Akij Group of Industries is one of the largest conglomerates in the Bangladesh business arena. But little do we know about the person behind one of the most successful companies in the country. Sheikh Akij Uddin was a remarkably industrious man who came from a humble background and eventually built an empire from scratch. Here are 14 less-known facts about the self-made entrepreneur.
1. Sheikh Akij Uddin was born in 1929 in a distant/remote village in Khulna.
2. Due to the poverty-stricken condition of the family, Akij Uddin did not get any formal schooling during his childhood.
3. At age 13, when he was just a teenager, Akij Uddin left his village, Maddhyadanga, for Kolkata with a mere amount of TK 16 in his pockets.
4. In the early days in Kolkata, Akij Uddin failed to find any accommodation for himself and, thus, had to take refuge at Shiyaldaha Station where he had to stay under the open sky for a few weeks.
5. With a little saving gathered from peddling oranges near Hawra Bridge in Kolkata, Akij Uddin bought a mobile grocery van on which he sold various types of products, all at just 6 paisa. This is why he named his van: NilamwalaChoy'ana (6-paisa Auctioneer).
6. The small business was going well until one day police charged Akij Uddin with opening an illegal shop and incarcerated him for 3 days.
7. In 1952, Akij Uddin set up a shop at Bejerdanga Rail station and started selling tobacco. It was the beginning of a venture that later turned out to be one of the largest company in the country.
8. Despite a number of terrible accidents, he soon moved to the town of Navaron in Bangladesh and built the biggest tobacco factory in the country known as: Akij Bidi Factory.
9. Akij Group of Industries, at present, has 22 different concerns including Akij Printing and Packaging Ltd. (estd. 1974), Akij Jute Mills Ltd. (estd. 1994), Akij Cement Company Ltd and Akij Textiles Mills Ltd. (estd. 1995), and, Akij Food and Beverage Ltd. (estd. 2000).
10. About 50,000 people have been employed in Akij Group of Industries.
11. In 2005-2006 fiscal year, Akij Group of Industries created a record by paying an amount of 950 crore in tax money to the government.
13. Akij Uddin was a generous social benefactor. He founded the Ad-din Welfare Trust in 1980 to provide healthcare and contribute to the socio-economic development in the southern region of Bangladesh.
14. At the age of 77, this extraordinary businessman and the loving father of 15 children died at a hospital in Singapore on 10th October 2006.