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10 successful entrepreneurs of Bangladesh

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Ashikul Islam:
Alauddin Ahmed (31th July, 1944) was an entrepreneur. He was a Managing Director of Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Success of a pharmaceuticals company depends on consistently maintaining the highest standard of quality. Our firm commitment to qualify has encouraged us to establish manufacturing facilities conforming to Good Manufacturing Practives (GMP) with the active support and technical guidance of the globally reputed pharmaceuticals company F. Hoffmann- La Roche Limited, Basel, Switzerland.

Our mission is to develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals formulations in the most appropriate manner and to ensure the safety, efficacy and usefulness of our products.
We direct our efforts to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live with full essence of life.

By the grace of Allah the Almighty and with the motivation and support of our people and partners, we look forward to be seen as an organization pioneering the implementation of innovative ideas, respected for strict adherence to ethical proactive, reputed for the quality of products and appreciated for sustainable growth in our national and global operations.


Ashikul Islam:
One of the leading industrial corporations in the country, the Orion Group encapsulates true Bangladeshi entrepreneurial spirit. Its chairman, Mohammad Obaidul Karim, has led the company to pioneer a number of firsts in Bangladesh, achieving a level of success unparalleled in the country’s history. From modest beginnings, the group’s operations now span 11 diverse sectors, namely agro products; aviation management; cosmetics and toiletries; construction; energy; hospitality management; infrastructure development; textiles and garments; pharmaceuticals and health care; power generation; and real estate.
Since its inception, the group’s main objective has been to target rural poverty reduction and foster sustainable economic development in its position as a world-class corporation, creating products and services of real value, and generating employment. “I think of our company as a family of 18,000 people,” says Mr. Karim.” We always try to maintain great relations with our employees, and we provide staff with benefits such as loans, donations and our assistance programme.”
Such positivity has seen the group make important inroads into developing the nation’s infrastructure. Planned and well-designed connections boost a country’s appeal for both local and foreign investment, as poor, inefficient communications deter investors and frustrate national advancement efforts. Therefore, the government has encouraged private-sector participation to accelerate infrastructure development and the Orion Group has been the first to take up the mantle.
Leading the charge, Orion Group incorporated Belhasa Accom and Associate Ltd and submitted a bid for the Jatrabari-Gulistan Flyover Project. After a highly competitive selection process, the company was awarded the contract to design, construct, maintain and operate the flyover using privately obtained finance on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The concession agreement was sealed in June 2005 and construction began in June 2010.

The Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover breaks new ground in Bangladesh. “This is the first infrastructure project in Bangladesh under a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement. Previously there was no such type of investment and it was a dream that a private entity would be able to invest in infrastructural development,” says Mr. Karim. “Initially, the flyover was to be seven kilometres long, now it is 10 kilometres. The investment is around $290 million and we are working on raising these funds from completely local sources.”
In addition to entering unchartered financing territory, other challenges facing the Orion Group include the required construction time for the project being shortened by a year, to two and a half years construction time, and the physical constraints imposed by the site being in such a built-up area. “The government is very keen to complete projects such as this flyover and is giving us maximum support. If we need police support for anything, it is provided immediately,” says Mr. Karim. “Presently, we are facing traffic jam issues because we are digging up ground in the middle of a narrow road. There is some inconvenience, however Bangladeshis understand the value this project will bring once completed. We are receiving a lot of support from local people.”
The Orion Group has not only blazed trails in PPPs, but it has also taken real estate to new heights. It reshaped Dhaka’s skyline when it constructed the country’s tallest building, the 39-storey City Centre, and also has plans to create a new satellite town near the capital.

Its pharmaceutical arm was the first company in Bangladesh to produce amino acids and to manufacture anti-cancer drugs, bringing down the cost of cancer medication from 2,100 taka (£17) to 350 taka (£2.85) per box.
In agriculture, the group is currently collaborating with a Dutch company to grow mushrooms on two large plots of land. “Our location and facilities are ideal,” says Mr. Karim. “European companies have tried going to China for these agro-products, however they have found Bangladesh is a better more cost-effective producer.” The company has plans to develop an agricultural industrial park and produce vegetables targeted at European markets.


