Published:  08:46 PM, 26 July 2020 Last Update: 09:02 PM, 26 July 2020

Business Leaders of Bangladesh

Business Leaders of Bangladesh
Syed Humayun Kabir: Champion of Social Cause

Syed HumayunKabir (1931-2015) is one of the country's most respected employers, business leaders, philanthropists, and a loving husband who founded the SAJIDA foundation as a gift to his wife on their 25th marriage anniversary. Today, SAJIDA foundation, along with Renata Ltd, stands tall as an extraordinary example of corporate generosity and social business partnership. Organizations sometimes team up to provide co-creative values to their target market.

The partnership between SAJIDA Foundation and Renata Ltd can be an example of that - where SAJIDA Foundation is a non-profit organization designed to help the less fortunate to bring health, happiness, and dignity in their lives and Renata ltd. is one of the largest and fastest-growing pharmaceuticals and animal health product company in Bangladesh. By combining the skills and specialties of these two organizations, both established by Syed HumayunKabir, he tried to fulfill his dream of helping the poor people of Bangladesh. 

The purpose of this piece of writing is to present the most beautiful part of the partnership between the Sajida Foundation and Reneta Ltd. Syed HumayunKabir was simple, humble, and compassionate. He loved his wife and he genuinely wanted to help the poor people. Given this background, he set an incredible example of social enterprise - SAJIDA foundation, which was holding a 51% share of Renata Ltd so that he could reach out to the poor. Such examples of generosity are so rare, but people like him give us hope. He has an excellent academic record at both University of Dhaka and the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.

He also marveled in his professional life in the tea garden and later in Bangladesh chapter of world's largest pharmaceutical company of Bangladesh - where he rose to the position of the first managing director due to his efficiency and integrity joining as a senior manager. He led different trade bodies and the world's largest NGO - BRAC as the chair for twelve years. His name is associated with two respected civil society organizations of the country- TIB and CPD as founder trustee. He had many achievements in his life but what makes him special is his emotions and his passion for improving the quality of life of the underprivileged. 

Major General (Rtd) Amjad Khan: Pioneer of Agro-Food Processing Industry

Major General (Rtd) Amjad Khan (1937-2015) is a person who paved the way for the rural and unemployed people of Bangladesh and set an example for everyone that there is no end to serving your country. After his time in the army ended earlier than expected, he decided not to stop serving his country. He realized that his only way of helping the country at that point was to help it attain economic emancipation. His extreme willpower to help the people of the country was reflected in what he did next. After struggling for years, finally, he became the visionary founder & chief executive officer (CEO) of the most diversified group of companies in Bangladesh 'PRAN-RFL' group with interests in Real Estate Housing, Agro-Processing, Food, PVC & Plastics, Light Engineering, Electrical & Electronics.

The two most popular companies in the country PRAN and RFL are his brainchildren. He came up with RFL in 1981 and later launched PRAN (Programme for Rural Advancement Nationally) in mid-eighties to uphold his vision of an agricultural revolution in rural Bengal by supplying agricultural equipment's at a reasonable price and eventually procuring the agricultural products directly from the farmers to build up nation's largest agro-processing business. He introduced contract farming and empowered a hundred thousand farmers of the country as the poor farmers do not have to become the victim of any intermediary. PRAN-RFL group has become one of the most successful companies in the country. It received the best exporter trophy for consecutive 10 years for his export performance.

Other than his pioneer role in the agro-processing industry, he contributed significantly to the development of the real estate sector of the country as the founder of the real estate and housing association of Bangladesh (REHAB). He engaged with the real estate sector having facing dilemmas in his first business venture RFL and led this sector to grow as what it now with his able leadership. He also led the trade bodies of the country as the president of MCCI. He was involved with UCEP and contributed significantly to the development of underprivileged children in Bangladesh. With dreams and contributions like these, Major General (Retd) Amjad Khan amazed us by generously helping the people of Bangladesh.

MA Kashem: Architect of Private Higher Education

MA Kashem is a renowned entrepreneur, a well-known patron of education, a noble humanitarian, and one of the key initiators of private university movement in Bangladesh and one of the main founders of North South University. Back in the late 1980s, the idea of establishing a private university began to be nurtured in the country. Being a syndicate member of Jahangirnagar University and Bangladesh Open University for six consecutive years, he already had exposure to the academic and administrative issues of public universities in the country.

His main concern was the failure of service delivery at the public universities due to many issues internal to university and factors active in the socio-economic arena of the country. He dreamt of a fine seat of advanced learning which could reverse the brain drain process as hundreds of students opt for foreign universities every year. He used to visit many foreign universities, as his close relatives had been educated in reputed universities of the world, which made him more knowledgeable about the education process at the top universities, and inspired him to establish an excellent educational endeavor in his own home country. When Muslehuddin Ahmad proposed him to help establish a private university in the country in the 1980s, he picked up the opportunity without hesitation.

He along with Muslehuddin Ahmad started to explore the regulatory and academic issues and found significant financial, academic issues, legal and socio-political barriers. At that time, there was no law to operate a university in the private sector. He along with his team even went to parliament to drum up support forpassing the private university act. The foundation for 'Promotion of Education and Research' was established withMuslehuddin Ahmad as the President and M.A. Kashemas the Chairman of the endowment committee of the foundation to collect funds for North South University.

Even after the establishment of the university in 1993, he contributed significantly to the development of the university as a four-time president of the Board of Trustees of NSU. Other than contributing to the higher education sector, his contribution is recalled in the international business, industry, and banking sector of Bangladesh.

He, in his early days, before liberation, initiated indenting business when primarily non-Bengalis dominated this business. He was among very few individuals who perceived the idea of establishing financial organizations in the private sector. Accordingly, he with few others initiated the first private bank of the country - the "National" bank. However, he had withdrawn his investment from it and later established Southeast Bank. He led all the major trade bodies of the country including FBCCI. He is the only person who served FBCCI as president for two terms. He received "President Export Trophy",

"C R Das Gold Medal" and "Abu Rushd Memorial Award, 2020", the honor of Long Term and High Tax Payer-2011 in recognition of his contribution to trade, industry and higher education. M.A. Kashem was born in 1940 in Feni to an aristocratic Muslim family. He completed his education from the University of Dhaka. He is a passionate philanthropist. He contributed to developing BIRDEM, Hamdard, AnjumanMofidul Islam, SAHIK, and many other social organizations. He set up a state of art health care facility, Tareq Memorial Hospital in memory of his disappeared son. A person like MK Kashem changes the lives of many with their truly benevolent minds.

Dr. SSM Sadrul Huda is an entrepreneur and enterprise researcher. He is a faculty at East-West University.

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