With a population of 170 million and a growing economy, Bangladesh is projected to become the ninth largest commercial market in Asia by 2030, Md Tajdin Hassan, The Daily Star’s Chief Business Officer, told participants during our Digital Media India conference in March in New Delhi.

A sizeable percentage of the country’s population are young, and tech-savvy, with 90 percent of internet subscribers having mobile subscriptions, said Hassan, who is also Keeron’s Chief Operating Officer.

As a result of this vast technology-based growth, areas like e-commerce are surging, with related revenues expected to approximately double from US$6.65 billion in 2022 to US$13.5 billion in 2027.

Helping job market entrants expand their skills

Seeing an opportunity in late 2022, The Daily Star, the country’s top quality newspaper, began developing Keeron – a careers upskilling platform.

“The inception of Keeron traces back to Q4 of 2022,” Hassan told us in an email interview. “From conceptualisation through rigorous R&D phases to the culmination of launching the website with four courses, the endeavour spanned a challenging yet rewarding journey.”

In announcing the launch, an article in The Daily Star noted: “In a rapidly evolving global landscape, staying ahead with a unique skillset is vital for professionals to thrive in their respective fields. Keeron is going to offer a comprehensive suite of courses and resources designed to enhance skills, foster professional growth, and facilitate continuous learning.”

For example, business students looking to enhance their skill sets can take courses that will help them to extend their sales and retail management skills, learn more about digital marketing and business analytics as well as improve their spoken English.

These courses are taught by top business people and involve a mix of recorded video lessons, mentorship, offline training and more, Hassan said.

Also included is access to case studies as well as interactive quizzes, and upon completion, students receive industry-recognised certifications, he said.

‘A commitment to fostering comprehensive learning’

“A typical course enrollment-to-completion journey within Keeron entails an average duration of six to seven hours,” Hassan told us later by email. “This timeframe embodies a commitment to fostering comprehensive learning experiences, ensuring learners emerge enriched and empowered.”

In terms of the costs for courses for learners, “Keeron’s pricing structure epitomises a balance between accessibility and value. Recorded courses are priced at an average order value of $8, while cohort-based courses begin at $30,” Hassan said.

Advanced courses for mid-career professionals

Keeron also provides courses for those who are already established in their careers but want to sharpen their skills to advance to higher levels within their organisations.

For these learners, there are courses designed to boost leadership and team management skills, in addition to  strategy and planning.

Personalised learning paths are also a key feature of Keeron’s offerings, Hassan said.

Keeron’s team understands that each professional has unique learning requirements, so they offer personalised learning paths for individuals that take into account the person’s current skills, career goals, as well as their preferred learning style.

A good fit, natural extension for the publisher

As noted at the beginning of this article, Keeron has integrated very well within The Daily Star’s own skill set.

From development to launch and promotions, The Daily Star has been able to make use of inhouse expertise and services.

For example, The Daily Star offers Keeron targeted advertising both digitally and in print. With a digital audience of around 4.5 million, a social media audience that exceeds 5 million plus a print readership of about half a million people, The Daily Star has a substantial base for promoting Keeron and growing its user base.

The new learning platform has also been able to leverage assistance across a broad range of the publishing houses departments including Research & Analysis, Finance & Accounts, HR & Admin as well as Technology, Hassan noted.

Likewise, the Star and Keeron are collaborating for offline events, such as last year’s “Business Fest Bangladesh,” and a “Careers in Digital Management Workshop.”

The Star is aiming to serve 100,000 learners by the end of this year, Hassan said, with the ultimate aim of helping advance the careers of 25 million learners within the next decade.

In an interview after the event, Hassan told us Keeron has a dedicated team of 15 full-time employees, “strategically distributed across the Content, Marketing, and Creative departments. Additionally, invaluable support is extended from The Daily Star’s core team, encompassing vital functions within the Tech, HR, and Finance teams. We are following a LEAN approach here.”

‘Robust job placement assistance initiatives’

Helping learners find employment opportunities after they completed courses is also part of the equation for The Daily Star, Hassan said.

“Keeron’s commitment to holistic growth extends beyond the realms of education, encompassing robust job placement assistance initiatives,” he said. “The introduction of leaderboards within cohort-based live courses facilitates the recognition of top performers, subsequently aiding in job placement endeavours. Simultaneously, strategic partnerships with leading market entities are forged through MOUs, bolstering career advancement opportunities for learners.”

He added that those who are taking the courses have been pleased with their experiences.

“Initial feedback from learners resonates with satisfaction, underscored by commendable completion rates in recorded courses and active engagement within cohort-based live sessions. This testament to the efficacy of Keeron’s pedagogical approach underscores its commitment to nurturing lifelong learning journeys,” Hassan said.

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