Azmayeen Akmal, founder, and CEO of Optimum Technologies is a teenage entrepreneur who started his journey at the age of 13 in 2016. Since then, he has received more than 40 awards for his numerous innovations. He even got to work for Prime Minister’s Office, The ICT division and Bangladesh Military on projects he isn’t allowed to share (sadly we couldn’t get anything out of him)
Every great business is an innovation for that time. And Innovation is the target.
How did your entrepreneurial journey start?
I was in Class 3 when I first got interested in modern technology and its different sectors like robotics and web design. I used to think about how I could innovate and solve the many problems that a technologically backdated country like ours face. From then on, I actively started to work in innovating my way out of a problem. At first, it was possible to do it alone, but as my mind started to expand, so did my plans, and thus I needed more resources and a capable team. Thus, Optimum Technologies came to be.
Out of the many ideas and ventures that you did, do you have a favorite?
Yes indeed. It’s called BuyBae. It’s an online shopping assistant. The idea came when I was suggesting a friend what phone he could buy under his budget. Then I thought it would be more efficient if an AI-based assistant did it for me. Hence, from that, BuyBae came to be. I’m pretty proud of it. It’s under development now for further upgrades.
How was the initial response you received?
The response was what you would expect from society towards entrepreneurs. Especially since I was a teenager, I did not get much support initially. I had to prove my venture was worth the time through my work I invested in to even my parents. Also, being a teen, I always have the possibility of not being taken seriously. But now, Alhamdulillah, I have much support from my peers.
What were the challenges you faced while taking the initiative? And what do you think that young entrepreneurs like you go through to engage in entrepreneurship in our country?
My journey was not without its challenges, and most of these challenges are what every young entrepreneur must face in the country. Drumming up initial support is one struggle every entrepreneur can relate to in their career. But you see, in addition to that, I had legal barriers too. To patent any of my innovations or provide a service through Optimum, I need to be 18 years old even to get a license. I managed with other methods that are much tougher. We, in Bangladesh, lack the much-required institutional support for entrepreneurship, unlike other countries.
How would you motivate others like you aspiring to be an entrepreneur?
I would suggest them to jump in. At our age, we lack much practical knowledge. The best way to learn, I think, is through experience. Fiddle with it, try going forward. You might not be successful, but what you learn is priceless and vital for success. So, if anyone has an idea, take the risk, ACT on it.
As we face a pandemic, do you have plans that you are executing to serve the people in these trying times?
Yes, we are not above serving the community, so currently, we have a campaign running where we provide businesses with limited means the help to go digital. W are reducing our rates and sometimes even sponsoring other activities suffering during the pandemic and help them to engage in e-commerce and run their businesses.
That’s fantastic. Great work there. So lastly, cringy question incoming, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ah, well, I have a goal to execute all my innovations and ideas as soon as possible. It might take more than ten years, however. Also, I dream of being named a Forbes’s 30 under 30, so InshaAllah, let’s see. Do pray for me.