We Have Done It…
A.B.M Siddiqur Rahman
No, it's not an excerpt from the popular TV series Lost. Neither is it a threat by any of our corrupt politicians to his/her opposition. Rather, it is the voice of the exhilarating youth of Bangladesh that is in the making. It is now the heartbeat of three young entrepreneurs of Bangladesh.
I am talking about the HSBC Young Entrepreneurs Awards held in Hong Kong in June 2007. Participating for the first time, Bangladesh clinched the “Best of the Best” award in the tournament through the hands of Zeeshan Bayezid Rahman, Joydeep Choudhury, and Baizeed Md. Nur three 2nd year students of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.
The HSBC Young Entrepreneurs Awards competition kicked off in January this year. It is an international business plan competition conducted in the national level in the first phase and on an international level in the second phase. HSBC bank organized this competition in six countries, namely Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh. At the end of the rigorous and grueling competition in the national level, three winners (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) were selected. I was the part of the Bronze award winning team, Team Speranza. Both the Gold and the Bronze award winning team were from IBA, DU whereas the Silver award winning team was from the Department of Finance of DU.
On June 22, we started off for our memorable and unforgettable journey to Hong Kong on an unforgettable journey of self-realization. The journey actually began long before we got on the Dragon Air flight. It was in our reveries. But interestingly enough none of our daydreams ever had anything regarding Bangladesh becoming the champion in the tournament. It was about the fun we would be having in Hong Kong. This is actually what happens when you do not believe in your ability. But this feeling changed after reaching Hong Kong.
After reaching Hong Kong, we were dumbstruck by the Oh-My-God! beauty of the city and the hospitality of its people. We were given a warm welcome by the organizers HSBC Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Our accommodation was provided at the university guest house of CUHK. Apart from the competition (which was getting the least priority amongst everything else), a study tour had also been organized where we would be visiting different companies and would be attending several seminars organized by HSBC and CUHK.
Before the seminars and the competition started we went for sightseeing around Hong Kong city and covered almost the entire city within a very short period of time. The splendors of the Victoria Harbor and the Peak were like a dream to us. However, the dream did not last long for the Gold team as they had to wake up from it abruptly to discover the day of the competition drawing closer and closer.
24 June It was the night before the final. The Bangladeshi Gold team members were all very busy giving the final touch to their presentation slides and preparing their speech. I, along with the five other members of the Silver and Bronze award-winning teams and the HSBC Bangladesh representative, Sami Hafiz (our own Sami Bhai) was by their side helping them and trying to boost their spirits. From that time we all started to ask ourselves why can't we be the best of the best? Why do we always lose the game before we even enter the field? Then we realized that the things we can't do are always the headlines. Nobody emphasizes what we are actually capable of doing. We realized that it was about time we show the world what we can do.
It's show time. Everything is set. All the Gold teams were ready. We were waiting with our fingers crossed. The Bangladeshi young entrepreneurs delivered a breathtaking presentation of their project based on establishing an industrial waste management firm followed up by an outstanding defense of the questions asked by the judges. All the other 5 teams really presented well, particularly the Philippine Gold team. But in the Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions, IBA from Bangladesh outperformed every other team. They answered all the questions accurately and more importantly, confidently.
We were waiting impatiently for the results to be announced. The time came. We could even hear our heartbeats. And then the announcement came like this, “The award goes to the Bangladeshi boys!” and I felt myself flying around the auditorium towards my three champion friends. We were just in an I-Don't-Know-What's-Happening situation. We were on the top of the world! Bangladesh was on the top of the world!
Zeeshan, Joydeep, and Baizeed have done it. Bangladesh has done it. So, don't tell us what we can't do.