“Our students have the ability to achieve and outperform their competitors from aboard but are not provided with the proper education that can be attained abroad for monetary purposes.
CHOWDHURY NAFEEZ SARAFAT is the Founder Chairman and a Board of Trustee of the Canadian University. He is also the Chairman of RACE Management PCL and ARGUS Credit Rating Services Ltd., the Sponsor Director of Farmers Bank Ltd. and the Chairman of Audit Committee of the same institution. He possesses experience in leading strategic initiatives in the field of various financial and education sectors which led him to serve in various financial institutes. Sarafat is also the Sponsor Director of LIC Bangladesh.
What drove you to join this business?
From a young age, I have had the desire to do something different, and that was the driving force behind my entry into the business; you must have the vision to start a business. I feel immense pleasure knowing that my institution is making a difference for others and that they will appreciate it. I had an honest desire to create an organization that would employ thousands of people and contribute to the country; contributing to the country provides a significant deal of satisfaction. It all started with the financial sector and asset management, which is essentially investment banking. We are the largest asset management company in the private sector. We have been active in asset management, credit rating, and merchant banking for 12 years; this includes private and farmer banks. RACE Management PCL is our asset management company, and ARGUS Credit Rating Services Ltd. is our credit rating company. We are also present in the insurance sector, and we are going to open LIC, India here in Bangladesh.
When did you start your business journey?
Starting the business in Canada, I started the credit rating business upon my return. I have a partner in asset management business. Our team has successfully accumulated to a conglomerate of 500 employees.
What is your next step?
We would like to change the education field of our country. The Canadian school system is one of the most effective in the world; they are focused on practical applications and applied knowledge. Given the academic potential of students in Bangladesh, we want to bring that education system to Bangladesh. Our students have the ability to achieve and outperform their competitors from aboard but are not provided with the proper education that can be attained abroad for monetary purposes. Providing them with the quality education will make them stand out. With this in mind, I have brought the Canadian University to Bangladesh. We have incorporated an education exchange program as well as a student exchange program. Additionally, there are Canadian faculties that teach the curriculum.
What are the real challenges of doing business here in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh has such a significant degree of opportunity and is a gold mine for businesses. The lack of infrastructure, traffic and security issues is a major problem that is hampering this growth. During my time as a delegate at the G-7 conference, I found the concern that the Japanese are exploring opportunities in Vietnam, Mexico, and Indonesia because of the problems that I have mentioned in our country. The government is investing in the infrastructure to create a greater sense of stability. With stability, there will be a greater incentive for investment.