Category Archives: Noteworthy People

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.”

Agriculturist rewarded in Malaysia

Agriculturist rewarded in Malaysia

Staff Correspondent

FnF Pharmaceuticals Ltd consultant Md Alimul Islam received Bio Innovation Award 2011 for his contribution to the field of medical science.

He received the gold medal at an international exhibition on research and innovation at Kuala Lumpur recently.

Malaysia’s ministry of science, technology and innovations and ministry of education jointly organised the function.

A total of 245 stalls from different industries, research and educational institutions from different countries participated in the exhibition with their innovative and marketable products.

Alimul is a professor of microbiology and hygiene department of Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh. He is now serving at the school of sustainable agriculture, University Malaysia Sabah, as professor.

FnF pharma is the only private sector vaccine manufacturing industry in the poultry sector of Bangladesh.

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.

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story
Our Correspondent

BOGRA, Nov, 27: Anser Ali 60, from Bujruk Shokra village under Shibganj upazila of Bogra district, a grower of exotic vegetables, has brought a tremendous change in his life cultivating uncommon vegetables like asparagus in his land. He usually sells them in Dhaka and Cittagong between February and March earning around Tk 70 thousand a year. February to March is the peak time for asparagus.

He started farming foreign vegetables about 20 years ago on 7 decimals of his land by investing only Tk 200. For his outstanding contribution in farming foreign and local vegetables, he received Tk 3.5 lakh as prize money from Bangladesh government in September this year.

Agriculturist Md. Mahatab Uddin encouraged him at the outset to cultivate capsicum in 1992. His first harvest was not successful due to lack of knowledge on cultivation methods.

He cultivates 600 decimals of land in the winter season and 231 decimals in the summer for supplying foreign vegetables to some multi-star hotels in the capital. He said his annual profit has reached 2.7 lakh from selling vegetables like pepper, capsicum and asparagus etc. He further said he has been producing commercially sweet corn, hybrid cabbage, hybrid onion and some other foreign vegetables. He pointed out that getting quality seeds is one of the vital setbacks in cultivating foreign vegetables in our country. With the profit out of selling vegetables, he has purchased 429 decimals of land and is running his family as well as repaying his loan.

He also claimed, he supplies 20 varieties of foreign vegetables to 8 customers in the capital. He has created job opportunities for local jobless men and women in his vegetables fields. He now wishes to export vegetables if he would get government assistance in this regard.

Lack of transportation facilities is one big problem for foreign vegetables cultivation. Railway is the most effective transportation though there is no direct railway communication from Bogra to Dhaka and Cittagong. For that reason, vegetables cultivators have to spend huge money as truck fares. He said, the foreign vegetable cultivation can be profitable and may contribute a lot to our economy if the authority pays heed to cultivators and their problems.

Bangladesh activist gets first Wise award

Bangladesh activist gets first Wise award

The first Wise Prize for Educational Excellence was given yesterday to the founder and chairperson of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (Brac), Fazle Hasan Abad.

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed over the prize, carrying a cash award of $500,000 and a citation, to Abad at the end of the opening plenary session of Wise 2011.

The full house at the Theatre, the main conference venue of the Qatar National Convention Centre, gave a standing ovation to the prize recipient, who, according to the organisers, has been rendering unparalleled educational and empowerment services in Bangladesh and nine other countries as part of the Brac initiatives in the last four decades.

At the award ceremony, chairman of the Wise Dr Abdullah Ali al-Thani said Brac’s initiatives had helped more than 140mn people across nine countries gain educational access at different levels.

Dr Ali al-Thani said while there had been other awards, including the Nobel Prize for those working in different areas like physics, chemistry, medicine  and literature, there was no such big award for those  rendering services to make education accessible to large number of people, mainly in poor countries. The Wise award, he felt, would fill the gap and could be considered as the finest award given in the educational sector.

The Brac, it was announced at the meeting, is one of the largest educational and social networks in the world, having close to 120,000 volunteers at different levels. Of them there are nearly 55,000 teachers and 47,000 other staffers.

Its operations are spread over Asia, Africa and Central America. Besides Bangladesh, the Brac volunteers also work in Afghanistan, Pakistan,  Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierre Leone, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Haiti.

Later at a briefing, the Brac official said theirs could be one of the largest (if not the largest) voluntary educational non-government organisations, working on an annual  budget of $700mn. “However there are other forums such as World Vision and Oxfam which have bigger annual budgets,” Abad pointed out

While thanking the Qatar Foundation and its chairperson HH Sheikha Moza and Dr Abdulla Ali al-Thani, the award recipient said the honour would boost his organisation’s activities further. “We are not only delighted at the conferring of the award upon us but the honour would also encourage us to take up greater educational and other empowerment challenges in  coming days.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, Dr Abdulla Ali al-Thani said Abad started his initiatives at a turbulent time when Bangladesh was fighting its war of independence and had succeeded in giving a right direction to several thousands of people, mainly in rural Bangladesh and nine other countries.