A self-motivated small business owner with big dreams in Bangladesh
Dewan Jahidul Hassan
Didar Ahmad is a 22-year-old single man who lives with his mother and a brother in Moulvibazar, a northern district of Bangladesh. He was still a teenager when he became responsible for supporting his family. He hoped to set up in business, and from the start he was passionate about digital services, but opportunities were initially very hard to find.
In 2019, he found out about the Digital Post Office (DPO) financial inclusion initiative operating across Bangladesh and used family money to open a DPO store of his own. Through this, he started providing a wide range of services, including passport applications, national ID applications and modifications, birth registrations, land registrations and customer services for mobile financial service providers, alongside delivery services for the DPO.
Around the same time, Didar started building up several other ventures. He began selling a range of electronic devices, furniture, clothes and other products through two e-commerce platforms: Daraz and ekShop. He opened a Facebook store called ‘Tanzuma Telecom & Digital Center’ and a physical shop with the same name. He also did his best to acquire the business skills to support these, starting mainly with what he could learn from YouTube.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Didar’s store was only open for a few hours a day, and his overall business turnover dropped by 50 percent. His monthly revenue, which had been around US$50 during his first year of business in 2019, dropped to an average of $35 a month. During the whole of 2020, he was struggling for income, which was particularly difficult because Didar is a young man with significant responsibilities and runs the businesses on his own.
The following year, when ekShop launched a digital and financial literacy campaign supported by UNCDF and Visa, Didar found the links for the basic modules online and attended all five. The skills he learned made an important difference in his business knowledge. At the end of 2022, he also joined the advanced digital and financial literacy training courses. He took these online on Muktopaath, an e-learning platform for professional skills development over multiple sectors developed by the government of Bangladesh and delivered in Bangla.
Impact of the training on Didar’s family and everyday life
The training modules have made a significant difference to Didar’s business knowledge and thus to his income. He has learned how to create digital content, take photos of products and services, create social media posts and negotiate with suppliers. He particularly appreciated the videos exploring ideas for Facebook paid promotion, which helped him focus on his Facebook page, reach more customers and respond to requests. Overall, his income has grown steadily and now stands at around $150 a month. Alongside this substantial increase, he has improved his business planning, pricing and budgeting. He is much more informed about how savings can be used to invest in future business growth—and he is now in a position where he is generating enough money to be able to save some—so he is saving 10 percent of his monthly earnings.
Impact of the training on Didar’s financial and digital skills and financial decision-making
Impact of the training on Didar’s business
Didar values the learning he has gained and continues to look for online courses, including taking free Facebook meta courses online. He believes that his training courses helped him to grow his business in a number of ways: reaching new customers; increasing his revenue; improving awareness of his brand online; and providing his customers with better service. He says:
ekShop training courses were really useful, and the training videos were easy to follow. I will recommend these courses to others and will try to explain the benefits and how they have helped me to improve my business. It normally takes a lot of money to do these courses, so thank you to the government and ekShop for giving us so much content for free.