A self-made businessman, who started his first venture named Daffodil Computers, Md. Sabur Khan is an outstanding example of a visionary. He is the current President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. His prior appointments include that of being the president of the Bangladesh Computer Samity and member of the Prime Minister’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Task Force. He is honoured to have worked with international organizations such as Asian University Presidents Forum and the International Association of University Presidents. In a recent interview, Top 10 of Asia gains a better insight into the endeavours of this visionary whose contribution to ICT, human resource and development in his country has been immense and significant.
With a new information technology (IT) company as its first stride, Md. Sabur Khan stepped into the IT business in 1990 after graduating from Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka.
Daffodil Computers Ltd., emerged as a public limited company, focused on ICT training and business. Success of this organization spurred expansion into software and retail businesses. Sabur Khan foresaw the demand for skilled IT personnel and pioneered the merger of ICT and main stream education system of the country at different levels.
Thus, Daffodil established educational networks - Daffodil International Professional Training Institute, Bangladesh Skill Development Institute, Daffodil Institute of IT, Daffodil International School, and Daffodil International College and Daffodil International University (DIU) which has a current enrollment of about 12,000.
“My focus is on unifying IT with education and to provide modern technology-driven, quality and innovative education to ensure students attain a high standard of IT which makes them marketable and competitive for the international job market,” says Sabur Khan. “I want to create young leaders and entrepreneurs; it is one of my dreams to create some 2,000 entrepreneurs by the year 2013 under the rigorous care of DCCI, a testimony to Bangladesh’s leading potential business possessions. We are working on implementing academic degrees on entrepreneurship and leadership for those who have a desire to be self-employed and looking for scope and resources,” he adds. In this way, he is confident that Bangladesh will be a strong economy in the near future.
Many quality academic programmes such as, those related to software engineering, electronics and telecommunication engineering, environmental science and disaster management, multimedia technology and creative arts, nutrition and food engineering, public health, civil engineering as well as some others have been pioneered by DIU in Bangladesh to keep pace with the demands of the global market. DIU has 3 research centers and has already introduced PhD programmes in collaboration with foreign universities.
Sabur Khan’s hopes for the future of Daffodil group and DIU lie in its people. “I hope to create entrepreneurs and leaders for various industries and I want to invite national and international bodies to cooperate for mutual benefit,” he says.
Sabur Khan feels that his government has been moving in the right direction where ICT and education are concerned but there is still much scope for better coordination between government and private sector initiatives. “Business people need more freedom and cooperation from government sectors for smooth operation. Flexible loan policies from financial institutions for fair businessmen can open more horizons,” explains Sabur Khan.
Sabur Khan faced skilled manpower and financing barriers when he began growing his business. Now his group has adequate professional people, logistics, technical support and IT strength.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world,” says Sabur Khan as he shares some of his philosophies in life that have put him in good stead.“Always try to learn from mistakes. Self motivation is essential for self and organizational growth. We should provide solutions to problems. Learn to say sorry. Finish your job on time. Do not compare yourself with others. Never give excuses. Be the leader of leaders. We should love criticism. A leader thinks of himself as the light-post, not a torch light. Love and believe in people,” he says.
When he has leisure time, Sabur Khan turns to golf which is his other passion. Even if he has just ten minutes of free time, he will use it to maintain his networking list,do the necessary follow ups, update contact lists, return calls or replying emails. Another of his favourite activities is creating a brainstorming list for a project or article.
It is clear Sabur Khan has certainly acted on his vision and dreams and his success must be attributable to his philosophies and conviction that have served him so well all these years.