Life time achievement award: Syed Manzur Elahi

October 17, 2023

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Apex Group Chairman Syed Manzur Elahi has an inspiring entrepreneurial journey.

Born in 1942, Elahi’s family had predominantly been engaged in civil services.

His father was the chief justice at Calcutta High Court, a path his eldest brother also followed.

However, Elahi could not join civil services for some circumstances and later joined Pakistan British American Tobacco.

It was only a chance encounter with a Frenchman more than 50 years ago that presented Elahi with his first opportunity into the business world.

He was offered a deal to act as the man’s agent, sourcing leather from Bangladesh for export to Paris and selling leather chemicals imported from Paris to Dhaka.

Despite not even knowing the difference between hide and skin, Elahi moved forward to take the opportunity.

After working for the Frenchman for years, Elahi finally bought the humble Orient Tannery in 1975 for over Tk 12 lakh.

In many ways, the company’s origins as a small leather goods business paved the way for a transformation into the diverse corporation that Apex has become.

The company diversified into sectors like footwear, alongside expanding its international reach, with their unwavering commitment to quality, innovation and ethical business practices.

Elahi’s emphasis on adaptability to market changes and technological advancements has been key for Apex’s sustained competitiveness. Apex’s dedication to corporate social responsibility and sustainability further distinguished it, with initiatives in education, healthcare, and eco-friendly operations.

Elahi’s leadership philosophy for Apex’s success underscores employee empowerment and talent development from within organisations.

To aspiring entrepreneurs, he prescribes dedication, integrity and perseverance as the core values for success in business.

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