Bangladesh-based Inspira celebrates five years in business

27 February 2020 3 min. read

Inspira Advisory & Consulting has notched five years of operations in Bangladesh, with a comprehensive private sector research project for USAID among the firm’s latest engagements.

Bangladeshi strategy and analysis firm Inspira Advisory & Consulting has celebrated five years in business – having over that time built up a client roster including international non-governmental agencies such as UNICEF, Oxfam and German developmental organisation giz. Most recently, the consultancy has been working on a research project for USAID, to assess potential sectors for enhancing the country’s long-term export competitiveness.

Established in 2015 and based out of Dhaka, the inspiration for the founding of Inspira itself was to fill the still-developing country’s data and strategy void, and five years on, after having served over 100 clients, they’ve probably achieved far more than they might have even themselves expected; which is all the more remarkable for a firm that proudly boasts of its millennial and avant-garde recruitment, complemented by a team of seasoned consultancy veterans.

Together with other technology and digital transformation professionals and former private sector C-suite executives, among those guiding the firm are managing director Muntasir Tahmeed, along with original crew-member and current director Mohammed Salman Rahman, who rejoined the firm as a partner last year. Meanwhile, as perhaps befitting Inspira’s modern approach, the firm is chaired by female entrepreneur Samira Zuberi Himika.

Bangladesh-based Inspira celebrates five years in business

“Local business conglomerates and family owned businesses in Bangladesh are gradually shifting towards an evidence-driven decision-making era,” said Rahman, in a press release to mark the firm’s fifth anniversary. “Moving forward, we want to strengthen our partnership with these entities and expand our work horizons across emerging thrust sectors.” While many of Inspira’s clients to date include NGOs, its latest collaboration may help to further this goal.

Teaming up with USAID – the US government’s primary independent development arm (and with a budget now pushing $40 billion one of the largest such agencies in the world) – Inspira was asked to provide a comprehensive assessment of 16 priority sectors in Bangladesh, identifying those outside of the ready-made garment industry which have the greatest potential to balance the country’s export make-up and bolster its economic growth into the future.

“Private sector-led economic growth is pivotal for accelerating the growth of Bangladesh and helping it to become a middle-income country by 2021,” the firm states in the introduction of its subsequent report, adding that, “The country’s export portfolio suffers from single-sector dependency on ready-made garments, which exposes the economy to exogenous shocks.” Inspira further notes, however, that alternative sectors have yet to experience transformational growth.

Those high-potential sectors with the chance to ‘rapidly transform the local business landscape’ identified in the study – which included the use of qualitative research tools together with upper-level workshops and field research among selected SMEs – included the medical equipment, renewable energy, and ICT segments, while the shipbuilding and pharmaceutical industries were cited as having delivered a recent paradigm shift through the launch of world-class factories.

Together, the 16 sectors of the study already provide over six million jobs combined and close to $50 billion in local economic revenue through domestic and international markets. Still, as the firm notes; “The emerging private sectors in Bangladesh generally suffer a great deal owing to a long-standing data-strategy vacuum that keeps investors at bay.” Here, it says, “Inspira has stepped in to take up this daunting challenge to fill this vacuum for facilitating investments.”