In a conversation, Shaikh Wahid, MD and CEO of LEADS Corporation Limited, elaborates on his journey as a tech entrepreneur, existing challenges the industry is facing and the future of the company.
Since the 90s, Bangladesh’s economy has experienced remarkable growth. How has LEADS Corporation evolved (capacity and competency) over the same period to continue providing state of the art solutions to the financial sector?
Growth, to me is a relative term. Although we have grown, at least, in line with the industry, our real target is ‘sustainable growth’. I think, based on the numbers, we are on the right track. LEADS is now a company with various new products, various awards, new technology and have recently moved to its own new ten-storied HQ Building.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced throughout your journey as an ICT entrepreneur? How have you overcome them?
I think that the challenges are the same for all reputable companies. In other words, there are too many players in a small market like Bangladesh. Unless we see some positive changes in this area, the only other option we have is to go beyond that and grow internationally and that is what we are trying to do. As a result, we now have an in-house international salesperson. Consequently, we are getting some new business from Japan, Thailand and various international markets. In addition, we are also collaborating with Ex-LEADS associates who are working abroad. This approach is also in line with the Government of Bangladesh initiatives.
In recent years, Bangladesh has become one of the most vulnerable countries in cyberspace, with frequent attacks on our financial institutions. What is the path towards ensuring a secured cyber infrastructure?
Cybersecurity is a growing concern, not only for Bangladesh but also for the developing world. Therefore it is a global issue that warrants a country-specific approach. LEADS is in the process of setting up a dedicated division that will have tech experts who are trained abroad to tackle cyber threats specific to Bangladesh.
How would you assess the application of AI and Blockchain in Bangladesh across industries? How can Bangladesh properly utilise the technologies to empower its growth?
AI, Blockchain and IOT are the future of innovation and will define the progress of human civilisation over the next decade. However, I have seen several entities in the country refraining from technological implementation because of budget constraints. I believe that will impede Bangladesh’s technological progress. Conversely, several local companies, including LEADS, are efficient and competent in providing complete technical solutions for businesses. I believe companies will be better off scaling up their technological infrastructure to ensure sustainable growth.
LEADS is in the process of setting up a dedicated division that will have tech experts who are trained abroad to tackle cyber threats specific to Bangladesh.
Over the past decade, our ICT sector has experienced constant growth; how crucial has government support been in advancing the industry?
Government support was very crucial for the growth in the ICT sector. The ICT Ministry and the Government of Bangladesh has helped the local IT companies by reducing import duty, introducing new incentives on foreign earning, and building High Tech Parks. The ICT Ministry is spending a tremendous amount of money in educating people and making them self-sufficient. Subsequently, the a2i campaigns are becoming increasingly popular and effective for a broader segment of the population.
Over the years, LEADS Corporation has collaborated with the Government of Bangladesh on various projects. How have these platforms changed the way people receive government services?
LEADS Corporation has been successfully collaborating with the government on several projects. Additionally, we have set up a separate organisation with skilled resources to address every government project. Therefore, LEADS will be increasingly involved with government projects in the coming years.
What is your vision for LEADS Corporation over the next decade?
We want our company to br recognised as a reputable organisation and aspire to be appreciated by all the stakeholders. I see a bright future for the company with promising prospects.