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12 industrialists feature in ‘Life Struggle of Pioneering Entrepreneurs’

A ceremony marking the publication of “Life Struggle of Pioneering Entrepreneurs” featuring stories of 12 renowned industrialists of the country was held at Daffodil International University (DIU) yesterday.

The stories narrate how the leadership, hard work and dedication of the 12 entrepreneurs contributed to the economic advancement of the country.

The stories feature entrepreneurial spirits of the Ispahani family, AK Khan and Company founder AK Khan, Rahimafrooz’s founder AC Abdur Rahim, Square Group Founder Samson H Chowdhury, Akij Group Founder SK Akij Uddin, Desh Garments Founder M Noorul Quader, Abdul Monem Ltd’s Abdul Monem, ACI Ltd Chairman Anis ud Dowla, PRAN-RFL Group Founder Amjad Khan Chowdhury, Anwar Hossain of the Anwar Group of Industries, Syed Manzur Elahi of Apex Group and Latifur Rahman of Transcom Group.

Edited by DIU Founder and Chairman Dr Md Sabur Khan, the book is a compilation of “DIU Industry-Academia Lectures on Entrepreneurship Development” organised by the DIU’s Innovation and Incubation Center.

The stories narrate how the leadership, hard work and dedication of the 12 entrepreneurs contributed to the economic advancement of the country

Addressing the event, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said he personally knew the 12 who were all very polite and did not lack modesty.

Each of them took business forward in different ways and were truly engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, way before the concept came about, he said.

Bhattacharya urged for the book to be included in the national curriculum.

Written in a simple and easy language, the book can be very inspirational if distributed among the country’s students, said Anisul Haque, managing editor of daily Prothom Alo.

Salehuddin Ahmed, a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, urged the publisher, Daffodil Publications,to bring out case studies on the 12 in English for sharing globally and a future edition on success stories of rural, micro and small businesses.

Though the government and bureaucracy are expected to clear obstacles for enterprises to grow better and create more wealth for the nation, it has not always been the case, he said.

The economy faces big challenges and recessionary trends, worsened by the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, he said as the programme’s chief guest.

Hence, enterprises need to tread carefully, adding value, keeping costs low and engaging in meaningful CSR and not letting it go to waste under pressure or in an effort to do favours, he said.

They must move forward with a bit of instinct and a lot of dreams, he added.

Simeen Rahman, group chief executive officer of Transcom, wrote an article in the book about Latifur Rahman, founder chairman of Transcom Group.

In her speech yesterday, she said Transcom was a company that aims to serve the nation.

“We take all sorts of steps to attain our objectives. My father has established and expanded it with his dream and hard labour…We are still on the journey that began with tea plantation in 1885,” she said.

In the article, she said Latifur had started off inheriting the business but faced difficulties after the government nationalised industries, except for tea, after Bangladesh achieved independence.

The tea business also suffered yet he did not lose hope and when he saw the opportunity he started off from scratch with firm determination.

Simeen in her article said Latifur Rahman maintained doing ethical business as one of the core values from day one and Transcom has stuck to it. 

“He was uncompromising in following ethical values. He worked hard to make each of his industrial units as the best so that those can keep pace with the world,” she wrote.

And the recognition for his ethical business practices came in 2012 through Oslo Business for Peace Award, one of the most prestigious awards, she said.

Today, Transcom is one of the largest and most diversified business conglomerates in Bangladesh.

The book is expected to help students get a better understanding of theoretical knowledge in light of reality, said Sabur Khan.

Stating that there will be further value additions to the book, he urged families of the 12 to keep contributing anecdotes, references, pictures, videos and links for those to be shared in an organised manner by the DIU.

He lamented that people only focus on material successes and occasional mistakes of entrepreneurs without actually looking into their struggles and challenges.

He urged all to cite the 12 in daily discussions and not only global business leaders like Elon Musk.

These homegrown business leaders survived and grew often amidst a lack of good governance, easy opportunities and funds alongside social tension, he said.

The publisher expressed intent to bring out editions on entrepreneurs launching their businesses after the Partition of India in 1947 and after Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971.

Anis Ud Dowla, chairman of ACI Group, and Dr Abul Barkat of the University of Dhaka also spoke at the event.  

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