Quazi Taif Sadat is the CEO of Utopia International. He is one of the exceptional young entrepreneurs, who have achieved his success from the scratch. With his bold leadership, Utopia is now doing business in RMG, Education, and Agro sectors. Besides, he has passion to do something for the underprivileged. With this view ahead, he started Smile foundation, which is now working in rural areas of Bangladesh to improve the lives of people. Mr. Sadat is also a member of JCI Dhaka Central. While having a conversation with Future Startup, he explored lots of issues from his personal experience to Entrepreneurial success.
Tell us about yourself and your passion in life.
I am a friendly and social person, always looking for making new friends and fun. I did my graduation in Electrical Engineering from IUB (Independent University Bangladesh). I am now studying MBA in IUB alongside doing business. I have interest in experimenting new things and eager to find out all possible outcomes. I also enjoy playing football, watching movies, working out in the gym etc.
Tell us about “Utopia International”, about its past accomplishment & Future plan.
Utopia International is an umbrella company. Under this company we operate a number of different businesses. Now we are involved in Garment accessory manufacturing, Education, Agro, Real Estate, Consultancy and Health Care.
I started my career with Education sector in 2004. I started “Utopia Center” to provide quality education to the O / A level and IB students. From this year we are going to launch another wing where we will provide service for GED, IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT students.
However, I always wanted to diversify my business. So, I get involved into RMG, Agro and other sectors. With the blessings of almighty, I was selected as one of the 100 young entrepreneur of Bangladesh in 2011 by Arthokantha. I also did serve “Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI)” as a standing committee member from 2006 to 2008 and that time, I was the youngest member of Dhaka chamber. I became a member when I was only around 21 years old.
Courage, passion and hard work that are all I had while starting my business. From the beginning I never went to my dad or anyone for money. Today whatever I have achieved, I can humbly say that all are done by my hard work. It was never so easy. Many times I felt like losing hope about doing business of own and thought of joining my father’s business or join any other company. My mother and some of my friends gave me a lot of hope during those times.
Anyways, my future plan is to establish a Technical Institute in my father’s name (Who is not with us anymore!). Also I want to develop my garment factory in this coming year. As you know the current situation of Bangladesh is not business friendly, I want to observe more before investing.
What inspires you to become an Entrepreneur instead of taking any other easy way?
My father was a businessman. From my childhood I always wanted to be my own boss. Also in Islam, business is highly praised. I always knew the journey will never be easy. But I wanted to take the risk. Also by reading about the life of successful businessman I got inspired a lot.
How did you come up with the idea of “Utopia International”?
It didn’t come in a day. When I saw I am doing different business in different sectors, I wanted all to come under one roof. Most of my business is running with the name of “Utopia”. Then I chose the “Utopia International” to be the mother company.
After you came up with the idea, how did you get started? Please walk us through what the first few months of your journey were like.
My first venture “Utopia Center” started in 2004. When I did rent an office for that in Baridhara, after paying the advance to the flat owner, I had only three thousand taka in the bank. I didn’t know how I could pay the rent of the first month! But I did take the risk and with the help of the almighty somehow I did manage to overcome the situation.
This is business! Here you have to take a lot of risks; you’ll either go to the top or fall down to the bottom. But never lose hope.
What were the biggest obstacles you faced in your journey to date? And how did you overcome them?
I have faced a lot of obstacles till now. Two of them are worth mentioning. The first one is when I lost my father in 2008. That was a very hard time, because I never knew how my father used to run his business, who are the people he used to deal. A lot of problems occurred in that time. And with that I was not mentally alright because of losing him. It was a very hard time of my life. But I convinced myself and took the lead and in years those problems were solved with the help of the almighty.
The second one was in last year (2011). I have investment in Stock market. I think we all know about the fall of this market. This crisis was not easy for me. I took a different strategy then to overcome this problem and now I can say, yes I am not in the danger zone anymore!
What are the biggest obstacles for young Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh in your eyes?
In our country Entrepreneurs face a lot of problems in setting up their business. It is because of lack of support from the government, high interest rate in the banks, political unrest etc. But especially the Young Entrepreneurs face more problems than that. Like:
1. In our culture most of the elders do not have confidence on the youngsters. They think if a businessman is young in the meter of age he/she will not be able to handle the business.
2. Bank has issues in giving Loans to the young people, most of the time they do not cooperate, even if you have a very good idea.
3. It is actually very tough to set up someone’s own business (here I mean the youngsters who are trying to be great by their own, not with their Father’s or anyone’s money).
Please say something for young people who are just going to start their own initiative.
Well, starting anything is a tough journey. To young start-ups I would say:
1. Please never lose hope. Always remember there is a dawn after a dark night. Sometimes you will get success but sometimes you will not. So have patience.
2. Do not care about what your family, friends or people think about your work. If you have a passion for it, just keep going. Always remember “No Work Is Small”. May be you are making small money from it now but if you have the passion for it and if you are honest and work hard you will be much more successful than those people who did criticize you !
3. Always listen to your heart! This is very important! Before starting your business take time to think whether you have passion in doing that business or not. Don’t get influenced by others when choosing your path. Always consult with the experts but try to take the decision by your own.