Ashikul Islam:
Quality products and caring policies make RAK a market leader. S.A.K. Ekramuzzaman, managing director of RAK Ceramics, outlines the benefits of manufacturing in Bangladesh, and considers the country’s requirements for further economic growth. Contributing to the nation’s economic success are companies such as RAK Ceramics, a manufacturer and marketer of ceramic tiles, bathroom sets and other sanitary ware established in 2000.
With an average annual turnover of more than BDT 5 billion (over £42 million) in its 11 years of existence, RAK has established itself as one of the sector’s leading manufacturers.
Mr Ekramuzzaman, managing director of RAK, comments on the factors behind Bangladesh’s success. “We have a very enthusiastic workforce. The availability of labour is another strong success factor. If you offer a reasonable salary, the migration of workers is minimal.”
This, he says, has helped shaped present-day Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is now self-sufficient. The people are not starving and a large market exists here. There are explored and unexplored markets here, both for local and international entrepreneurs.”
Regarding the ceramic industry, Mr Ekramuzzaman’s area of expertise, he says: “I can say that, we have enough demand that we can sell what we produce in the same day. Our company is already booked for orders for the next six months.”
However, Bangladesh’s economy is in such a prime position that certain developments require urgent attention before economic growth continues, primarily infrastructure. Mr Ekramuzzaman shares this thought: “We have very poor infrastructure, which needs to be built up first. We need to develop roads, highways, gas, and electricity amongst other aspects of the country.”
Public-private partnerships have been introduced in Bangladesh, though they are in their early stage. RAK’s managing director is optimistic that “they will continue to grow so as to aid the growth of both infrastructure and the economy as a whole.”
RAK is also making its way into the housing sector, and has already embarked on a project to build 2,500 flats in Dhaka city to help the lower-middle class population. Another plan for 5,000 flats is under way.
RAK profits are shared with the community. “We are contributing approximately 2 per cent of profit to assist with health and education programs.”
Maintaining a quality standard of life of its workers is one of the company’s main concerns. “We employ 5,000 people and pay the best salaries in Bangladesh. We provide 100 per cent life insurance coverage to employees. The company contributes 5 per cent of its profit before taxes towards the Workers Profit Participation Fund and Welfare Fund. We are just like a family,” he explains.


Ashikul Islam:
Green Delta Insurance Company Limited (GDIC) is one of the leading private, non-life insurance companies in Bangladesh, providing an array of insurance such as fire, burglary, marine and health.
GDIC was incorporated in late 1985 as a public limited company with a paid up capital of only BDT 30 million ($366,500). After the privatization of the insurance sector, Green Delta was the fifth company to be established, and it has gained a reputation as one of the most respected companies in the business.
Nasir A. Choudhury, Managing Director of GDIC, has played an important role in the growth of the company thanks to his 54 years of experience in the insurance sector. Mr. Choudhury attended two different insurance courses for a total 14 months in the U.K. and Germany, and upon completing them was posted in Pakistan Insurance Corporation’s Regional Office in Chittagong, which became the Bangladesh Insurance Corporation after independence.
Success for GDIC began from day one. It was the first insurance company to be launched purely by professionals and technocrats, and Mr. Choudhury and his colleagues’ first-hand experience working abroad got the company off to a flying start. Today the company has paid up capital of BDT 510.3 million.
As a whole, 2011 was a challenging and to some extent turbulent year for the economy, capital markets and the financial services industry. The year began with ongoing market declines and extensive government intervention in the financial system and broad-based consumer anxiety that ended with a liquidity crisis and& increased interest rates.
Despite the aforementioned gloomy situation, the insurance sector in the country has moved ahead. The top line continued to grow in 2011. “We are pleased with our progress and optimistic that we can accelerate the momentum in our business. We can proudly confirm that with the right strategic guidelines and timely executions of the plans, Green Delta Insurance Company has successfully overcome the hurdles during the year 2011,” says Mr. Choudhury.
In 2011, GDIC was once again the highest premium collector, and despite the worldwide recession GDIC is still producing the numbers. It reported 17.5 percent increase in gross premium to BDT 2,351.47 million, an investment income of BDT 131.80 million; profit after tax is now BDT 134.01 million, an 11.9% growth in net premium, fixed asset growth 58.2% now standing at 212.94 million and an underwriting profit growth by 24.5% standing at BDT 124.17 million.
Moreover, during the year 2010 and 2011 GDIC made significant investment on the following that are expected to result in substantial investment return and cost reduction in near future:
•   Investment in Green Delta Aims tower – a joint venture 17 storied landmark building in Mohakhali, Dhaka has been constructed entirely from own cash flow. The corporate head office of GDIC has been relocated to the new premises recently. This will help GDIC in reducing the rental expenses by huge margin.
•   Investment in merchant banking subsidiary – Green Delta LR Financial Services Ltd., a direct subsidiary of Green Delta Insurance Co. Ltd., engaged in fully-fledged merchant banking business. The entity has already generated a positive bottom line in its very first year of operation. In the coming days the merchant bank is expected to generate more revenue and uphold the image both locally and globally.
•   Investment in fixed assets – GDIC has recently purchased two commercial floor spaces in Dhaka city. In one premises out of the two, a branch has been opened and the other one under construction progress.
Green Delta’s success can be attributed to its multiple strategies concerned with long-term success. Creating value for its customers, investing in and developing the talent of its’ employees, committing to ethical conduct, and assuming social responsibility are just a few of the ways GDIC is focused on maintaining a strong financial stance, both for now and for the future.


