From left: Abdul Muktadir, managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd, recipient of Enterprise of the Year 2004; proprietor of Agroconcern Selina Quader, Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2004; Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, recipient of Special Achievement Award 2004; Kazi Farms Group managing director Kazi Zahedul Hasan, Business Person of the Year 2004; and Desmond Quiah, country manager of DHL Worldwide Express, pose for photographs at the award-giving ceremony of Bangladesh Business Awards at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on March 18, 2005.

Spotlight shines on corporate icons

Shahnila Azher

WHEN the Bangladesh Business Awards were first conceived in 2000, the business community in the country had greatly appreciated the move as a public recognition of the qualities that have been valued since eternity -- qualities like business performance combined with financial discipline, innovation balanced with an ethical mindset, professional codes of conduct hand in hand with social stewardship. Five years on, that spirit is still kept alive in the form of this prestigious set of awards, accolades that have both earned a credible name and evolved into a much-awaited annual tradition.

The evening of March 18, 2005 took on a different air as hundreds of renowned business personalities, corporate executives, government officials and dignitaries gathered at the beautifully-decorated ballroom of Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel to acknowledge the successes of the chosen individuals and enterprises. The entire selection process had been kept purposefully transparent and fair: initial nominations had been sought from the public, detailed dossiers of short-listed candidates had been put together by a research team, and the final winners had been chosen by an eminent eleven-member jury. The evening of the 18th began with a dance rendition by a local troupe, which at its climax, unveiled a large-sized replica of the Bangladesh Business Award crest on the stage.

Soon afterwards, orchestrated by a compere, selected guests seated at various tables in the ballroom were requested to announce the names of this year's winners. The audience responded enthusiastically as the spotlight searched out the winners and two giant screens, on both sides of the stage, displayed their video introductions. Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star, and Desmond Quiah, country manager of DHL Worldwide Express, jointly handed over the crests to the winners in four categories. The rest of the night belonged entirely to the four achievers.

Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd was awarded in the "Enterprise of the Year 2004" category for demonstrating phenomenal growth and extensive production of critical import-substituting drugs in a very short period of time.

Selina Quader, proprietor of Agroconcern, was chosen for the "Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2004" award for playing a noteworthy role in commercial-scale vegetable production and export while adhering to safe agricultural methods.

Kazi Zahedul Hasan, managing director of Kazi Farms Ltd, received the "Business Person of the Year 2004" award for his role in building up the largest poultry enterprise in the country, attaining high growth numbers with many industry-first activities, and implementing high professional standards in business.

Unilever Bangladesh Ltd received a "Special Achievement Award 2004" for demonstrating serious commitment to this country and consistently balancing above-average business growth with exemplary social contributions.

Despite the excitement of the moment, all the winners were eloquent in their responses.

Abdul Muktadir, managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd, thanked his partners and colleagues without whose help this award would not have been possible. He sought support from all, whether it be doctors or consumers or people from other walks of life, so that this company can one day become a research-led global company.

Selina Quader explained how she has turned a mere hobby into a full-fledged commercial operation. She was sure this award would both encourage her in future endeavors and motivate others to excel in the agricultural sector.

Kazi Zahedul Hasan, managing director of Kazi Farms Ltd., mentioned how overwhelmed he was by his selection for this award. He described his company's progress in recent days and thanked his family members for their support during his transition from the comfortable world of architecture to the uncertain waters of true entrepreneurship.

Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, highlighted the fact that his company's year-on-year double-digit growth trend only reflects the immense potential of this country. He emphasized that this award proves that ethical business performance is very much possible in Bangladesh.

Finally, Ekaphol Pongstabhon, sales manager, South Asia & Indochina, DHL International, delivered the vote of thanks.

Icons of Achievement

Managing Director of Kazi Farms Group
Kazi Zahedul Hasan
Business Person of the Year 2004

Proprietor of Agroconcern
Selina Quader
outstanding woman in business of the year 2004

Managing Director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Abdul Muktadir
enterprise of the year 2004

Chairman & Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh Limited
Sanjiv Mehta
special achievement award of the year 2004


Copyright 2004 The Daily Star. All Rights Reserved.