Australia, a land of prolific opportunities, has now become an important business partner for Bangladeshi exports. With the strengthening of business ties, the Bangladeshi business community living in Australia started the Australia Bangladesh Business Council (ABBC) in 2002. Since then the ABBC has helped both nations with business and investment opportunities, said the acting president of ABBC, Mr. Areef Sheikh, in their inaugural award ceremony for Bangladeshi businesses in Australia on the 22nd November 2013 at the Park Royal Hotel, Parramatta.
This was the first such event organised to recognise the Bangladeshi Business fraternity in Australia. The long anticipated celebration was conducted by ABBC’s newly elected committee – acting chairman is Mr. Areef Sheikh, Secretary is Monirul Islam, Assistant Secretary is Mr. Foez Dewan and Treasurer is Mr. Kamrul Islam. The Council’s Executive Members are Mr. Zahidul Islam, Mr. Abdul Hoque, Ms. Nipa Dewan and Mr. Syed Hasan.
The main program of the evening commenced with the playing of the national anthems of Australia and Bangladesh, followed by the presentation to all guests of a complimentary souvenir. The Bangladesh High Commission Lieutenant General Masud Uddin Chowdhury, Federal MP for Parramatta Ms. Julie Owens, Federal MP for Werriwa Mr. Laurie Ferguson, The Minister for Citizenship and Communities and for Aboroginal Affairs Mr. Victor Michael Dominello, Honorary Consul General for Bangladesh Mr. Anthony Khoury were among the distinguished guests who were presented with the souvenir which bears the names of the nominees and messages from most of the distinguished guests and ABBC committee.
After the souvenir presentation Tanim Hayat Khan (AKA: Rajit) was called to the stage to play Sarod with Tabla by Abhijeet. Rajit is a very well-known name in Sydney for his Sarod playing. He comes from a family of music maestros in the Indian Sub-Continent (to be named India-Bangladesh-Pakistan-Nepal) and inherited his music skills from them. After Rajit’s brilliant Sarod, dinner was served followed by a break to facilitate networking between old friends and new friends in the business fraternity.
It was the final segment of the program, “The Awards Presentation” after the break. As it is the first year for the ABBC Awards, the awards were limited to the following four categories which may increase in future years, depending on the growth of the business:
1. International Trade (Importers and Exporters)
2. Food and Hospitality (Restaurants, Take Away, Groceries)
3. Professional Services (Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants, Real estate agents, Travel agents, Architect firms and Builders)
4. Young entrepreneur (below age 35)
There were 3 nominees for each category and each winner received an award accompanied by a Crest and a Certificate. The winner was selected in each category by the independent judge panel.
This year’s winners:
International Trade – AFK International Pty Ltd
Food and Hospitality – Sitar Indian Restaurant
Professional Services – Dr Ayaz Chowdhury
Young Entrepreneur – Kamran Mohammed
We have spoken to several guests and business people from the awards night during and after the event and all of them praised the initiative taken by the ABBC. Some of them also provided very good suggestions for us to pass on to the ABBC to consider for their next awards night. One distinguished guest said “I think they should increase the number of nominees”. Another guest said, “The program was good – especially the MCs did a very good job – but it would be useful to have a program guide before the show”. One businessman said, “I think it is important to showcase, how the winner was selected. A brief introduction on this will clear the doubt of all the contestants” where other said, “Undoubtedly good initiatives, but we should conduct this in more professional ways.” In conclusion, I would like to applaud this grand initiative taken by the Bangladeshi organisations in Australia and publicly recognise that the participation by all businesses is a must to make both the event and the business fraternity more successful and sustainable in the wider Australian business society. Our business growth is limited and small when targeting just our community, but limitless when we targeting all other communities.