On 7 June 2016, the contract signing ceremony and orientation program was held for the projects selected for funding in the 7th round of Service Innovation Fund. The program was held in the SSF Press Briefing Room of the Prime Minister’s Office and chaired by Mr. Kabir Bin Anwar, Director General of Prime Minister’s Office and the Project Director of a2i Programme.

It is mentionable here that the Service Innovation Fund is provided to encourage public offices, private sector organizations, and others to come up with innovative solutions which can ease service delivery to citizens by reducing time, cost, and visit required and improve the overall quality of public services. This year, a2i has received the “World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Prize 2016” – the world’s most prestigious prize in the ICT sector – for four of its initiatives and two of those initiatives have come out through Service Innovation Fund. Created jointly by the Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, and USAID, this fund has been managed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Till now, a total of 103 projects have been funded in 7 rounds covering multiple important sectors of Bangladesh, including education, agriculture, health, land, government service to citizens, government service to businesses, services to assist the disabled, and devices to simplify services and improve standard of living.

Through this workshop, the innovators and their organizations received guidance on project management, financial & procurement regulations, and monitoring & evaluation issues. Moreover, the Chief Innovation Officers and Innovation Officers from the government offices relevant to the projects were asked to provide all kinds of support necessary to make the projects successful.

Service Innovation Fund accepts online proposals around the year through the website www.ideabank.eservice.gov.bd using a very simple and easy-to-fill form. The proposals received for funding undergo a competitive process through which not only the merit of the innovative ideas, but also the capacity of the innovator are assessed. The projects finally selected for funding are provided a risk fund for a limited time period during which a2i provides necessary technical support and takes initiatives for ensuring sustainability of the innovation.