Experts and Bangladesh’s apparel industry insiders emphasised the need for innovation to achieve the ambitious goal of reaching $100 bn in exports by 2030.
As panel discussants at a seminar on “Road to $100 bn Exports by 2030”, they underscored the significance of implementing purpose-driven, systematic changes across product development, processes, workforce, and organisational culture. Such changes can effectively reduce costs and enhance profitability for businesses in the sector.
The Textile Today Innovation Hub and CEMS-Global jointly hosted the seminar on Wednesday concurrently with the 22nd Textech Bangladesh 2023 International Expo at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre at Purbachal, Dhaka.
At the event, Masco Group Executive Director Mahbubul Alam Milton said, “Innovation is already underway, and it is essential to our success. To achieve our export target, we must be innovative. This requires knowledge and collaboration within the team. Invention and innovation are distinct concepts.
“Through innovation, we can make ourselves more competitive. Open innovation involves collaboration with external partners, while closed innovation takes place within the company.”
He added that they have tried to gather some data on the challenges of the $100 billion in exports, but access to such data is difficult.
“Due to a lack of data, we cannot invest in pricier products with confidence. Industry associations can work together to share data, which would help us make more informed decisions about these products,” said Mahbub.
APS Group Chairman Hasib Uddin emphasised the essential role of preparation in achieving export goals. He highlighted several critical factors, including the expansion of factory capacity, addressing the energy crisis, and enhancing backward linkage capability in MMF, among others.
Furthermore, he stressed the significance of investing in human capital development as a key priority and pointed out that tapping into untapped markets represents a significant opportunity to boost exports.
Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, manager (sustainability) at DBL Group, noted the presence of innovation within the industry but highlighted a communication gap. He pointed to Sustainable Development Goal-9, which centers on ‘industry, innovation, and infrastructure.
He also noted that while innovation is indeed present, it often goes unacknowledged except for a few select events.
Tareq Amin, Founder and CEO of Textile Today Innovation Hub, in his keynote speech on “Practical Method of Implementing Innovation to Achieve $100bn Export” said, “A small innovation can make a big change. Once we have a systematic innovation process in place, then we will find out the hotspot, and identify an improvement area to work out for change.”
Dr Mohammad Abbas Uddin Shiyak, assistant professor at the Bangladesh University of Textiles, conducted the event.