Cablegate: Bangladesh Nominees for President's Entrepreneurship

DE RUEHKA #1114/01 3490819
P 150819Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 112468

1. Mission Dhaka welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the
President's Entrepreneurship Initiative. Post's Economic Working
Group will continue to explore ways to highlight the
entrepreneurship objectives outlined reftel. The Ambassador
discussed entrepreneurship with leading business representatives at
a December 10 gathering outside of Dhaka as part of the Mission's
annual "America Week," which takes the Embassy on the road to rural
Bangladesh. Mission Dhaka will identify additional opportunities to
engage up-and-coming businessmen and women, including through


2. Bangladesh's business community is already buzzing about the
President's Entrepreneurship Summit. Bangladesh is home to many
dynamic entrepreneurs, particularly social entrepreneurs, and some
have already made inquiries with Post about the summit. Our top ten
nominees are:

--Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate and Managing Director,
Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank has transformed the lives of millions of
poor women in Bangladesh through micro-credit. Grameen currently
has 8 million borrowers and has lent $8 billion since its inception
in the 1980s. The father of micro-credit, Professor Yunus has also
pioneered the concept of social entrepreneurship. In Bangladesh,
Grameen has partnered with Danone to produce high-quality, low-cost
yogurt that is distributed throughout Bangladesh and has become an
important dietary supplement for many rural Bangladeshis. Grameen
is developing other social enterprises with multi-nationals,
including Adidas.

--Annisul Huq, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of
Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). As Bangladesh's top business
advocate, Huq has worked tirelessly to represent entrepreneurs and
investors and to urge the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) to create a
more credible and transparent business environment. Huq was
recently elected president of South Asia's regional business
chamber, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Huq played an important
role in advising the GOB on its new public-private partnership
initiative, which aims to leverage private investment for
desperately-needed infrastructure in Bangladesh.

--Ifty Islam, Managing Partner, Asian Tiger Capital. Building on
his work with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch,
Oxford-educated Islam returned to Dhaka to leverage his
international connections with a view to attracting investment to
Bangladesh. Islam helped develop the public-private partnership
initiative unveiled by the GOB earlier this year. Islam has also
acted as a catalyst for developing a Brand Bangladesh.

--Tamara Abed, Director, Aarong. Aarong is a social enterprise that
employs the micro-credit beneficiaries, mostly women, of one of
Bangladesh's leading NGOs, BRAC. Some 62,000 artisans produce
Aarong's many lines of Bangladesh handicrafts, including clothing,
textiles, housewares, jewelry, pottery, woodwork and brassware.
Abed's branding of Aarong has made it the premier department store
of Bangladesh and the one-stop shop for tourists in search of
Bangladeshi handicrafts.
--Kamal Quadir, CEO, CellBazaar. As CellBazaar's founder, Quadir
created a cellphone-based electronic marketplace that brings
together isolated buyers and sellers, eliminating the
often-exploitative middleman. CellBazaar enables entrepreneurs and
small businesses in Bangladesh to start and grow operations in a
market that wouldn't otherwise be available in their local
community, thereby creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and
delivering products and services that improve the lives of millions
of poor people. The CellBazaar marketplace is available to more
than 25 million people in Bangladesh, including farmers who use the
service to sell their harvest at fair market prices and struggling
students who find and connect with tutors. Quadir was recognized by
the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos as a Young Global Leader.
-- Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director, Apex Adelchi Footwear
Limited. Apex is the largest footwear manufacturer and exporter in
Bangladesh. Educated at the Wharton School of Business, Nasim is
translating Bangladesh's success in the apparel industry to the
leather/footwear manufacturing sector. Manzur was named one of the
200 emerging Asian leaders by the Asia Society's 2009 Asia 21 Young
Leaders Summit. Nasim's Apex Group is also involved in the retail,
pharmaceutical, advertising and insurance sectors. He is active in
the Society for Promotion of Bangladesh Art and literacy programs.

--Kohinoor Yasmin, Executive Director, TARANGO. TARANGO (Training
Assistance and Rural Advancement Non-Governmental Organization) is a
social enterprise that employs some 12,000 impoverished, mostly

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rural, women to produce handbags, cosmetic bags, storage baskets,
housewares and other accessories out of natural fibers and recycled
materials. Started in 1989 by a German priest, TARANGO is now
wholly-owned and run by Bangladeshi women. TARANGO produces goods
for many top European brands, including Marks and Spencer, Pepe
Jeans and the Body Shop.

--A.K.M. Fahim Mashroor, CEO, BDJOBS Ltd. Fahim founded Bangladesh's
first web-based career management company, BDJOBS, in 2000. Since
its inception, BDJOBS has recruited more than 100,000 professionals
for more than 4,000 employers. Fahim plays a leading role in D.Net,
a non-profit organization that seeks to promote information and
communication technology (ICT) literacy and the use of ICT in
Bangladesh's economic development. Fahim is also a leader in the
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS),
Bangladesh's main association of information technology (IT)

--Manjulika Chakma, owner, Bain Textile. Starting with less than $5
in capital, Manjulika created a market for the handloom crafts of
the Chakma ethnic group, a minority group originally from the
Chittagong Hill Tracts. Bangladesh media and business groups have
recognized her for pioneering work that preserves traditional
handloom fabrics and fashions and creates jobs for some of
Bangladesh's most underprivileged women. Manjulika works for women
in small enterprise through her leadership in the Chittagong Women's
Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

--Aftab ul-Islam, President, American Chamber of Commerce
Bangladesh; Chairman, Bangladesh SME Foundation; and CEO,
International Office Equipment (IOE). After representing U.S. firm
NCR in Bangladesh, Aftab started his own IT-related business, IOE.
A lawyer and accountant, Aftab is a fervent advocate of business,
particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). He is a strong
supporter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's efforts to create a
Digital Bangladesh. Aftab is a member of the United Nations' Global
Alliance for ICT and Development.


3. Mission Dhaka's point of contact for the Entrepreneurship
Initiative and Post's Economic Working Group is Deputy Pol/Econ
Chief Heather Variava, who may be reached at
Mission Dhaka looks forward to receiving more details about the
Entrepreneurship Summit, including dates and possibilities for


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