Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Grape farming growing in N-region

Grape farming growing in N-region
Our Correspondent

RANGPUR, June 3: Cultivation of grapes is gradually gaining popularity in the northern region and the growers are earning handsomely by selling their products.

According to the agriculturists, the soil and climate of Dinajpur, Rangpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh are suitable for grape cultivation.

Presently, grapes are cultivated only in a limited extent due to non-availability of required seeds and other facilities.

The local growers say that proper training and financial and technical assistances can pave way for large-scale commercial production of grapes across the region.

Mominur Rahman, a grower at Mithapukur told FE he has been cultivating grape in his homestead for several years and selling those at a good price.

Growers say much of the grapes produced in the areas belong to the average grade variety called ‘Jatka’.

They also cultivate a number of high-grade varieties like Black Ruby, Cardinal, Pearl, Blue etc.

These local grapes are comparatively sweeter in taste than the imported ones, they claimed.

Non-formal education underscored

BSS report says: Discussants at a views-sharing meeting last evening stressed the need for continuation of the non-formal education programme for developing human resources as well as accelerating uplifts in the rural areas.

They were addressing the meeting jointly organised by Panchagarh district administration, Non- formal Education Bureau and Astha Social Development Organisation (ASDO) at the conference room of Panchagarh Deputy Commissioner.

Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education MM Neaz Uddin attended the meeting as the chief guest with Panchagarh Deputy Commissioner Md Tofazzal Hossain in the chair.

Director General of Non-formal Education Bureau Md Alauddin, Project Director of Post Literacy & Continuing Education for Human Development (PLCEHD-2) MA Mannan Hawlader and Executive Director of ASDO Nahid Parveen addressed as the special guests.

District level government and NGO officials and executives, teachers, public representatives, socio-cultural and political leaders and activists, professionals, journalists and local elite took part in the meeting.

Earlier, the acting secretary inaugurated Doluapara Non- formal Education Centre in Sadar upazila as part of official launching of educational activities at all 170 such centres in five upazilas in Panchagarh.

Thirty females and thirty males between 15 to 45 years of age have been attending the non-formal education and vocational training programmes in separate batches and shifts at each centre every day. Classes are being held both in morning and evening shifts.

As per agreement with the government, ASDO has been conducting non-formal education and vocational training on sewing, repairing shallow machines, bicycles and rickshaw vans, electric cable wiring and livestock in these centres.


Innovative power plants

Innovative power plants
Author / Source : MD JAMIL KHAN

[KERANIGANJ: Serious load-shedding has compelled the residents to hire barges and set generators on them. Photo: Tarif Rahman] DHAKA, JUNE 2: It is not government-sponsored quick rental project but rental it is. Endemic power shortage, and load-shedding have compelled the people to devise the way as an alternative source of power when the existing plants cannot meet the demand. Such plants are found in Keraniganj where a group of people supplies electricity to several markets by installing a dozen generators on a drum barge.  The barge was anchored in the river of Buriganga.

Saiful Islam, owner of the M.D. Alamnagar drum barge said, “We are operating the business for more than a year in order to give support to businessmen of the area in cheap rate.”

“But this year, the power crisis of the area has crossed the limit than earlier as we only get electricity for two hours in a day,” Saiful said adding, “If the authority concerned do not take initiative to increase the condition then we have no other option but to shut the businesses from here.”

Visiting the area, this correspondent found that six barges have been set up on the area having the capacity of providing two megawatt of electricity daily. It provides electricity, sometimes for 13 hours, to 3000 shops and 700 small garment factories which have grown on the bank of the Buriganga under Keraniganj.

Those who are taking the electricity service from the barge are the owners of Khaja Super Market, Alam Tower, Sahidul Alam, S. Alam and garment factories at Sholu Towers.

The owner of the barges charge Tk 300 for a bulb, Tk 800 for a machine of a factory and Tk 500 for a fan a month.

They need 10 barrels of oil everyday to run a generator normally. One barrel of oil costs Tk 12 thousand. In the process they spend Tk 1.2 lakh daily. But these days they have to spend Tk 2 lakh daily as the demand is rising every day.

It is our good luck that this commercial service is providing us electricity to keep our work going without any interruption, said Sahidul Islam, owner of a garment factory.

If they shut their service, then we don’t know what will happen for us and minimum 700 small factory owners of the area, he added.

The drum barge is not only supporting the business community of the area but also creating employment facilities for the jobless people of the area. According to sources, a total of 120 people are working in the six drum barge of the area. The workers said that earlier their family was in very poor condition but they are now living happily.

Mohammad Aziz, an operator of the barge said, “Earlier, I would spend a very miserable life with my family members but now I am happy as I am getting a standard salary from the owner of the barge.”

Mohammad Mizan, an inhabitant of the area said, “The barge owners are doing a valuable work as they are helping the business community to run their businesses by giving uninterrupted power supply.”

He also urged social NGOs of the country to come forward like this barge owner to help the people of the country so that they can lead a happy life and continue their regular work as electricity is essential for our daily life.

Yunus among 12 greatest entrepreneurs

Fortune Magazine’s List
Yunus among 12 greatest entrepreneurs
Staff Correspondent

Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus has been named by Fortune magazine as one of the 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time.

