Stories Of 04 Bangladeshi Entrepreneurs Who Have Made It Big
What does it take to build a company from scratch? Why people start things, build things? What motivates entrepreneurs to do things they do? These fours interviews of four Bangladeshi entrepreneurs try to explore that.
Fahim Mashroor is the Co-Founder and CEO of BDjobs.com-the largest job portal of the country. Fahim is one of those rare found entrepreneurs who can see far beyond the horizon and also act on their foresight. He started BDjobs in 2000. Back then internet was not a household thing in BD. But he could see the future. His dynamic leadership and courage has made BDjobs.com one of the most successful online ventures of the country to date. In 2008 Fahim was awarded “Best Innovative Entrepreneur” by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He also served as President of BASIS in the year of 2012 and 2013.
We started BDJOBS in my house taking a single room only with 2-3 people. Back then I just came out of university and money was not one of our strengths. We started with a very minimum investment by borrowing 3 computers from my family members.
Samantha has a brilliant story of taking initiative and making ideas happen. She started her first venture at the age of 8-it was making rag dolls! However, her interest in social enterprise started in 2004 with a basic question ‘how do you create sustainable employment without micro-finance debt or economic migration for rural women?’. To solve that question Samantha founded Hathay Bunano with a personal initial investment of $500. Now a decade later Hathay Bunano has evolved into a thriving social enterprise, comprising a non-profit organization in Bangladesh and three limited companies in Bangladesh, UK and Malaysia, with employment creation for more than 6000 artisans in more than 60 rural production centers throughout Bangladesh and export of handmade toys around the world.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur! My first ‘business’ started when I was 8 – I made rag dolls and then asked my aunts to sell them where they worked. I still have the first doll I made from the first batch.
BiBi Russell is the founder of ‘Bibi Productions’-a world renowned fashion house working with crafts people in Bangladesh. Bibi was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She grew up in Dhaka studying in Kamrunnessa Govt. Girls’ High School and Home Economics Collage. Later she went to London and earned a graduate degree in fashion from London College of Fashion. In the next few years, Bibi worked as a fashion model with different prestigious organizations and talented people.
In 1994 BiBi returned to Bangladesh and opened Bibi Productions in the year of 1995, a fashion house, fusing indigenous Bengali cultural elements into her line. With BiBi Productions she first claimed the much cited slogan ‘Fashion for Development’. Then on Bibi has been working with crafts people with a vision to save crafts and revive their dream.
Iraj Islam is an entrepreneur, a curious creator that is how he likes to think about himself. And after talking with him, at FS our realization is- some people are here to make something happen for no other reason but only because they love to do it. Iraj is the Co-Founder and CTO of NewsCred, a news wire with a vision to disrupt news industry in order to save it. Few days ago, we sat with Iraj to find out more about his entrepreneurial journey, NewsCred, his take on entrepreneurship and building business and we are thrilled after finding more.
The notion of being able to change the world around you, as opposed to simply live in it is a very inspiring idea to me. It’s a very simple idea, but when you realize that your own ideas and actions can shape the world around you, you become very motivated to reach out into the world, and change it.