Staff Correspondent: Behind every success, there is a story but every time those are not sweet, some are bitter, even painful. The stair to success is not smooth enough to ascend in a short span of moments. It needs time, patience, honesty, integrity, hardworking and commitment altogether.
Today we have come up with a story of success, a story that reflects some classic examples of such virtues that stated above. This is the story of Mr. Abdul Mottaleb, Managing Director- Global Sustainable Certification Services (GSCS) Limited. He stated the stages that shows how he have come across the hardships of his life from the remoteness of Chakrajapur village to the modern touch of Dhaka, how he has become a successful entrepreneur.
The following stages are directly extracted from Mr. Abdul Mottaleb’s life story . Let’s have a look-
Stage 1: Childhood
”I was born in Chakrajapur, one of the remote villages in Rajshahi Zila. Frankly speaking, I had to flourish my life without any facilities characterized by no electricity both day and night time, and no proper road access in between my home and school. Due to its remoteness and locational disadvantages, these situations in my village have not changed even today. Moreover, the villagers get worried about their households in every year because this village, in particular the char areas are severely affected by floods on regular basis. As a result, the villagers need to shift their houses from one place to another, and my family is not an exception of that phenomena. On top, due to river erosion, which is a burning issue since my childhood, we do not hold any permanent house. My family members considering from my grand parents’ generations have to shift their houses 3 times in my lifetime. I wish I could feel lucky like others who do not have to change their permanent houses due to such natural calamities.
In my childhood, my family was not in a position to offer me anything so called luxury items for my education such school bag, fancy ball pens, and tiffin box. This happened because my father was not an industrialist or a big businessman. He was a simple businessman who had very little capital to maintain 7 (seven) members of my family. Now, after all the years, I could feel the tremendous pressure he took on his shoulder to maintain our family effectively. He had to travel to Daulatpur in Kustia Zila, around 50 Kilometer far from my village, to buy the betel leaf and sell in the weekly market at our village. He used to sell tea and betel leaf in our local daily market except Friday and Monday. Many of my relatives both close and distant ones humiliated me by calling ‘Painnar Pola’ (son of a betel leaf seller). Those memories of my childhood were horrifying. I had barely any place to hide my face and my nick name- ‘Painnar Pola’. I know, that sort of petty business is not worth to mention as a dignified profession in our daily terms. However, I always take it as our prime source of earning by my father, and it is my childhood pride. That pride became a source of inspiration to think beyond the boundary for me later on. Many villagers also prayed for me so that I could shine in my life, and here I am!
I am always positive about every profession. That’s why I used to help my father time to time besides my study though I was the first boy in the class during my primary education. I even continued to help my father during my study at URP in Khulna University, Bangladesh. In particular, during the vacation, I assisted my father to sell betel leaf as he was getting older to do hard works. Since then I have started to dream about becoming a businessman someday. Here its necessary to mention that I got valuable inspiration from three persons namely my father Late Abul Kashem, my mother- Jamila Khatun, and my honourable teacher Abul Kashem Maulavi (Head sir) who was the head teacher of my primary school named Jotashahi Primary School. They told me that two things are able to change the social status of a person- a) education and b) ethical business. Considering my passion to become a business, my teacher suggested me to build my career related to ethical business after completing my education. He also told me that my life would not be as smooth as others who have got many advantages from their parents. Therefore, it would be difficult to change my both financial and social conditions from a service-oriented activity with honesty & integrity. Both of my ethical advisors have passed away, but still I feel their presence around me whenever I see my attachment with the ethical business.
Stage 2: Education
I greatly acknowledge the Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University, Bangladesh. From this Discipline, I received a new recognition- a certified planner as well as a new opening for my endless opportunistic career as an entrepreneur. I acquired the knowledge ranging from philosophy to psychology, and from industrial engineering to macro-micro economic analysis. Though out this four-year course, I have developed my skills related with advanced use of survey equipment and computer for data analysis and report preparation.
During my study at Khulna University, I faced many difficulties such as limited participation in social events, struggle to make friends beyond social class, and limited opportunity to establish my opinion in group- decision making as because I came from a disadvantaged background. However, I did not lose my confidence in me. I kept trying to mingle with my classmates and learned as much as I could from my teachers. All those experiences have created a solid platform to become today’s Abdul Mottaleb, an entrepreneur.
