From left: Scott Price, CEO of DHL Express, Asia Pacific; Selima Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Kihak Sung, chairman of Youngone Group, Bangladesh and recipient of Special Achievement Award 2005; Hasina Newaaz, proprietor of Orchid Printers and recipient of Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2005; Fazlur Rahman, chairman of City Group of Industries and recipient of Business Person of the Year 2005; Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, Governor of Bangladesh Bank; Md. Mozibar Rahman, chairman of BRB Cable Industries Ltd and recipient of Enterprise of the Year 2005; Mir Nasir Hossain, president of FBCCI; and Desmond Quiah, country manager of DHL Express Bangladesh, pose for photographs at the award-giving ceremony of Bangladesh Business Awards at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on May 5, 2006.
A Night of unabashed celebration of business
Since time immemorial, trade and enterprise have changed the fate of many a civilization. In Bangladesh, the private sector has not yet been allowed to perform at its full potential. Yet we can proudly acknowledge that businesses in our country have continually innovated and flourished and most importantly, they have persevered despite endless obstacles. It is this particular journey of enduring entrepreneurship that DHL and The Daily Star humbly attempt to recognize every year; this was the sixth consecutive year that the Bangladesh Business Awards were announced to give the champions of corporate Bangladesh their due recognition.
The evening of May 5, 2006 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 celebrate the successes of the winning 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 selected by an eminent eleven-member jury. The evening of the 5th began with an enthralling light show and a charming dance rendition by a local troupe.
Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star, lauded the private sector in Bangladesh for its performance but also stressed the need for businesses to shoulder an increasing share of corporate social responsibilities. Scott Price, CEO of DHL Express, Asia Pacific, reminded the audience of the original intentions behind the Awards. The sponsors had wanted to foster an environment where talent can flourish; more importantly, they had wanted to provide a platform where best practices in management are highlighted and adopted. Over the last 5 years, many such good business leaders have been recognized.
Soon afterwards, orchestrated by a compere, selected guests were requested to announce the names of this year's winners. The audience responded enthusiastically as the spotlight searched out the winners and a giant screen presented their video introductions. Each story was one of struggle and hardship, each a saga of fighting the odds and overcoming endless setbacks. The rest of the evening belonged entirely to the four stars.
BRB Cable Industries Ltd was awarded in the "Enterprise of the Year 2005" category for demonstrating growth, innovation and world-class performance in the sector of electrical cables.
Hasina Newaaz, proprietor of Orchid Printers, was chosen for the "Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2005" award for operating a quality printing business with industry-leading services.
Fazlur Rahman, chairman of City Group of Industries, received the "Business Person of the Year 2005" award for his role in building up a successful brand and large conglomerate in the food business.
Youngone Group, Bangladesh received a "Special Achievement Award 2005" for demonstrating serious commitment to this country and consistently balancing above-average business growth with benchmark manufacturing facilities.
Despite the excitement of the moment, all the winners were eloquent in their responses.
Md. Mozibar Rahman, chairman of BRB Cables Industries, cited the combination of his competent employees, quality production, efficient service, and financial support as the reason behind his success. He highlighted that this award proves that his organization has been doing its work well over time.
Hasina Newaaz, proprietor of Orchid Printers, expressed her delight in seeing an increasing number of women join the forefront of professional businesses in Bangladesh despite the traditional mindset prevailing in this country. She emphasized that anyone can start with something small and, once successful, can scale up over time.
Fazlur Rahman, chairman of City Group of Industries, advised the next generation of entrepreneurs that only 3 basic characteristics are essential for success: will, commitment, and quality. In the future, he plans to set up a hospital in Gandaria for the welfare of the people in the neighborhood he grew up in.
Kihak Sung, chairman of Youngone Group, Bangladesh, recalled that he had made his first investment in Bangladesh in 1980 and has continued to expand over the last 26 years. His vision for the future is to take Bangladesh over to the next tier of development.
The Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, was profuse in his congratulations for the winners. He highlighted that these go-getters prove that Bangladesh does not represent just hartals but its smart, ingenious and hard-working people. The growth rate of our GDP is because of what these people have delivered despite the odds.
Finally, Desmond Quiah, country manager of DHL Express Bangladesh, delivered the vote of thanks.