This list published in the magazine’s latest issue places Prof Yunus among the band of highly exclusive individuals, all of whom are known throughout the world for their innovation, vision and ability to get things done.

“His desire to do something to help the local citizens led to a simple but powerful gesture: Yunus loaned $27 to destitute basket weavers in a village next to his university’s campus,” the magazine says.

“He could not believe the excitement the small amount of money caused. For people living on pennies a day, just a few dollars could transform their lives — and in many cases it did. The gift was used to support and expand these very small businesses, and that helped many overcome their poverty.

“Much to Yunus’ surprise, the basket weavers actually paid off the loans — and on time too. He then moved from one village to the next, finding all sorts of entrepreneurial projects to fund,” Fortune says.

While the bank could not eradicate poverty, it lifted many lives, the magazine adds.

“No less critical, Yunus’ idea inspired countless numbers of young people to devote themselves to social causes all over the world.”

The Fortune places the 12 individuals in the following order:

1) Steve Jobs of Apple, 2) Bill Gates of Microsoft, 3) Fred Smith of FedEx, 4) Jeff Bezos of Amazon, 5) Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, 6) Howard Schultz of Starbucks, 7) Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, 8) John Mackey of Whole Foods, 9) Herb Kelleher of SouthWest Airlines, 10) Narayana Murthy of Infosys, 11) Sam Walton of Wal-mart Stores, 12) Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank.

Ten of these entrepreneurs are American and one is an Indian.

The list was prepared considering economic and social impact, world changing vision of the entrepreneurs, ability of the entrepreneurs to inspire and motivate their employees, their record of innovation and their actual results, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday.

The companies that they have created have benefited hundreds and thousands of people and other businesses, while creating employment for millions of people, according to the statement.

Prof Yunus was chosen by Wharton School of Business for PBS documentary, as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years.

In 2006, Time magazine listed him under 60 Years of Asian Heroes as one of the top 12 business leaders.

In 2008, in an open online poll, Yunus was voted the second topmost intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine of the UK and Foreign Policy of the United States.

He was also voted second in Prospect Magazine’s 2008 global poll of the world’s Top 100 Intellectuals.

The news has enthralled leading economists and businessmen.

Former caretaker government adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said his inclusion in the top 12 is a recognition of his philosophy and social responsibility.

“We are very proud of his achievement in two senses; first, he has been recognised as a Bangalee and secondly, he is a great role model for us,” he told The Daily Star.

Besides, the honour would uphold the image of the country, maintained Zillur. “We have many problems and weaknesses. It is an example of how creative thinking can take an individual to a new height amid many problems.”

Syed Nasim Manzur, a leading entrepreneur, said, “Of course, it is a great inspiration for us. It is a great thing that Fortune magazine has honoured a Bangladeshi and a social entrepreneur.”

He said the Banker to the Poor has shown that business can have a conscience. “Business does not mean that it should ignore society’s welfare to be successful. Dr Yunus is an example for this.”

“It will inspire us to do business with a social conscience and become successful,” said Manzur, managing director of Apex Adelchi Footwear Ltd, one of the top footwear brands of the country.

Annisul Huq, a former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said Prof Yunus had really established some good institutions. “There is no doubt about his entrepreneurial credibility.”

A woman entrepreneur thrives despite crisis

SME Fair held in city
A woman entrepreneur thrives despite crisis

Parvin Akter, proprietor of Jenya Collection, seen at the stall at SME Fair 2011 at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

Anayetur Rahaman

She started a small boutique shop in a room of her house in Chittagong in 2003 with a capital of only Tk 30,000. She did not get any bank loan, rather had to borrow Tk 20,000 from an individual lender with high interest. But now her business got expanded across five districts of the country.

Parvin Akter, proprietor of Jenya Collection, said “My shops now design around 500 sarees and salwar kameezes a month.”

The woman, who opened a tiny shop in her own house by borrowing a small amount of money eight years back, is now planning to export her products.

Her boutique shop receives orders from different fashion brands and put designs on the products including sarees, salwar kameez, bed sheets and Nakshi Kantha as per the customers’ demands.

Parvin Akter said the demand of her works is growing day by day. That is why her business is not limited only in Chittagong, rather got expanded to four more districts.

Parvin Akter opened design centres in Jessore, Mymensingh, Comilla and Jamalpur. Around 500 women work in her design centres which receive orders from different brands of sarees and salwar kamizes.

“Our biggest centre is in Jessore where around 100 workers are employed,” Parvin Akter told daily sun at the SME Fair in Dhaka.

She opened a stall at the Small and Middle Enterprises (SMEs) Fair in the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre with support from Chittagong Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI). Parvin is a member of CWCCI.

Parvin attributed her success to the integrity and hard work of her employees. She also did not forget her husband’s support without which it would have been difficult for her to go ahead. Parvin Akter said the commercial banks’ current SME loan policy is also positive for entrepreneurs like her.

“The commercial banks are now coming with different loan products for SMEs which is very positive. I recently got a loan Tk 4 million from Arab Bangladesh (AB) Bank Limited,” said the owner of Jenya Collection.

