Spring 2015 Catalysts

Meet the Social Entrepreneurs of Cohort 3 (May ’15)!

 Jolkona hosted eight Bangladeshi social entrepreneurs from April 19 to May 8, 2015 for our third cohort of Jolkona Catalyst in collaboration with the US Embassy in Dhaka. Cohort 3 attended workshops to refine their business, met the Seattle Start-up community and learned to pitch to investors.


Adnan Hossain, CEO & Founder, It's Humanity Foundation

Adnan Hossain, CEO & Founder, It’s Humanity Foundation

Since his youth, Adnan’s family had a tradition of distributing winter clothing to remote villages in Bangladesh. On one of his trips to a northern village of Bangladesh he met a woman and was impressed by her traditional handmade crafts. He got to know others in that village with the same skills that made these beautiful handmade goods as a pastime.

Adnan learned that these talented crafters did not have the means to send their children to school and was prompted to start his venture. It’s Humanity Foundation is a non-profit focused on providing free basic education to underprivileged children and business training to adults that allows them to transform a crafting skill into a viable source of income.

Adnan Hossain holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from BRAC University with a major in marketing and a minor in human resource management. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, reading and learning about history, culture, and food.


atuar rahman

Ataur Rahman, Founder & CEO
Amar Desh Amar Gram

Ataur studied Computer Networking at University of Bedforshire in England but wanted to apply his skills in a meaningful way. Upon returning to Bangladesh in 2009, he worked with minority groups of independent farmers and village producers providing low cost ecommerce services. With a mission to reduce poverty in villages outside of Dhaka, Ataur founded his venture. By setting up needed information and communication technology in these villages and establishing training centers that are run by local youth, Amar Desh Amar Gram puts the power of technology directly into the hands of farmers and their families providing ecommerce training and an online marketplace for them to sell their goods.

Ataur Rahman holds a Bachelors of Science Honors degree from University of Bedfordshire. He enjoys doing research and learning from subject matter experts as well as traveling and spending time with family.


debojit saha

Debojit Saha, Co-founder & CEO

Debojit was running a market research firm while pursuing Bachelors in BusinessAdministration degree at Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.  One of his projects at the firm was to study the cost efficiency of Ready Made Garment (RMG) factories inBangladesh. During his research he visited various RMG factories and he found that women had the highest rates of absenteeism, further investigation uncovered a significant issue that afflicts all female garment workers. The high cost of sanitary products often dispensed at male run stores led female garment workers to make their own sanitary pads from remnant fabric. These make shift solutions are not properly washed or dried causing infection or other issues that prevent them from going to work. Debojit wanted to solve this problem and he eventually co-founded Shurokka, which makes low-cost, high-quality disposable sanitary napkins that are subsidized by garment factory owners and distributed by approachable women who also provide valuable education related to personal hygiene to female factory workers.

Debojit holds a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from the University of Dhaka with a major in finance and a minor in marketing. When he can find some free time, Debojit enjoys traveling and photography as well as exploring new restaurants with friends.


Mehraab Anwar

Mehraab A. Anwar, Vice President
Footsteps Foundation

Footsteps Foundation is a youth-based volunteer organization. Mehraab, our youngest Catalyst,is proud to representing an organization whose mission it is to empower the youth inBangladesh to pave the way for improving their communities. At a young age, he saw the illnesses that resulted from lack of clean water in some communities, which motivates him to find more youths who want to actively create change. Footsteps reaches out to youths and trains them to engage in events and initiatives that tackle important social, national,environmental issues. Through his work with Footsteps, Mehraab hopes to set an example for others who aspire to have a positive impact in Bangladesh.

Mehraab Alam attended University of South Florida majoring in marketing and management.He is currently taking a short break to focus on Footsteps. Mehraab enjoys many hobbies and can be seen behind a camera taking pictures or video or engaging in public speaking to share his experiences with others.


Neelima Das

Dr. Neelima Das, CEO & Founder
Green Emancipation

As a public health professional, Dr. Das has a keen interest in bringing to light the significant role natural medicine can have in improving the lives of families who have little or no income.Apart from the health benefits of employing natural medicine in preventive care and as treatment for other ailments, growing the herbs and plants used in these natural medicines provides an entrepreneurial opportunity and source of income to many poor families in Bangladesh. Dr. Das founded Green Emancipation to promote healthier living and to lift families out of poverty. She and her team have spent the past few months compiling needed research and information on plants, herbs and growing methods and plan to make it available on their online platform and future smart phone app.

Dr. Neelima Das has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from Rajshahi MedicalCollege, Rajshahi University. She also holds a Master of Health informatics and Master of Public Health degree. She enjoys listening to music and singing and has had guest appearances on radio talk shows to speak on topics related to health and development.


Shazeeb Islam

Shazeeb Islam, Founder & CEO
Social Business Youth Alliance – Global

During his time in university, Shazeeb was inspired by the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the concept of businesses that strive to solve societal issues in a sustainable way.  In 2013, he and seven other students who shared his passion created Social Business Youth Alliance Global,a non-profit organization that trains youths interested in launching social businesses. To date they have inspired more than 2000 young people and have helped launch 3 successful social businesses.

Shazeeb Islam holds a Masters in Business Administration from University of Dhaka. You may find Shazeeb playing cricket on his free time and he enjoys visiting new places.




Ferdous Mottakin

Ferdous Mottakin, Founder & CEO
Offroad Bangladesh

Ferdous has had the opportunity to travel throughout much of Bangladesh. He was proud of the beauty and rich history that Bangladesh had to offer and yet found that information about the wonderful places he visited was not readily available. As he got to know various regions of the country and the people who lived there, he felt many would benefit from an increase in tourism, which could help lift their economy. Ferdous started Offroad Bangladesh, a crowd-sourced platform that engages travelers and connects them to destinations throughoutBangladesh and to services provided by locals who live in these areas. In doing so, he hopes this will mean new income sources and give locals access to opportunities that would only be available if they left their communities.

Ferdous Mottakin holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC. Aside from his love of travel, Ferdous also enjoys checking out new movies and spending time with his 3-year-old son.


The founder of traveled throughout Bangladesh as a Research Assistant at the International Food Policy Research Institute, which put her in touch with some of the most underprivileged members of society. She realized that a lack of stable employment was to blame for many of their hardships. Following these experiences, she analyzed the Bangladeshi labor market and found systemic inefficiencies that exacerbated unemployment and underemployment rates. She set out to find a solution to disrupt this ineffective cycle. She and her business partner are now working on TrainedBD, an online platform that connects trained manual laborers with employers. They will be increasing the chance of a good fit by helping low and semi-skilled workers find stable jobs with reputable employers.