of gender and financial inclusion within it. In this regard, Zeeshan has experience with disseminating relevant research findings to stakeholders at National Skills Development Authority (NSDA) and the various agencies of the Ministry of Labour in Bangladesh. As per the IGC's mandate and in his current capacity, Zeeshan works at the confluence of policymakers and academic researchers to instill the usage of evidence in the policymaking process.  In this pursuit, he engages closely with counterparts in the Government of Bangladesh (GoB). Some of the IGC's most notable work in recent years have been with the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), the Planning Commission's General Economic Division (GED), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Bangladesh Bank and the Power Division.  Prior to joining the IGC, Zeeshan spent nearly three years in International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where his role largely entailed strengthening the capacity of an Agricultural Policy Support Unit (APSU) within the Ministry of Agriculture.  It was at IFPRI that he got his first opportunity to see RCTs at work and to eventually play an active part in developing one countrywide along with the Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Agricultural Extension. Zeeshan started off his career as an academician at the School of Business of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) after a brief stint in financial auditing at a ‘big four’ public accounting firm, Deloitte.  As for his academic credentials, he was formally trained in Economics and Accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Farzeen Ferdous Alam, Chairman of Oggro Ventures. Farzeen is an economist turned farmer and Chairman of Oggro Ventures, a holding company for social enterprises that are obsessed with solving development challenges using the power of the market.  He started his entrepreneurial journey while in High School when he founded OGGRO, a youth led organization which provides education to visually impaired girls across the country. His portfolio includes Ferdous Biotech (Pvt) Ltd, a leading private sector based biotechnology company that uses tissue culture technology to produce virus free high quality produce and flora. Buying directly from farmers, the company exports to countries including Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Oman. As of now, Farzeen has now built a network of over 20,000 farmers who are now stakeholders in Oggro Ventures. Farzeen also founded Oggro Dairy (the first home delivery service of fresh, pasteurised bottled milk in Dhaka from its own farm) and from 2018 has serving as the Managing Director of Joikko Agro Ltd, the novel social franchise based agri trading company in Bangladesh that creates value addition for small hold farmers of Bangladesh by aggregating produce, providing high quality inputs in credit terms, access to seasonal finance and developing lease systems for introducing agrimachinery. Farzeen has been recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations with the Youth Solidarity  Fund award and by MTV Staying Alive Foundation UK. He was awarded the “Fearless Bangladeshi” Award by ACI in 2018 for his leadership in agriculture of Bangladesh. He was recently invited by the UK Government to be part of their Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s International Leaders Programme. 

Bijon Islam CEO - LightCastle PartnersBijon is the cofounder and CEO of LightCastle Partners, an organization that focuses on creating data-driven opportunities for growth and impact for development partners,corporates, SMEs and Startups. Over the last five years Bijon has led the company in engagements across 100+ businesses/development partners, 300+ SMEs/Startups and 20+ accelerator programs in multiple industries including Technology, Agriculture, Health, Energy and Manufacturing. Recently, LightCastle has also partnered to launch a Smart Capital Investment Program which facilitates growth capital for SMEs/Startups. Previously Bijon has worked with Citibank, N.A. and Citi Foundation and oversaw execution of Bangladesh's first Interest Rate Swap, Equity Convertible Bonds, Largest IPO, Microfinance Securitization and Block Equity Trades. Due to outstanding performance, Bijon had received the CEO Excellence Awards for two years in a row in the organization. In 2015 Bijon was nominated as 15 under 35 in Bangladesh by Future Startup (leading Startup media in Bangladesh) and Top 7 Rising Young CEOs by Startup Dhaka. Bijon is an active ecosystem builder and has attended 50+ entrepreneurship development events as judge/panelist/resource-person including Startup Weekend, Startup Cup and Innovation Extreme. Bijon has Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.

Dishen Maharaj - Co-founder of B.E.T. Dishen is the co-founder of Business Enabling Toolbox (B.E.T), www.yvrbet.com, a unique digital advisor for Startups and SME businesses. B.E.T coaches businesses and empowers them to make better decisions that result in Growth, Improvement, Transformation, and Sustainability. From Johannesburg, South Africa, Dishen has over 15 years of Local and Global experience ranging from Telecommunications, Financial Services, Power & Utilities, Transport, and Manufacturing, in both the Public and Private Sector. Dishen is also a Business Mentor and Entrepreneur operating in various industries. His broad-based experience ranges from Auditing, Senior Management Consulting, Business & Product Development, Business Process Analysis, and Project Management. Dishen's broad exposure enables him to easily connect the dots, be adaptable, resilient, and express his strong commercial acumen. Dishen has been involved with and has led many, first of its kind initiatives, globally. Dishen has an Accounting background, two post-graduate qualifications in Business Management & Administration, and an Executive MBA from one of Africa’s top-ranked business schools - The Gordon Institute of Business Science. Leveraging his wholistic experiences has aided in the creation of B.E.T, which continues to see huge global success.


Moderator: Doug Bruhnke - Founder/CEO of Global Chamber®Doug is an international entrepreneur dedicated to helping members of Global Chamber® reach new markets across metros and borders. He is a two-time expat with Dupont in Tokyo and Singapore with over 30 years of global business experience in nearly all countries and segments. Doug is a regional advisor for U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and a member of collaborating international groups including the Arizona District Export Council. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Utah and an EMBA from Michigan State University.

About Global Chamber®: Global Chamber® is a growing and collaborating community of CEOs, executives and leaders in 525 metro regions around the world... connecting member businesses to new opportunities and advancing growth and success. It's the only chamber of commerce in the world operating in hundreds of locations that helps exporting, importing and investing members to connect through warm introductions to clients, partners, projects and resources. Global Chamber® is a registered trademark of Global Chamber, LLC.