She bought a showroom for Tk 3 million at Central Plaza in Chittagong. She has other two showrooms at Agrabad and Halishahar in the port city.

While talking to daily sun, she hinted about her plan to expand business abroad. “I recently visited some countries including the United States, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. I talked to several buyers in those countries. I am hopeful to get orders from them.”

Parvin Akter said it is positive that the women are increasingly getting involved into businesses and opening enterprises.

Keep believing in yourself

Keep believing in yourself
Successful businesspeople urge young Bangladeshis
Star Business Report

Bangladesh has its success stories. But a lack of confidence and self-underrating holds the country back in realising its full potential, said a panel of top business executives yesterday.

They said such attitudes should be changed. Instead, confidence in own ability and continuous efforts of all should be the national motto leitmotifs to achieve excellence for building a prosperous Bangladesh.

“We have to change our attitude that we cannot. We are poor. This attitude has nipped our possibilities in the bud,” said Niaz Rahim, group director of automotive battery maker-supermarket pioneer Rahimafrooz.

“We can if we try. You have to be humble and confident. Do not underrate yourself, your country. Believe in yourself,” he said, citing that continuous efforts and an urge to compete globally have helped Rahimafrooz to export its automotive battery to 34 countries, including China and India.

Rahim made the remark at a gathering of under and post-graduate students of the Department of Industrial and Production Engineering (IPE) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Department of IPE and Association of Industrial Production Engineers (AIPE) jointly organised the event titled IPE Symposium.

Chairman of export-oriented shipbuilding firm Ananda Shipyard Abdullahel Bari, Director of Corporate Affairs of cosmetics and toiletries maker Kohinoor Chemical Abul Khair and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of furniture giant Otobi Ltd Mohammed Kamruz Zaman also spoke on the occasion.

Rahim said Bangladesh needs to stand up with identity as a nation. For this, a change of the negative mindset of the Bangladeshis is a must.

“When we go abroad, many of us feel humiliated to introduce ourselves as Bangladeshis. We have to shun this mindset. This country belongs to us. This is our identity.”

Khair said Bangladesh has many outstanding and courageous entrepreneurs who are carrying forward the industrialisation in the country despite various barriers.

“Once we bought ferries from Denmark. Now we export to that country,” said the chairman of Ananda Shipyard.

Giving tips to students about success in life and career, Rahim said none should give up in trying succeeding.

“You have to be positive. Do not give up,” he said. “We did not give up. That’s why, our battery is going to China, which exports its products to the whole world.”

Khair suggested students and young employees to refrain from frequently changing workplaces. “You have to give your employer adequate space to evaluate your performance,” he said.

Otobi COO recommended that students stick to honesty throughout to shine in life. “Be humble but don’t accept unjust practices,” he said.

Amena gets YBI award

Amena gets YBI award
Business Report

A Bangladeshi woman entrepreneur and proprietor of Amir Tailors and Boutique, Amena Begum has won the Barclays Capital Journey to Enterprise Award in the Youth Business International award 2011 held at London Museum recently organized by Youth Business International (YBI) which is a trust of Prince Charles.

Chairperson of the SME Foundation, Industries Minister Dilip Barua and Co Chief Executive of Barclays Capital Rich Ricci presented the award in a gala ceremony.

Amena Begum established her business as a means of supporting her three children after being widowed as a young woman. From a small one-woman enterprise, her business ‘Amir Tailors and Boutique’ has grown to employ eight staff and has established links with some of the key retailers in Bangladesh. Alongside her growing business, Amena manages a training centre where she shares her skills with other vulnerable young women.

Gourd production brings Tarapada good fortune

Gourd production brings Tarapada good fortune

GOPALGAN: Tarapada Bala taking his fare of gourds to the market. — FE photo

Our Correspondent

GOPALGANJ, Dec 1: Gourd cultivation has changed the fate of a school teacher, Tarapada Bala (50), who is earning about Tk. 1,38,000 a month from his gourd field now.

Tarapada Bala is a school teacher of Govt. Primary School under Tungipara upazila of Gopalganj district. He has been working in his vegetable field side by side his teaching occupation for last twenty years. His strong will power, curiosity and hard work made him a successful farmer of Mitrodanga village under Tungipara upazila of Gopalganj district.

Tarapada started cultivating vegetables on a small scale in the year 1990. But in recent years he has concentrated on vegetable cultivation, particularly on gourd.

On Friday, while this correspondent visited his gourd field, he told the F.E., everyday he has been collecting about 200 pieces of gourd from his field.

Tarapada said he invested Tk. 40,000 for gourd cultivation on two bighas of land including seeds, fertilizer, pesticide etc. but he usually uses natural fertilizer in his field.

Not only that, he has been earning an additional profit of Tk. one lakh from other vegetables production.

Last year (2010) Tarapada Bala was awarded a silver medal from the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the best farmer in agriculture sector. Earlier he received certificates from the Ministry of Agriculture as a successful farmer in the district.

He further informed this correspondent that many of his neighbours have now been following his footsteps. He offers from free advice to them on gourd production.