ITC partner wins prestigious award honouring female exporters

20 January 2016
ITC News
Bangladeshi tech CEO honoured for corporate success and mentorship work

Farhana Rahman has reached many milestones as the head of one of Bangladesh’s leading information technology (IT) companies. She achieved another last month when she was invited to Nairobi to receive the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development’s prestigious Women Exporter of the Year Award.

Rahman is the founder and CEO of UY Systems Bangladesh, an eight-year-old Dhaka-based company active in web and software development that employs more than 75 people, including 28 women. The company, which is a a beneficiary of the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) Bangladesh project, successfully exports to Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Ireland.

Rahman has been a strong voice in favour of female entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh, working with the Asia Foundation’s Bangladesh training programme to motivate young women to become entrepreneurs. She also mentors young entrepreneurs and freelancers, and has pioneered an online healthcare portal that over 130 Bangladeshi businesswomen now use to promote and sell their services Rahman was the first woman to be elected as director of the Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS), an influential industry group. In addition, she served as vice president of Bangladesh Women in Technology, a forum that encourages girls to study and pursue IT careers.

During the awards ceremony at ICTSD’s Trade and Development Symposium on 14 December, ITC Deputy Executive Director Dorothy Tembo praised Rahman for her ‘outstanding achievements in the promotion of information technology as a mechanism to strengthen the economic empowerment and removing barriers for women in Bangladesh’. Tembo called Rahman a ‘visionary, whose dedication and passion have paved the way for many women in Bangladesh and beyond’.

Rahman was one of many women who were nominated for the award by ITC and then evaluated on factors such as how many women their company employed and whether their business was socially responsible.

‘I’m truly honoured to receive this recognition for my work,’ Rahman said about receiving the award. ‘Thanks to ITC for believing in my potential, and special thanks to ITC’s NTF III Bangladesh team for their support, encouragement and cooperation.’

NTF III Bangladesh is a multi-year, multi-phase Dutch-backed project that seeks to boost export competitiveness in the country’s IT and IT-enabled services sector.