Stage 3: Initiative to be self employed/ Entrepreneur
After completion of my Bachelor in Urban and Rural Planning (BURP), another new episode started in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I admitted myself in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to take the Master in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP). But of course, I was looking for a earning opportunity. With the help of Rafiq Vai, one of my seniors from 95 batch of KU-URP, I got an opportunity to work under a development project funded by Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED). I was facing hard financial crisis at that time, and that’s why I continued to work on that project. However, I realized that that sorts of works were not my preferred interests. I came to know from Kazi Sagor, one of my best BURP classmates, about another opportunity to work in a multinational company. I applied for that job as their works were related with ethical audit, inspection, and certification of companies. That job was highly competitive, and luckily, I got that job. But I was far away from my dream- to establish myself as a businessman. I did not have enough capital to start a business in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Working successfully in that company for five years, I left from that job and started to plan for my dream career- an entrepreneur.
Whenever I left my previous job, I started to move on with my own thinking, and for sure, that was the new beginning of my career pathway. In 2010, I became familiar with Alim Vai, through Russel (my junior professional) who was one of the course participants of professional training on SA8000. Three of us aimed to start a new business. We emailed many international auditing firms requesting them to extend their operations in Bangladesh. After several attempts and assistance from one of my foreign friend referred us to a British company offered us the opportunity to perform auditing operations in Bangladesh. Then another problem emerged, and for sure, it was not easy to deliver 6000 pounds to that company as a part of the signing contract money. We did not have that much capital to invest in our hand. Explaining every single detail to that company, we made a special arrangement that we would give 6000 pounds but that would take six months. We had something- honesty, integrity and commitment, and because of those qualities, GlobalGroup UK accepted our adjusted proposal regarding the signing contract money issue. Still I could remember that I repeatedly asked my wife if she would happy to accept the associated risks because in case of failure she had to move to my remote village- Chakrajapur in Rajshahi. She accepted all those risk factors and offered her fullest emotional support to initiate this business. My mother & my wife’s inspiration role has doubled my enthusiasm, and those days are still alive! We named our company as Global Sustainable Certification Services (GSCS) Limited. Right now, I am the Managing Director of that company.
Over the years we extended our working areas ranging from Management system certification to 2nd party auditing. We hold a good reputation in the market due to our professionalism and honesty in auditing business. In reflection of that we paid our signing contract money within a month instead of six months. Realizing the potential demand of auditing activities and its relevant professional services, Alim Via and I started to work in our own company on a full time basis. I am so fortunate to get such a business partner like Alim Vai who understands me very well holding his truly professional attitude. So far, we have not faced any conflict between us, even for a day. Alim Vai and I have tried to offer more than what we have got in our lives. And, for sure, that is one of the qualities that we both have.
I have extended my business activities from Asia to Africa, and Africa to Middle East. I successfully audited above 1000 companies around the globe. I also gave training to more than twenty nationalities about different certifications such as SA8000, ISO 9001, and Organic Certification. This is needless to say that we both are the first and only Bangladeshi international trainer on SA8000 auditor training course. At present, our company, GSCS Limited, is the partner company of two other international companies namely GlobalGroup, UK and CERES GmbH, Germany. This company is the leading company for Organic Certification in Bangladesh. Looking back from where we started and where we are now, I consider myself very fortunate, and I hold the same proud as like my childhood. Now we have 20+ full time auditors on different standards like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), ISO certification, CoC auditing and product inspection.
Spending seven years in this business, I think, I am very much successful to fulfil the need of my family members and relatives in an honest way. I received more social appreciation from both the close and the distant ones in compare to financial gain. I believe, our needs are endless, and therefore, I tend to hold a low demand and expectations in my life. I do not dream to become a millionaire someday. My only dream is to do something good for the society, keeping the rights of the workers, and people in general. I always pray this to almighty Allah so that I do not forget my lessons of childhood. Right now, I do not bother to proclaim myself as ‘Painnar Pola,’ and I feel very much comfortable with that even after all those years. My only regret is that my inspirational characters are no longer in this world, and I am unable to show my success to them. I believe wherever they are, wherever I will be, their inspirations will be with me.
Lastly, I would like to focus on an important aspect about opening a new business. I believe, for starting a new business, it does not require huge amount of money. It requires some skills such as initiatives with great honesty, integrity, hard works, and commitment. Success does not come by chance. It is related with respectable partnership among the partners of the company as well as heartiest family support and trust, which I have received in every aspect. As well, teachers have the ability to inspire their student be a entrepreneur rather than the job seekers. Due to my professional attachment, I have to spent many Eid in aeroplane, many Bangladeshi festivals in thousand miles away. However, my wife who is very much supportive and considerate has not mention anything negative about my works. Through this, she has expressed her love for my professional works, and I love her so much as she loves my dream- to become an entrepreneur!”