Ashikul Islam:
Mohd. Noor Ali the Managing Director of Unique Group of Companies Ltd. is one of the leading business personalities in Bangladesh. Born in July 1953 at Nababgonj of Dhaka district Mr. Noor Ali is a worthy son of Late Md. Hakim Ali and Late Sufia Khatun. He completed his Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) in Sociology from University of Dhaka in 1977. He also did his Masters of Social Science in Sociology from the same university in 1978. A man of strong commitment and also very hard working Mr. Noor Ali has made a conglomerate namely Unique Group of Companies with in a very short span of time. This group is engaged in building a world of happiness, peace and prosperity through its honest and sincere efforts by developing products, services and facilities in the areas of Real Estate, Electrical Power Plants, Air Travel, Aviation Services, Tourism, Recruiting Man Power, Vocational Training, Ceramic Products, Banking services, Housing Finance, Hotel Services and through other commercial and industrial projects. With its manifold enterprises and multi pattern activities and its ever expanding activities in hand and its commitments in new fields, the group desires installation of a sound economic structure for the country which is urgently needed for prosperous growth of the nation. The motto of this group is to serve and always endeavor to serve better through participation in all Steps, Partnership with Clients, Teamwork, commitment, Project Teams, Human Resources and above all Vision for Tomorrow.
Established in 1993, The Unique Group is such a company which has diverse business interests. The other sister concerns of this group are Unique Eastern (Pvt) Ltd. Borak Travels (Pvt) Ltd. Borak Real state (Pvt) Ltd., Unique Vocational Training Centre (VVTC) Unique Hotel and Resorts Ltd. (The Westin Dhaka), Unique Ceramic Industries (Pvt) Ltd. and Eastern Bank Ltd.
Mr. Md. Noor Ali is the key person who established this business hub by applying his merit, hard labour and relentless efforts. He has plan to establish couple of industries in the consumer goods sector in days to come.
A former President of BAIRA, Mr. Noor Ali is involved with other organizations. He is a Director of Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL), Life member of Gulshan Club, Dhaka University Alumni Association, member of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (RHAB), Vice President, Concrete Block Association.
A freedom fighter Mr. Noor Ali is an active member to a number of Trade organizations, Social bodies etc. Alongside business activities he is involved in social welfare activities as part of social commitment by establishing Unique Kalyan Trust.
It has been formed to render social and educational services in Bangladesh particularly in the area of Nababgonj since 1987. With manifold service oriented ideas and dynamism Mr. Noor Ali has been giving tireless services for the continued development progress and prosperity to the people.
He has widely traveled almost all over the world on business trips including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Philippine, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri-Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, U.K. USA, Ukraine and so on. In personal life Mr. Noor Ali is married and a proud father of three daughters. His hobby is Reading, Gardening and he always likes to involve in Social Welfare activities.



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