Rizvana Hredita, 28; Md Zahin Rohan Razeen, 22


Hydroquo+ is a Dhaka-based startup that uses AI to improve water management. Founded in 2018, Hydroquo+ has developed systems and technology to detect anomalies in water and analyze water quality. The company also consults for government agencies and NGOs on water-quality modeling. In September, Razeen, CEO of Hydroquo+, was named one of the United Nations’ 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals who are leading efforts to combat the world’s most pressing issues.


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Zahin Razeen and his thirst for change

Zahin Razeen

This future world changer explains the tech behind his vision

Since starting working with Footsteps, a social enterprise in Bangladesh, at the age of 16, I’ve heavily advocated many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including number six – clean water and sanitation. Project Trishna – a venture of Footsteps which means “Thirst” in Bengali – is now generating 3-6 million litres of water every year for almost 10,000 individuals in both urban and rural areas of Bangladesh. Over 75 portable filters and counting have been set up throughout the nation in a bid to create clean accessible water for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Working with Footsteps laid down the foundational experience to launch a Bangladesh-based, AI startup: Hydroquo+. The company will address water scarcity by regulating water flows, identifying leaks in pipes for tracking lost water, detecting anomalies, forecasting demand and predicting events.

Exploring and collecting volumes of data integrated with several variables extracted from contaminated water bodies and feeding that to a machine learning algorithm would result in a process that would help differentiate pure and impure water. The next stage would involve using computer vision systems to track live biological particles by taking into account various factors like their metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, etc. This would be crucial for identifying waterborne diseases. The last phase is to to create an Internet of Things (IOT) device (such as a flow sensor integrated with type-C UV LED). The flow sensor will use machine vision and biased classifiers to process streams of data to detect and then eradicate bacteria in-real time, in turn making free flowing water clean and drinkable for large scale use.

By 2030, an estimated 4 billion people will be suffering from due to lack of cleazn water. I’m just doing my bit to create a blueprint for the future water industries. It is no easy task pursuing an undergraduate degree and simultaneously working on Hydroquo, however both go hand in hand. Not to mention, having a sense of humour, good time management, grit, and most importantly a solid work ethic takes you a long way.

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Six young Bangladeshis to join Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague

The United States and the Netherlands will co-host the Summit to be attended by some of the outstanding entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, supporters, and policymakers from around the world.This year will be the ninth edition of the Summit which began when Barack Obama was the president in the US.

The Netherlands Ambassador in Dhaka Harry Verweij and Charge d affaires of the US Embassy Joel Reifman jointly briefed media in Dhaka on Wednesday about the Summit.

They said the Summit could be a ‘game changer’ for enterprises.

It will gather 2,000 of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs, over 300 top investors, policymakers, as well as leading American, Dutch and European corporates, and innovation ecosystem partners in five focus sectors: agriculture, food, connectivity, energy, health, and water.

Access to finance, job creation and women’s economic empowerment will be overarching aspects.

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From Bangladesh, entrepreneurs of LifeSpring, which works on mental health issues, Hydroquo+ and Footsteps Bangladesh on water, Lal Teer Seed Ltd on agriculture, Intelligent Machines Ltd on connectivity, and SOL Share on energy have been selected for the Summit.

They highlighted their work during the press meet organised by the embassies of the Netherlands and the US in Dhaka.

Yahia Md Amin, chairman of the LifeSpring, said they have founded the organisation with a vision to be the nation’s leading community-based mental health institute dedicated to promote mental health as “a pivotal of overall wellness”.

Through advocacy, education, research, and assistance, they are now a $10 million institute with all the major corporates in Bangladesh among their clients.

“We provide comprehensive service. We have psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, online counselling services, rehabilitation services, everything which is needed for the mental health services,” he said, adding that they offer 24/7 services.

“We are working to become a $100 million company in the next seven years and $1 billion company in 25 years by becoming a leader in the mental healthcare sector in South East Asia”.

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Global entrepreneurs, leaders and investors

Global entrepreneurs, leaders and investors address socio-economic challenges

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is a prestigious event which brings together global entrepreneurs, leaders and investors together and promote collaborations to address various socio-economic challenges humans are facing today. Jointly hosted by the US State Department and the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the summit brought together around 2,000 entrepreneurs and investors this year in the beautiful city of Hague to explore solutions and innovations in the fields of water, energy, health and connectivity.

Among the two thousand distinguished individuals invited, six Bangladeshis were chosen to represent their innovation and ideas and secure collaborations to catalyse their work’s current impact. Being chosen among the six to represent Bangladesh at this summit was an incredible honour; an exciting opportunity to be able to meet new people and their ideas which were changing the world.

We, the six Bangladeshis, left for Hague on June 03. Right after arrival we rushed to attend the reception hosted by Michael Pompeo, US secretary of state, and Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands at Town Hall in the Centrum area of the city. The reception was the first-time delegates were able to interact their ideas, each sharing their ideas and work which truly were both commendable and inspiring. It was an opportunity to meet people who were designing gadgets that improved volunteer communication during a natural disaster, developing powerful micro-sensors to monitor water quality in real time and so many more. Innovation was brimming at this event, and it was an incredible opportunity to learn from these brilliant minds.

The summit was officially inaugurated by Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of Netherlands. She expressed her dedication in working with the entrepreneurs in bringing sustainable changes and investment towards the fields of water, energy, health and connectivity. Distinguished speakers– US Secretary of Transport Elaine Chao and Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag– expressed their devotion in bringing disruption in the sectors they were involved in.

The summit was designed to create a networking atmosphere for all entrepreneurs and investors present. A series of seminars, workshops and connection cafes were created to increase engagement among everyone involved. Representatives from renowned multinational companies such as CocaCola, Unilever, Microsoft and Google were present at the event.

The last day of the summit was attended by Ivanka Trump, lead advisor of the president of the United States, who conducted a  chat session with Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Singh. The session was truly an inspiring one, where both individuals expressed the importance of investing in women which would make businesses and ideas more productive and profitable at the same time. They shared their experience of working together in Africa, especially in Ivory Coast, where many women who depended on donations have turned into entrepreneurs with scalable business models.

As someone who has been involved in the NGO world  whole life, attending a summit of this sort was both an eye-opening and tremendous learning experience, where getting to know the work we were doing back home had so much more potential to create substantial change in our socio-economic environment, especially through the connections made at this summit.

The Global Entrepreneruship Summit has been a remarkable adventure filled with making good friends and experiences, ready to be utilised in creating impact wherever we are in the world. An advice to anyone attending such summits would be this: Be open to the idea of collaboration and bringing innovative ideas to your own shores. Adapting mindset to embrace any ideas, related or unrelated to your field, is a personal investment in creating the change you want to see in the world.

Shah Rafayat Chowdhury is a social entrepreneur and co-founder and president of Footsteps Bangladesh, a social development enterprise. He was one of the six Bangladeshis chosen to represent at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 and was also nominated as one of the 16 young global leaders by the European Commission in 2018.

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