Last month, Firoz Patel, Executive Vice President at Payza, visited Dhaka to attend Bangladesh’s e-Commerce Week 2013 and Dhaka Startup Weekend on behalf of Payza, a sponsor of both events.
During his time in Bangladesh, Patel participated in roundtable discussions about the future of e-commerce in Bangladesh and spoke with Nazneen Sultana, the Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, and Ekushey Television.
Here are Firoz Patel’s thoughts about Payza’s presence in Bangladesh and the challenges involved in bringing the country’s growing e-commerce sector to the global marketplace.
Moving Bangladesh Forward
Payza has one goal in Bangladesh – to help the country move into the global e-commerce marketplace smoothly and confidently. With that in mind, I spent my time in Dhaka learning about what Payza can do to help propel the sector forward.
The majority of the country is still without internet access, but the same was true for most countries in the West only ten years ago. Soon every Bangladeshi will be able to access the internet, either in their homes or from their phones – and the country will begin to experience the same transformations (and growing pains) as we did. So I am glad to offer my knowledge and experience of the challenges we faced during that time, in the hopes that a smoother transition may be had for Bangladesh.
Here are a few points of advice that I can never stress enough:
- Cater to the youth: The young generation will define the future of the country. This generation has grown comfortable with technology from a young age and will spur the economy on to build a vibrant e-commerce sector in Bangladesh.
- Institute an open-door policy: Payza lives by the policy that customers are the most important thing, but it’s true of all business. When launching a new e-commerce shop, you must ensure usability and accessibility. In other words, keep your shop door open.
- Listen to the concerns of both banks and consumers: The point of e-commerce is to give people what they want quickly and to make it easy for them to pay for it. But there are also concerns about fraud and bad money. Banks need to be confident that money will be clean and owed balances will be paid. Understanding the reasons behind fraud is the only way to stop it for good and continue moving forward.
Before we launched Payza’s services in Bangladesh, businesses in the country had no access to global online payment processing services. Because of that, the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh is still very young and there are two main things which are lacking, and preventing the country from fully entering the online marketplace.
- Infrastructure: Adequate channels will need to be put in place to facilitate the flow of money within the country and across borders. Bangladesh lacks the infrastructure and data centers necessary for the movement of large volumes money across long distances.
- Internet access: Internet penetration in the country is still low, and online businesses need to cross borders to become profitable, but the logistics of international trade, both in money transfers as well as the shipping of physical products, are a new challenge for Bangladesh.
Payza’s next step in Bangladesh is to encourage more creators and craftspeople to get online in order to sell their products outside the country, and thereby stimulate the local economy. Payza has already made it easy for Bangladeshis outside the country to send money home with SimpleSendBD, and we are planning to bring that service to mobile devices as well. And after that we’re going to introduce SimplySend to more countries.
At Payza, we’re really passionate about encouraging the growth of small business international online marketplaces. As the only global payment platform operating in Bangladesh, We will continue to play a key role in the development of online business in the country.
Payza and Patel were invited to Dhaka by Payza’s business partner in Bangladesh, Casada Technology. In collaboration with Cadasa, Payza offers its online payment platform via Payza.com and remittance services via SimplySendBD to Bangladeshis at home and abroad.
Bangladesh E-Commerce Week
E-Commerce Week, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was organized by Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS). Payza acted as a partner company and participated in the exhibition held on January 11 and 12, one of many events and programs held throughout Dhaka during the week.
Dhaka Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization that runs events across the globe designed to bring together entrepreneurs and stimulate the growth of small business. The organization has held “Startup Weekends” in over 200 cities around the world, where anyone can attend workshops and pitch ideas in the hopes of forming partnerships or founding new startup companies. The event was hosted in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for the first time on the weekend of January 10, with Payza as a sponsor and Firoz Patel in attendance.