From left to right, DHL Express Country Manager Desmond Quiah, Persona Managing Director Kaniz Almas Khan, recipient of Outstanding Woman in Business Award; Green Delta Insurance Company Managing Director Nasir A Choudhury, recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award; Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman; Pubali Bank Managing Director Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, who received the Best Financial Institution Award on behalf of his bank; Square Pharmaceuticals Director Anjan Chowdhury, who received the Enterprise of the Year Award for his company; Western Marine Shipyard Chairman Md Saiful Islam, recipient of the Business Person of the Year Award; and DHL Express Senior Vice President (South Asia) Malcolm Monteiro, pose for photographs at the Bangladesh Business Awards ceremony at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on April 16. PHOTO: AMRAN HOSSAIN

A decade of hope as business turns corner

Star Business Report
April 16, 2010. It was a night to celebrate a decade of achievements in the business world and shine the spotlight on a decade of awards. The Daily Star and DHL Express have come a long way in honouring the country's entrepreneurs for their innovations, growth and contributions to society. It was the 10th year of recognition of excellence in business, some high points in the private sector.

Despite all the setbacks in their way, the entrepreneurs -- big or small -- have kept the country on a growth path. Despite the energy crisis -- the trouble of the day -- exporters have found a way out to keep up production and export growth. Hats off to them for their ingenuity.

In Bangladesh, doing business requires more than capital and innovations. It is their persistence that won the day, really. Businessmen always have to persist through a host of troubles every day. They always have to be ready for a bumpy ride.

When the economic crisis has panned much across the world, Bangladesh did not suffer as much as the other countries did. In the shocks from global recession, exports fell. Now the shipments are back on the recovery path. Over the past decade, Bangladesh has stayed close to 6 percent growth. And the credit goes to the entrepreneurs. They are the players in the private sector, a bright spot in Bangladesh's economy.

This year, The Daily Star and DHL Express have awarded three individuals and two business enterprises in a total of five categories.

The award for the Best Financial Institution went to Pubali Bank Ltd, the largest commercial bank in the private sector. The award spotlights the bank's efforts to take banking services to the masses through its 386 branches across the country and its role in socioeconomic, industrial and agricultural development. It has come to be known as a banker to the masses.

The winner of the Best Enterprise award was Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd, one of the largest companies in Bangladesh. The award recognises the $164 million annual turnover company for its successful entry to overseas markets. Square Pharmaceuticals -- apart from selling products locally exports to different countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Its export earnings took up 3.35 percent of total turnover in 2008-09.

Saiful Islam, chairman of Western Marine Shipyard, became the Best Business Person of the Year, thanks to his outstanding contribution to the growth of the company that now employs 2,200 people and generates $50 million in annual turnover. The award is recognition of his leadership that turned Western Marine into one of the biggest shipbuilding companies. The company that started as a small shipbuilder in 2000 has now 55 vessels to its name. It exports to Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark.

Kaniz Almas Khan, managing director of Persona, has been awarded as the Outstanding Woman in Business for making beautification a viable economic activity. The award is a celebration of her extraordinary contributions to an industry where 99 percent of the workforce is women. It also recognises her innovations: Persona was the first to introduce an exclusive Spa facility in Bangladesh.

The fifth award that recognises the lifetime achievement of a charismatic leader went to Nasir A Choudhury, managing director and chief executive officer of Green Delta Insurance Company. He started his career in Karachi in 1958 with the then Pakistan Insurance Corporation. He has since been in the insurance sector with only two years apart. The award is the recognition of his dynamic leadership for nearly five decades that created many leaders who are currently heading many other leading financial institutions.