By: Md. Asiful Haque
This is an issue of debate and has been for a long time. Do successful entrepreneurs share characteristics that are independent of training or upbringing or can anyone become a business owner? A true entrepreneur is born out of genetic predisposition and early influences creating a driving force for change and constant challenge.” Bangladesh is known as the birthplace of microfinance revolution towards fighting against poverty. Since late 1970s the wave of this revolution has been spread over to most parts of the world especially in Asia, Africa and the Latin America. Today, our presence here reflects that microfinance has become the global revolution against poverty and demonstrated how the poor can reduce their vulnerabilities. World leaders pledged to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing poverty by half within 2015 and covering 100 million clients by 2005 through micro financial services.
ASA in 1978, has started its activities with a great entrepreneurial mindset of Md. Shafiqual Haque Choudhury and with a view to socio-economic development leadership of the poor people and Dhaka University in 1969. Before founding ASA, he served at as a trainer. Not every one from his back ground, thought about the model of microfinance. Matching with the demand of age and huge need of poor people, a vast modification was done in course of action and activities of the organization in 1991. Since then he ASA started by him its work again with firm faith and desire to be sustainable and to build up the poor people as self-reliant through ‘financially empowering’ with the services of savings and loan programs with the woman, as the president of ASA come up with the innovative way of thinking to do the daily transactions with t he woman to develop, empower and make them financially efficient. This innovation have reflected to reduce or stopping the poor people to lending the money with high interest rate taken form the local money lenders. These activities results to keep their future secured.from 1978. Md. Shafiqual Haque Choudhury obtained his Masters Degree in Sociology from
ASA’s activities began with grants of donors. To reach financial service to the marginal and grassroots people, especially women, became a mission to be focus by him. ASA’s microcredit instilled life in these poor and neglected people ever deprived from institutional credit service. Integrating with ASA’s microcredit program many women earned the strength to stand on their own feet. These women not only earned self reliance for them but brought back affluence for their families. This resulted in consolidation of their position in family and society, self reliant women are playing important role in matters of any family decision. He believes this is an important stage of women empowerment. ASA is playing its role to help such millions of women reach their newer stage of life. At present ASA is rendering financial service to 7 million people, of whom 71 per cent are women. But this foreign aid was never a matter of honor and pleasure to him. Thus he has always been trying to be free from this foreign dependence. Through continuous effort ASA succeeded to be totally free from foreign dependences in 2000. Today ASA is a totally national and foreign aid free institution. To reach this stage maximum importance has to be given on proper utilization of local resources, strict pursuance of cost effective policy and organizational efficiency. Finally, ASA’s activities spread all over the country in shortest possible time.
As a successful social entrepreneur Md. Shafiqual haque choudhury were able to socialize recognition of NGO- MFI’s contribution, serving the poor, specially the women, developed the ‘credit culture’, created commitment for impact and sustainability, enhanced the Scale, experience and efficiency, able to use of income to the same sector of micro financing with out diversification, given the opportunities to the people to develop their life style, given the challenge with the ASA model to the world for research & knowledge generation toward to the globalization. He have already overcome the current issues by placing an modification on regulatory status of MF-NGOs, protection of members’ savings, MFI management & systems, weak governance structures, sources of capital, overlapping and duplication, sustainability versus impact - multiple objectives, absence of performance standards, urbanization, Response to natural disasters, impact maximization for the poorest, need for innovation. 100% balance of income and expenditure of the organization has been possible within a very short time that means since 1994 due to determined mentality of the staff, their sincerity, innovative management and taking proper steps. This auspicious march of sustainable development makes us courageous to be more self-confident. By turns with the process of self-reliant the organization has been appreciated home and abroad as an exponential organization. The highest achievement of ASA is to attain self-reliant due to minimum cost and rapid expansion of the programs of the organization. ASA has been recognized as one of the sustainable and microfinance institutions in the world. Not only that, ASA is playing a vital role in making the philosophy of sustainable and self-reliant development popular globally.
ASA Bangladesh is chaired by an independent creative personality who holds Board of Director of Catalyst Microfinance Investors Company an equity investment company to accelerating the development of microfinance in Asia and Africa, CEO of ASA International, Former Advisor equivalent to ministerial position in the Care Taker Government Of Bangladesh (2006-2007), former member of Policy advisory group of CGAP/WB and faculty member of Microfinance training in Boulder, USA and also a visiting fellow in Coady Institute at the Saint Xavier University. He is one of the successful dreamer of the poverty and hunger free Bangladesh. Hopefully to see the society on the top of the world. Since 1978 till up to now it is being 30 year of hid effort that he is still trying to develop the people towards the new vision of life. Where as the other NGO’s and MFI have been diversified from their income to the different activities like, general banking, product marketing, telecommunication, establishing supermarkets, handicrafts etc but the ASA kept their position by their new innovations to reach the poor and helping them to arise from the poverty.
Running a social business like microfinance involves a certain amount of risk. Here the raw money with out any papers given away to the poor people to develop their self. Risks are inevitable but they are also manageable. Any business owner takes steps to manage the impact of a risk but only few of them can become successful as Mr. Choudhury has shown with his organization. Infect, it is manageable too all kind of business except in microfinance with out any proper direction, strong leadership and master planning is not possible. Providing service at the door step involves the certain initiatives for the clients.