Denmark-Bangladesh: Win-Win

November 11, 2014

danish flagAs Mads Sandal, Project Manager, Bording Data notes, “There is so much opportunity; so much curiosity; and so much entrepreneurial spirit that is untapped in Bangladesh.” Mads, who over several years and with multiple companies has been regularly working with IT providers in Bangladesh, including a three-bangladesh flagmonth stint living in Dhaka in 2013 goes on to say, “There are huge structural problems but these don’t take away from the untapped potential.

Denmark entrepreneurs, companies, and development organizations have long been active in Bangladesh and with good results. For example, almost 10 years ago, Danida sponsored training for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs at the International Institute of Management (IIM) in Calculta. The class picture from that training now reads like a who’s who of successful Bangladesh businesses. One of the faces in the class photo would be Manjur Mahmud, Director and COO, DataSoft (back row, top left).

Manjur cites this training and hiIndian BD IT servicess experience in a Danida sponsored joint venture between Group Care and his organization, DataSoft, as an awakening for the Bangladesh businesses involved.

These experiences “gave us an ability to think big. Before, we only thought small. But Danes think big. They think global.” The other major contribution of these experiences was the critical focus on process maturity that Danes and many Danish organizations prize so highly. With evident sincerity, Manjur goes on to say, “We can never repay the debt that we have to Denmark” for opening this “door.”

DataSoft grew remarkably as a result of its joint venture and Manjur’s ability to capitalize on the Danida sponsored entrepreneurial training. DataSoft today is one of Bangladesh’s most successful software houses; a CMMI level 5 exporter to over 17 countries including Germany, Holland, UK, Spain and Italy.

So “what’s in it for Denmark?”, one might ask. From Manjur’s perspective, it’s clear that Denmark’s leading position in the global knowledge economy is a huge competitive advantage. Danes are innovative, global thinkers. Yet, Denmark alone won’t be able to scale these innovative ideas. Bangladesh’s value proposition for Denmark is as a mechanism to scale ideas and prototypes developed in Denmark. It’s clearly a powerful model, one that is a two-way street moving in both directions—innovation and scalabilty.

Imtiaz Ilahi, Managing Director, GraphicPeople l SoftwarePeople, would concur on the necessity of success being dependent upon this being a win-win for all involved. In the case of GraphicPeople, which is a subsidiary of AdPeople, the value add is that GraphicPeople provides 24 hour graphic production “using automated workflow infrastructure” to serve multiple clients from one of five global offices, Copenhagen being one of them. GraphicPeople is the production engine that brings AdPeople’s creative and strategic output to life in an efficient and highly process-oriented way. The sharp reduction in time-to-market along with the flexibility that GraphicPeople has brought to AdPeople has directly contributed to AdPeople’s growth globally.