Question: Most significant leadership experience
During the last three years I have devoted a significant amount of time and energy to the betterment of young entrepreneurs, who in this country are mistreated, stripped of opportunities, and looked down upon. In my quest to start my own business, I faced many obstacles that I later found to plague all entrepreneurs in my country. Established family heads discourage their younger members from starting separate businesses; they would rather their younger members join them in the so called "safe business." Moreover, companies and government organizations will not award contracts to young people since older people earn respect for their age rather than their ideas in this traditional sub-continental culture. With an uncooperative family and no sources of funding, young entrepreneurs face little chance of success.
In these difficult conditions, I realized there were many young people who were full of potential but lacked support. By meeting with these people, I motivated them to believe that together we could help improve collective situation. In October 1996,the seventeen of us founded the "Young Entrepreneurs Society" (YES). I served as the coordinator for the first two years. We figured that in order to get our message heard, we needed to prove ourselves a significant lot. We started with social activities like helping poor students with registration fees for matriculation exams and organizing blood donation activities, etc.
We held our first seminar on the "Prospect of Software Development Business in Bangladesh and the Government's Role, " and five months later we had our second seminar on the "Obstacles for Young Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh' with the finance minister as the chief guest. Following our seminar, the central bank extended loan facilities of up to Tk. 5 lac (US$ 10,000 Apr.) to new businesses whose proprietor or director recently graduated. Our organization continues to push its agenda.
In addition to taking initiative, I managed to lead a group of people to a collective objective that had previously not been identified. Through my leadership, I effected change in Bangladesh.
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