The 15 Outstanding Tech Personalities Of 2015
Although some might think that Bangladesh is not making its mark in the global arena in terms of technology, such a perception would be wildly mistaken. Bangladesh, with a GDP growth rate of 6.12% is in fact the 27th highest in the world. The latest BTRC report reveals that the number of people with access to the internet is 53.9 million and over 94% of these users are connected to the web from their mobile devices. This is quite a feat in itself.
According to International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Information and Communication Technology index, Bangladesh has moved up one step ahead to 144, which was at 145 back in 2014. Bangladesh has progressed 4 steps in the last five years, up from 148th position back in 2010.
It is inevitable that Bangladesh will be one of the global front runners in technology in the near future and the consistent development in this sector did not happen overnight. Various government and private organizations, along with numerous individuals, have been working tirelessly to aid in Bangladesh’s progress. New startups with innovative ideas are emerging every other day and the promise they hold is indeed commendable.
So who are these driving forces with the reins of development in their hands? We have listed down the 15 tech personalities in Bangladesh who have made a considerable difference in their respective sectors in 2015.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy
Adviser for Information and Communication Technology
Long Term Policy Development
His title embodies the important role he is playing in policy making in Bangladesh. He is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Adviser for Information and Communication Technology. After completion of his High School degree from Saint Joseph College , he went on to graduate with honors in Computer Science from University of Texas at Arlington. Later, he completed his post graduation from Harvard University on Public Administration. In 2007, he was elected as the Young Global Leader by the Young Economic Forum. He plays an important role in policymaking for Bangladesh.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak
State Minister for Information & Communication Technology Division
National Technology Policymaking and Implementation
Zunaid Ahmed Palak has played a multi-faceted role in policy making and development of the technology sector in Bangladesh. Among the members of parliament, he is notable for being highly active on social media. His contribution has been crucial in improving goodwill between private and government institutions. His Facebook page was among the first verified pages in Bangladesh. He has taken initiatives to build legal framework for e-services, high-tech park authority policy code and the establishment of one-stop service center. Aside from this, he also played a key role in arranging Hackathon like competitions to build up skilled human resources in the country. Many projects have been taken up under his watch to better train freelancers, creating skilled man power.
Tech Startup & Policymaking
Apart from being BASIS Chairman, Shameem Ahsan is also a Director in the top Business Organization FBCCI. He is one of the Directors of Agrani Bank, General Partner at Fenox Venture Capital and a member of the Prime Minister’s Digital Bangladesh task force.
He is also the Chairman of renowned e-commerce organization Bagdoom.com and software company E-Generation. Winner of the ‘Top Youth Entrepreneur’ award, he is taking new initiatives in government, private and international stages to implement Digital Bangladesh.
He has been the speaker at various international conferences and seminars such as Global Sourcing Forum, US-Bangladesh Technology Investment Conference at Silicon Valley, Danish Federation of Small and Medium Enterprise Denmark, UK Trade and Investment, Paris Chamber of Commerce and University of Bremen, Germany.
A H M Mahfuzul Arif
Managing Director, Computer Source Ltd.
Computer Hardware Business & Policymaking
A H M Mahfuzul Arif is perhaps not known to all just by his name. He prefers to keep out of the limelight, hence, his name isn’t seen in the news media much either. However, he plays a vital role to take the country’s IT sector forward. After being elected as the President on Bangladesh Computer Samity in 2014, he is seen more often in the public eye. In 2015, he began the BCS ICT Expo at national level. Aside from taking necessary initiatives to safeguard the interests of businessmen and customers, he also plays a key role in taking BCS to the governmental policy making level and connecting students and consumers.
Chief Executive, bdjobs.com
Pioneer in Internet Sector
Fahim Mashroor is one of the first internet entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. In 2000, he founded the first job site in Bangladesh bdjobs.com. Born and bred in Dhaka, he finishing his schooling from Motijheel Ideal School and College and Notre Dame College, and went on to complete his graduation and then post-graduation degrees in Economy from Dhaka university. He later completed his MBA from IBA. After ending his life as an employee of one and a half years, he founded bdjobs with a few of his friends.
Later, he was elected President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Service (BASIS). In 2008, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) awarded him as the Top Innovative Entrepreneur.
He is also the founder of Ajkerdeal.com and Bangla social media site beshto. When Facebook was temporarily shut down in 2015, many users switched to beshto to meet their social network needs.
Chairman and Managing Director, Daffodil Group
ICT, Entrepreneurship & Education
Sabur Khan is a renowned businessman who has played a crucial role in the Information and Technology sector. He has been a technology businessman since the 90s and has served as Bangladesh Computer Society Chairman during 2002-2003. At that time he was also a member of Prime Minister’s information technology task force. He also served as chairman at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Sabur Khan founded Daffodil Computers, Daffodil PC, Daffodil Online, Daffodil Multimedia, Daffodil Software, Daffodil International University and Daffodil Institute of IT which are playing influential roles in the country’s technology sector.
As recognition of his work, he has received Financial Mirror Business award, Southeast Bank-The Industry award, Amor Ekushe gold medal, The Mission Welfare Trust award and World Quality Commitment gold medal and many more.
Sonia Bashir Kabir
Country Manager, Microsoft Bangladesh
Anti Piracy Hero
Microsoft’s Country Manager Sonia Bashir Kabir is a renowned and successful name in Bangladeshi tech scene. After finishing her training at the Silicon Valley, she worked at Oracle. Later, she joined Sun Microsystems.
