Friday, May 05, 2006

Stories from DS Business Awards

I attended this Award ceremony tonight. A great service from the Daily Star, to recognize business leaders and inspire budding entrepreneurs.

Couple of stories I found inspiring:

Business Person of the Year was Mr. Fazlur Rahman, Chairman of City Group of Industries, which employs 10000 people in 18 industries. I heard a story about him. When he was 9 years old, Mr. Rahman, who comes from a poor family in old Dhaka, went to the local grocery store to buy a few ounces of cooking oil on credit (I guess the family was short on cash). When he was turned down, he came home and swore to his Mother, "One day I will make an oil factory." And sure enough, his first factory was an Oil Mill (today they make Teer Cooking Oil as well as a zillion other things.) What an inspiration!

The last 5 years in the US, with increasing outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, biking, etc I grew fond of outdoors wear. The North Face is my favorite brand among technical outdoor clothing, because of their high quality (strong, lightweight, quick-drying, insulating, etc.) And guess what, much of their high-performance clothing is made in Bangladesh. The factory is Youngone, a Korean-Bangladeshi company, which won an award tonight.

The reason I found Youngone so inspiring is because this is cutting-edge stuff they make, not me-too products. Their philosophy of specializing in one thing and becoming really good at it has really paid off. They have proved that Bangladesh can create products w-a-a-a-y up the value chain.

I believe such an approach will work for the local IT industry.

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