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10 March, 2016 00:00 00 AM

Osama Bin Noor Youth Opportunities cofounder

Osama Bin Noor
Youth Opportunities cofounder

Sheikh Iraj

Osama Bin Noor, 25, is a student of dental surgery and a social entrepreneur. He is the cofounder of Youth Opportunities, a global online platform for youth where they can find information about various conferences, scholarships or internships throughout the world. Recently, Forbes magazine listed him as one of the 30 under-30 social entrepreneurs in Asia. Y&I met with him for an exclusive interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please tell us about Youth Opportunities and what inspired you to start such a platform?

I started volunteering at a young age for various youth based non-profit organisations. These experiences helped me a lot in self-development. I got to meet likeminded people and was able to share ideas and learn more. In 2011, I realised that if other youths also start participating in skill-development programmes then they will be benefited as well and these opportunities can have a lasting impact on improving the community. Thus, the idea of Youth Opportunities (YO) began and we started our journey in 2012.

Today, YO is a global platform disseminating information on conferences, scholarships, internships, etc., to more than 100,000 youths across 192 countries. In the beginning, we had to search the internet a lot in order to collect news. But as we become more popular, many organisations and our fans now recognise us and they post such opportunity news by themselves. Many inform us by different social media, also, we have an option named ‘post and opportunity’ in our website, where people can submit such opportunity news.         

Recently Forbes magazine listed you as one of the 30 under-30 social entrepreneurs in Asia? Please tell us about that.

Yes, I got listed as one of the 30 under-30 Social Entrepreneurs. It came as a surprise to me as well as I suddenly got an email asking me to send my biography and a photo from Forbes Asia.   

What was the most challenging part when you were getting started?

The biggest challenge was the starting of Youth Opportunities. Back then, it was very difficult to convince others that an online platform could be a sustainable one and the importance of skill development in youths was not realised by many. However, my friend, Makshud Manik (the other cofounder) and I, we believed in the cause and despite many setbacks, we started. But the trouble continued as we were not financially stable and had to rely on Facebook only. We launched our website in 2014 with the help of a friend and were ecstatic as this gave us an identity of our own. However, again financial problems arose and we had to buy the domain and server by taking a loan. Till today, the revenue generated is being used to pay for the loan money and the entire team works voluntarily without any form of payment; except their self-satisfaction, perhaps, by helping others. Our perseverance, dedication, passion and the will to help others has brought us here today and we continue doing it. We don’t even have an office but with the support of the team, we are running smoothly with the help of internet sessions and Skype meetings.
 
What is next for you?

We don’t plan to be restricted only by the internet, but proceed to offline platforms and spread opportunities to the rural youths in every corner of Bangladesh. 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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