Fahim Mashroor
CEO and Co-founder of Bdjobs.com Ltd.


Fahim Mashroor is the main founder of Bdjobs.com, one of the most successful internet ventures in the country. He, with a few of his friends, started the web venture in 2000.

After graduating in Economics from Dhaka University, he did his MBA from IBA.

From his youth, he wanted to do something creative and useful - something that would contribute to the development of society. "I have always had a passion for engaging in innovative initiatives that can have meaningful impact on our country and its citizens," says Mashroor. Inspired by the internet revolution of the 1990s, he initiated a number of web ventures focused on Bangladeshi internet users.

His goal was to generate business, using local contents and contacts. He realised there was no comprehensive and accessible platform for people to find out about job openings. He felt that the job descriptions published in different mediums around the country needed to be compiled, updated and presented in a forum that was easy to access for job seekers. And so BDjobs.com was born.

After 11 years of successful operation, Bdjobs.com is one the most famous internet ventures in the country. Its innovativeness has encouraged a lot of other young entrepreneurs to come ahead with creative business ideas.

"This online job market has changed the total recruitment process in the corporate world of the country - from paper-based time consuming costly process to a much faster, less costly digital system," comments Mashroor.

Apart from running his own business, Fahim Mashroor is heavily involved in different industries and social development activities, in which he contributes by sharing his experience and guidance. He is currently Senior Vice-President of BASIS (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services), the national trade body of IT service companies. He is also the governing body member of D.Net, the leading development organisation working in the area of technology-based social improvement initiatives around the country.

Mashroor says that he wishes to get involved in activities to develop the skills of the young population of this country. "The main focus of our national development should be providing modern skills to our youth workforce so that they can make themselves productive for the society," he states. According to him, there are enough jobs, both in the country and abroad. "What is missing," argues Mashroor, "is the right skills to get those jobs."

Compiled by Star Correspondent

Mahmudul Hasan Sohag
Creator of Electronic Voting Machine


The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) has been in the headlines for quite some time, and political leaders are still squabbling whether it will be used in the national elections or not. But one of its inventors, Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, beams with pride with what they have already achieved.

"Our goal is 100 percent fulfilled. Whether our invention is nationally used or not, we have come to a stage where we can confidently say that our machine will be used if EVM is used in the country at all," he said.

Sohag, Chairman of Pi Labs Bangladesh Ltd, together with Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), invented the device and says it was not even an academic project.

"In most cases, projects are carried out during student life and rarely implemented in real life. But we wanted to do something that would be implemented."

While studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the country's best engineering university, he along with his two classmates, Masum Habib and Rajib Mikail, met Dr Lutful Kabir, Director of Institute of Information and Communication Technology (IICT), and talked about various ideas. After much brainstorming they decided that they would develop a voting machine.

Without any delay, the IICT gave them a lab with all the required facilities. The trust of Dr Kabir was not in vain as the project was ready in three months and they were still studying in their third year.

After its first public demonstration in 2007, Officers Club Dhaka was the first organisation to have used the EVM in their biennial election in the same year.

Two years later, Officers Club again used the EVM, which attracted attention from the Election Commission.

"We demonstrated the device for the Election Commission. They suggested some changes, which we duly brought in," says Sohag.

The first pilot was done during the Chittagong City Corporation election in Zamalkhan ward.

"We were scared because it may create trouble in the field level since we did not have any record of using indigenous technology in our country. But it was an amazing success as there was not a single fault in any of the 80 machines used in the 24 centres."

The EVM was partly used in the first ever Narayanganj City Corporation election last October, and later on, in the most recent election in the Comilla City Corporation and by-poll in the Narshingdi Municipality.

He said there is no scope for forgery and irregularity in the EVM. "People only make comments without understanding the process. There is also no scope of hacking as no EVM device is connected to any network and neither is there any facility to connect it to another network."

Sohag had joined IICT as a research assistant, and was appointed as a research engineer after he graduated. He only worked for there for six months and left to a start full-fledged entrepreneurship, getting busy with other products of Pi Labs.

His record in entrepreneurship stems back to his life at BUET. Although the trio were studying electrical engineering, they started developing software. Their initial entrepreneurship work was limited to outsourcing.

Sohag stood fifth in SSC examinations and fourth in HSC in the national merit position. After he graduated, he set up Pi Labs Ltd, an IT-based research and development institute.

Sohag and his business partner, Abul Hossain Liton, formed OnnoRokom Group to bring all their ventures under one umbrella.

They have developed Qrefill, which allows mobile customers to buy talk time without going to any store, an online telephone billing system and an automatic water pump. Their online game, Cricpaul, attracted 95 lakh page views during the Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh last year.

The group has launched Rokomari.com, an online shopping portal, for readers to buy books without physically visiting any store and pay the bill online upon receiving the delivery.

The group has already bought an English-medium school in Dhanmondi. It also plans to set up a college and university.

The group now employs about 800 people.

"Our focus will be on education and research. All of our earnings will be spent on this," says Sohag, who has been working closely with Math Olympiad since its inception.

The 29-year-old says he would devote his life to the development of the country's education system and research, as "Bangladesh's education system is going in the wrong direction."

For innovative works in the IT field, Pi Labs has already received the prestigious 'Anwarul Qadir Innovator Award', which is sponsored by Harvard University and Anwarul Qadir Foundation, a US-based foundation.

by Md Fazlur Rahman

Vashkar Battacharya
Head of DAISY Bangladesh and YPSA Member

Five years ago, twenty people suffering from various forms of disabilities, got employed due to the training provided to them by a visually impaired person. He introduced a system that proved to be a revelation for people with disabilities (PWD) and gave them new means that enabled them to live life respectably. The man in question is none other than Vashkar Battacharya.

Today, Battacharya is a member of one of the leading social organisations of the country called the Young Power in Social Action (YPSA). Together with the YPSA Battacharya, continues to spread magic and help the disabled people of Bangladesh, who for years have been neglected from society.

A graduate from Chittagong University, Battacharya provides training in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), an activity that helps PWDs gain important skills. His first encounter with ICT took place in Japan where he went under a scholarship programme and came to know about the digital accessible information system (DAISY) concept. His friends at the programme often made fun of him because of his disability. Those incidents however, only encouraged him to work harder towards his goal.

It was his continuous pursuance with the PWDs that brought the authorities of Braille library and DAISY in Bangladesh in 2004 and 2005 respectively. His achievements don't just stop there. With an aim to introduce Bengali literature to the PWDs, Battacharya made digital talking books using short stories of Rabindranath Tagore and other authors.

It is because of his sheer determination that PWDs and illiterate people can now access various educational fronts.

Apart from being a member of the YPSA, he is also in charge of the DAISY focal point of the country. Vashkar Battacharya broke the traditional norms of society which have compelled PWDs to lead solitary lives for a long time. His intervention has given a sense optimism to the disabled people of the country. One hopes, that the government supports Battacharya and help the PWDs feel like they belong to the nation.

Compiled by Star Correspondent