They all had the urge to make a difference and create an environment of excellence and competitiveness in business. They have set examples for the business community to help achieve greater heights of productivity, efficiency, financial discipline and modern management. The Daily Star and DHL Express pay tribute to these corporate luminaries.
Best Financial Institution
A top-choice financier
Sarwar A Chowdhury
Delta Brac Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DBH) began its journey in 1997 with the sole aim of providing financial services for the purchase of flats or construction of houses.
Nearly two decades in, it has not only become a top choice financier but has found strong foothold to become a top non-bank financial institution.
Until DBH made its first appearance, home loans were limited to a single state-run company.
As the company saw consistent and commendable growth in creating home ownership in major metropolitans, it was picked for The Daily Star-DHL Business Award this year.
Debuting with Tk 2.5 crore in capital, it now boasts to be worth Tk 3,000 crore. DBH's net profit rose 30.72 percent to Tk 52.84 crore in 2012-13, from Tk 40.42 crore in the previous year. It disbursed Tk 5,000 crore in home loans till date, with an average loan size of Tk 23 lakh.
Sound management practices coupled with integrity have paid dividends for DBH as it earned the 'AAA' credit rating for the last eight consecutive years.
Quazi M Shariful Ala, managing director of DBH, attributed the success to financial safety, security and strength.
With five branches, the company manages a customer base of 23,000. DBH has shown consistent growth and exceeded revenue targets for three successive years from 2010 to 2013.
Lifetime Contribution Award
She fought all odds
Md Fazlur Rahman
Laila Rahman Kabir is widely recognised as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. But her long illustrious career has been anything but smooth.
Her entrepreneurship skills are rooted in the tea industry. She stepped into the sector when the country was facing the most difficult period, trying to recover from the destruction caused by the Liberation War.
DHL Express and The Daily Star have honoured her with Lifetime Contribution Award as she built her company almost from scratch.
In the 1960s, her family bought Kedarpur Tea Company Ltd, which was set up in 1924. It was run by her husband in the early years.
The management of the gardens was entrusted upon her in 1971 when her husband was arrested and jailed. She had to step in as the gardens were the only source of income for the family.
Laila is the managing director of the company that employs 1,729 people and sells nearly a million kilograms of tea a year. Its sales stood at Tk 22 crore in fiscal 2012-13 with an annual sales growth of 3.5 percent.
Laila said succeeding in a man's world was a challenge for her. "But I never felt that it was difficult to work in a man's world."
She said Bangladesh has progressed a lot despite all hiccups. “We can grow faster if we can run the country in a better way."
Enterprise Of The Year
A driver of growth
Riding on quality products and services, Habib Group has continued its growth by adding one venture after another to its name to become a leading conglomerate in Bangladesh.
The Chittagong-based firm was founded in 1947, mainly as a trading company. However, in the last three decades, it diversified and branched out into the areas of aviation, cement, garments and textiles, fertiliser, power and energy, and steel.
Now in its second generation of family ownership, the group's annual turnover is $425 million and it employs more than 20,000 people.
The group saw its revenue grow at 10 percent a year for the last decade and raked in a profit of $25 million last fiscal year.
"We don't go for higher growth by compromising on product and service quality and commitment," said Yasin Ali, managing director of the group and the youngest son of the group's founder, the late Md Habib Ullah Meah.
Over the decades, Habib Group has maintained its unflinching commitment to delivering products and services of the highest standards to its various consumer groups.
Relentless efforts to enliven the country's economy have earned the group a prestigious recognition this year -- The Daily Star-DHL Business Award.
Valiant Garments, Regent Power, Diamond Cement, NCC Bank, Continental Insurance, and Regent Airways are a few of its brands.
Ali said constant innovation, research and development, and training for employees are driving the group towards a higher growth trajectory and helping to diversify business.
Outstanding Woman In Business
Carving a path
Md Fazlur Rahman
Not too long ago, Tania Wahab set up a small footwear factory -- Karigar, with hardly any cash in hand and no support from family.
Nine years later, Tania expanded operations to make purses, bags, wallets, belts, and many other leather products, and she was swamped with work orders.
“It was a difficult start for me; my family did not support me and I was staying at my college dormitory at the time,” said the 32-year-old.
The Daily Star and DHL honoured her as she successfully transformed the small venture and became a supplier of exclusive leather products.
She established 'Karigar' (maker) in 2005 after she completed her BSc from Bangladesh College of Leather Technology in Dhaka.
Starting with a capital of Tk 10,000 from private tuitions, Tania, managing partner of the firm, first bought a sewing machine, hired a worker and began work in a small room in Hazaribagh.
Her firm now produces 800 jackets, 3,000 bags and 10,000 other leather products a month. Tania now makes items for several universities, banks, corporate houses and boutiques.
She built Karigar into a Tk 34 lakh venture in 2013, with about 50 percent year-on-year growth.
Her first direct export went to the UK in 2008, along with some items to Switzerland. Since last year, she has been exporting to India and Cambodia. Karigar now employs 20 people as regular workers at the Hazaribagh factory and 100 more irregular workers.