With work experience in Oracle and Sun Microsystems, she has extensive knowledge on the inner working of world class companies. She came back to Bangladesh in 2005 after spending 20 years abroad with 15 years of work experience. In 2007 she joined Microsoft South Asia as Business Development Director.
In 2011, when Dell Bangladesh was formed, she joined the company as Country Manager. After working there for 3 years, she eventually joined Microsoft. She is a member of Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Women Division and Abahoni’s Women Sports Development Division. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Bangladesh Women in IT.
Chief Story Teller, Better Stories
Minhaz Anwar is a familiar face in Bangladesh’s technology and startup scene. He is currently working as the Chief Story Teller at Better Stories Ltd. and serving as a Director at Founders’ Institute. Last year, JCI Bangladesh chapter has awarded ten young personalities who are successful in their respective sectors and one of the award winners is Minhaz Anwar. He was also one of the organizers of the first hardware competition ever held in Bangladesh called ‘Make-A-Thon’
e-Commerce Policy Maker
Bangladesh has recently been progressing significantly in the e-Commerce sector. To continue this progress a key role is being played by e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) and Razib Ahmed. e-CAB embarked on its journey in 2014 and currently has 310 organizations as members. Many ideas and information related to e-Commerce is shared by e-CAB’s Facebook group, page and blog, which help budding and new entrepreneurs.
To advise new entrants into the e-Commerce sector, Razib Ahmed is organizing ‘Skype Adda,’ through which new entrepreneurs can directly know about problems that they may face.
After having graduated from Dhaka University in English Literature, Razib has taught in various private universities. Aside from this, he regularly writes about e-Commerce or Information Technology.
Riyad Shahir Ahmed Husain
CEO, Magnito Digital
Riyad Shahir Ahmed Husain is a BA (honors) graduate from Richmond, The American International University in London, who joined the Arcadia Group Ltd. in the UK as Brand Manager soon after graduation. After having worked there for a year, he returned to Bangladesh with the interest to become an entrepreneur. In 2009, he founded a communication agency called Root Marketing Services, after which the journey of the first digital marketing advertising agency – Magnito Digital, came into being. Mangito’s aim was to make people aware and enthusiastic about digitizing the country’s market, whereby both small and large businesses would be able to survive and be introduced to digital marketing.
Magnito is working as the digital agency for the country’s leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone, and is considering venturing out internationally as well. Upon successful completion of a campaign of Access to Information (a2i) of the Prime Minister’s Office, Magnito Digital won the Gold Award as Digital Agency of the Year under the ‘Best of South Asia’ category. As an influential digital media professional Riyadh was also recognized at the World Brand Congress.
Wasim Alim is Chaldal’s co-founder and CEO. Chaldal was established in 2013. Before Chaldal, Wasim served as Product Strategic Director at SigFig. World renowned Forbes magazine selected Chaldal’s startup support organization ‘Y Combinator’ as one of top ten entrepreneurial initiatives around the world. Chaldal is at ninth position in the list.
CEO & Founder, JoomShaper
Kawshar Ahmed is the country’s first Joomla template club, Joomshaper’s founder and CEO. In the beginning, he would create Joomla bashed web templates and sell them only, but now he provides other services as well. Joomshaper is among one of the best web template creator companies in the world. Joomshaper templates are being used by numerous websites in Bangladesh and abroad. Bangladesh Open Source Network, Bangladesh National Museum, several universities, software companies and newspapers are currently using Joomshaper’s templates. On 6th November 2015, a three day ‘Joomla World Conference’ was held in Bangalore, India, where Joomshaper took part as co-sponsor. On the other hand, Joomshaper template marketplace shapebootstrap was unveiled last June.
G&R is Bangladesh’s leading ad network and its CEO Nazimuddaula helps connect local website owners to advertisers. There was a time when there were no ad networks available in the country to provide online advertisements and Google Adsense was the only option. However, Google Adsense had many limitations. That’s when G&R came in and changed the local online ad scenario.
Nazimuddaula began his career as an animator while still a student of Graphic Design in Dhaka University. Later, as part of his job, he also worked with renowned national newspapers such as Daily Star and Prothom Alo. In 2010, the journey of G&R commenced and now G&R serves over 100 crore ads. It is the only Bangladeshi Certified Partner of Amazon Web Services, in addition to being the only Google AdSense and AdWords Certified Partner.
G&R has been acquired by UK based Institution Genosis Infosys Limited in February 2015.
Mahmudul Hasan Shohag
CEO, Onnorokom Group
Mahmudul Hasan Shohag is a young entrepreneur with a lot of dreams, who is currently the Chairman of Onnorokom Group. He made headlines a while ago when he first created the electronic voting machine (EVM). This youngster from Jamalpur Zila’s Shorishabari is a successful entrepreneur in the true sense. Onnorokom Web Services, online book purchasing website rokomari.com, export-import Onnorokom Solutions, Onnorokom publishing, Oyster International School and Techshop.com, have been added to Onnorokom Group.
CEO, Preneur Lab
Arif Nezami and his organization Preneur Lab are well known in the country’s online community. This initiative began its journey in 2013 under the tagline ‘Tech for Social Good.’ Preneur lab primarily performs various activities related to innovation. The lab helps to organize different technology related events such as hackathon and startup workshops and works to encourage people to innovate. Preneur lab was also involved with the recent Google Tech Women event, along with other high profile events such as the National Hackathon, National App Award, Innovation Xtreme and Startup Cup. He acts as the Manager for the Google Developer Group as well.