A M Ishtiaque Sarwar is a young, motivated, hard working entrepreneur in Bangladesh. He is reputed in IT sector in the country. He established Soft Tech Innovation Ltd in 2005. Though he started his business with web development, later Mr. Sarwar growth his business in web development, domain hosting, online retail shop and so on. News Hour had an opportunity to take an interview of him. The whole interview has been provided below.
News Hour: Thanks for your time.
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: It’s my pleasure.
News Hour: How did you start?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: I started my career in 2003 during my student life. I studied BSc in CSIT and MSc in CSIT from Southern University, Chittagong. While studying there, I started doing a part-time job as library information officer in my university. Later on, I became interested in Web development and started tailoring my career path through web development.
News Hour: What was your first work/venture?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: I developed the website of my university which I used to study in. This was my first commercial task and this website was highly appreciated by everyone. Since then, I decided to develop more websites and I involved myself in learning then technical trends. As a result, I sent 3 websites developed by me for Golden Web Award and all of them were nominated. This was my 2nd largest achievement in my career which helped me to choose my career path in a proper way.
News Hour: Apart from working at your own university, did you work somewhere else?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: It’s interesting that before I complete my graduation, I did two jobs. One was at my university and the second job was in Chittagong Online, the largest ISP in Chittagong. Chittagong Online was looking for a Web developer that time. While I was preparing for my final semester examination, I got the offer. Getting the offer, a month later, I joined Chittagong Online.
News Hour: Who is the inspiration behind your decision to become an entrepreneur?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: My father is my inspiration. He inspired and motivated me to become an entrepreneur and to be self-dependent. My company’s name “Soft Tech Innovation” has been given by my father and he made trade license for my initiative in the following year in 2005.
News Hour: How did you start the company?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: I started “Soft Tech Innovation” by taking orders of developing desktop based mini IRP software for a trading company in China. The official value of the software was 5000 USD. I got 200 dollars as signing money after having the agreement done with the company.
News Hour: Tell us if you had any hindrance in your path that time.
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: My first hindrance was I started my business without having the running capital. I did job and at the same time I tried to grow my business as well as to increase my network. When I started getting project and order, I reinvested the revenue in my business. I didn’t get big fund in my life. As a result, it took much more time to see my business progress, whereas, others saw the same progress in lesser time than me since they had investment. But, despite having the lack of capital, I never gave up and advanced by myself, for which, I am seeing the output.
News Hour: How did you proceed in your business?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: At the beginning of my business, I was in Chittagong. Since I worked for an ISP, I had an opportunity to meet people. I started getting clients for my business from the last of 2005. That time, my team was small but I didn’t have to do any traditional promotion since I got unofficial agent based on references. I proceeded in business from their orders as well as from some permanent clients through freelancer.com.
News Hour: What is the present condition of your business?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: At present, Soft Tech Innovation has been providing web development service to more than 400 clients and has been hosting 900+ domains through its own dedicated server. From the beginning, Soft Tech Innovation invested 3 million takas in domain hosting business. Though Soft Tech Innovation is a small company, but due to proper investment in its services, the company’s market value and business portfolio have become much stronger. With my own effort, company’s market value is currently around 1 crore taka.
News Hour: What are the other sectors of Soft Tech Innovation?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: Apart from web development and domain hosting, Soft Tech Innovation has some other sectors such as MUTHOFUN, and aamarPay.
News Hour: Tell us about them in brief.
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: MUTHOFUN was established in 2008 for providing mobile messaging and content services. Currently, MUTHOFUN is providing messaging services in educational institutions, and also providing push-pull messaging. MUTHOFUN has more than 200 clients.
MUTHOFUN is one of the Pioneer A2P messaging aggregation platform from Bangladesh providing value added service including short code based service and messaging service to more than 300+ clients with their very own enterprise gateway which is directly connected to local telecom companies and intend to grow into a regional messaging service provider within ASEAN and South Asian countries.
aamarPay has been offering transaction fee and better services to the merchants since 2015. It is a financial technology based startup providing payment gateway and merchant services to local e-commerce business and other online business, who intend to receive payment online quickly using Visa and MasterCard and other payment formulas. Currently, aaamarPay is connected and working with few local banks like DBBL, JBL, bKash, SureCash, and IFIC Mobile.
News Hour: What is your future plan?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: Our future plan is to serve our current service wings properly and to provide one-stop solution offer to our clients. Moreover, we are planning to develop our current offering services and to maintain the reliability that we obtained from our clients.
News Hour: What position you and your company want to see in, in future?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: Since, our company’s all brands are service oriented, so we want to present the best and to become the market leader and to see my company as one of the top IT-enabled service providers in Bangladesh.
News Hour: What suggestion will you give to the newcomers in the IT sector?
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: Newcomers will have to implement ideas; otherwise, no idea will get value. Moreover, If someone doesn’t have any capital, it doesn’t mean he/she can’t do IT business. He will have to at least start, then he is sure to get funding. But, before that, he will have to involve himself in implementing ideas. Then he is sure to be succeeded. Moreover, Giving up is not a solution. So to obtain success, no one should give up.
News Hour: Before I finish taking your interview, I would like to ask you about your family.
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: My parents live in Chittagong. I live in Dhaka with my family. I and my wife are blessed with 2 children. Son Shayaan and daughter Sabah.
News Hour: Thanks a lot, Mr. Ishtiaque for giving us the interview.
A M Ishtiaque Sarwar: Thanks to News Hour. I wish News Hour good luck.