Two business persons and two companies were awarded at the 18th edition of the Bangladesh Business Awards at the capital’s Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel this evening.
The annual event, jointly organised by DHL Express, the largest global logistics company, and The Daily Star, the leading English-language newspaper of Bangladesh, honours the movers and shakers of the corporate world in the country every year since 2000.
This year, IPDC Finance Ltd was awarded the Best Financial Institution and Runner group as the Enterprise of the Year.
Azam J Chowdhury of East Coast Group was awarded as the Business Person of the Year while Quamrun Nahar Zahir of Ananta Apparels Ltd was awarded Outstanding Woman in Business.
“The success story of Bangladesh is now globally known, but not as well known as it should be, not as well known so that it generates a sense of confidence to the rest of the world that Bangladesh is a country to work with, to invest in, and make a part of the world’s future,” The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam said in his welcome speech.
“Achieving success is very hard. But making the success sustainable, making it stay, is even more difficult,” he said.
“The success is such that it generates hope, generates energy, innovation, and a self-confidence to face any challenge.”
NR Narayana Murthy, dubbed the Father of the Indian IT Sector by Time magazine, joined the business leaders, diplomats, and noted citizens today to toast the winners of the awards.
Murthy, who founded Infosys in 1981 that went on to become a global leader in technology services and consulting, delivered the keynote speech at the programme.
“The globalised world is essentially about how fast you can innovate and develop new ideas, implement them, and gain competitive advantage in the marketplace so that you can create a better company, society, country and world. Thus, hardworking and well-educated people are the key differentiators for a nation in this flat world,” he said.
“A big advantage of Bangladesh is its pool of well-educated, high-quality, English-speaking people,” Murthy said, adding “Your talent pool is a unique asset. Your youngsters will succeed if they are willing to unlearn old ideas, learn new ideas, apply them and move from ‘reactive problem solving’ to ‘proactive problem identification and solution’ for your customers.”
Referring the growth of IT sector and software development in the country, Murthy said, “Bangladesh must invite leading software companies from across the globe to set up captive software development activities here.”
“Bangladeshi software companies must improve their brand image to move up their price points,” he also said.
“If Bangladesh implemented most of the suggestions here, I have no doubt that Bangladesh will become a vibrant player in the global software services market,” Murthy added.
Speaking as the chief guest of the programme, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi said, “I would like to congratulate the corporate sector for their contribution to where Bangladesh is today.”
“When Bangladesh came into being, not many people believed it could be where the country is today.”
“Today, Bangladesh is a model of development, and in this, the corporate sector has been an important part,” Gowher Rizvi added.
DHL Express and The Daily Star introduced the awards in 2000 when businesses, despite showing their entrepreneurial spirits, creativity and skills and contributing to the economy, had remained unrecognised.
“It is time to recognize these exceptional business leaders - both men and women - through public awards,” said the DHL-The Daily Star about the Bangladesh Business Awards.
The awards recognise the achievements and positive contributions of business houses and individuals who have not only grown but have contributed to the economic development of the country, and also aim to create an environment for excellence and competitiveness that would drive members of the business community to achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and good governance.
Over the years, the Bangladesh Business Awards shaped up into the most prestigious event in Bangladesh’s business community.
Some notable awardees include business leaders Samson H Chowdhury of Square Group, Syed Manzur Elahi of Apex Group, Amjad Khan Chowdhury of Pran-RFL Group, M Anis Ud Dowla of ACI, and Sufi Mohammad Mizanur Rahman of PHP Family.
Enterprises such as BSRM, MM Ispahani, Bengal Plastic Industries, Concord, Meghna Group of Industries, Rahimafrooz, as well as financial institutions like EBL, Mutual Trust Bank, Brac Bank, City Bank, and IDLC Finance were also awarded.
Lifetime achievement awards were also bestowed on those who have made a difference through their works. Previous winners include M Matiul Islam, the country’s first finance secretary, Nasir A Choudhury, founding managing director of Green Delta Insurance, late MA Samad of Bangladesh General Insurance Company, Laila Rahman Kabir of Kedarpur Tea Company, and Mahbubur Rahman, president of the International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh.