A better way of doing business
The Business for Peace Foundation was initiated in 2007 and aims to support and promote ethical business practices. One way it does this is through the examples shown by the honourees of the award, and the foundation wishes to provide a platform where they can share their ethical business models with the world. The Foundation uses the term “being businessworthy” to describe a transparent and responsible way of running an enterprise. The award honourees are leaders that have shown their “business worthiness” through actively contributing to society. Their efforts go beyond the corporate social responsibility projects (CSR), which are often operated on the side of main business. The goal is to run companies where earning money and creating value for society go hand in hand.
Enabling woman entrepreneurs in Bangladesh
One of this year’s honourees, Selima Ahmad, is a Bangladeshi who is not only a successful business leader, but also one who uses her abilities and resources to help woman entrepreneurs expand their companies. Corruption can constitute a challenge and women entrepreneurs face even greater difficulties because of discrimination. To help these women Selima Ahmad founded the Bangladesh Woman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2001. The Chamber`s anti-corruption group assists the members when they face corruption and ensure that no bribery is necessary when the women pursue their business ideas.
Celebration in Dhaka
The Norwegian Ambassador in Dhaka took the initiative to host a press conference and reception in the honour of Selima Ahmad. Prominent internationals and Bangladeshis from a range of sectors came together to celebrate the award honouree. With the press representatives, the Ambassador Ms Merete Lundemo spoke about the importance of socially responsible leaders like Selima Ahmad who promotes meaningfulness and transparency in business. She pointed out that in our globalized world it is no longer possible for business owners to operate behind closed doors and ignore the demands from their customers and workers.
Ms Selima Ahmad took the opportunity to thank the Norwegian government and people, and said: “This honour will encourage more Bangladeshi companies to practise ethical businesses and develop more entrepreneurs in the country.”