Enam Chowdury is using his passion for technology to make a difference for small business owners across the world.
What’s your story?
I founded EkkBaz in March 2017 after more than 5 years in Microsoft. Through EkkBaz, we aim to empower and transform root level small businesses in any remote corner of the earth. EkkBaz will make available artificial intelligence and Blockchain powered sophisticated tools that small businesses can use with ease. The desire to help the small guys is rooted in my upbringing.
Born on 26 December 1987, I was the 10th child out of 12 growing up in a poverty-stricken family. After my dad moved to Singapore in 1994 for work, me and few of my family members migrated as well. But managing a big family was never easy, hence I started working at 15 years old to help finance my education and reduce family burden.
Experiencing poverty, made me understand the plight of the less fortunate even more. From early age I volunteered my time for charities. I was involved with multiple overseas volunteer expeditions to share knowledge, increase IT literacy and also bootstrap ideas such as Cosified.com to encourage volunteering.
After graduating from Singapore Management University with a major in Information Systems and Finance in 2011, I joined the exclusive Microsoft Consulting Service team as a Technical Consultant, helping big companies modernize through intelligent business applications.
During my 5 year tenure at Microsoft, I delivered groundbreaking results, received many accolades and rose up the ranks.
My foray into community based small business came with a family-run grocery store in Singapore that I used to help out with. While helping in the store, I experienced firsthand the challenges faced by the small business owners to operate and survive in this digital age. I wanted to make a difference in their lives as I believed, by empowering community-based entrepreneurs to prosper, they create more job opportunities in the community and a much more vibrant and smart economy for the country.
This motivated me to leave Microsoft and focus full time on EkkBaz.
What excites you most about your industry?
I’m super excited to work with awesome technology which will craft the future and have a positive effect on others’ lives. To me, it’s like the start of dot.com era again with more sophisticated technology like AI and Blockchain. I am glad to be part of this era and contribute whatever I can.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Bangladesh but was brought up in Singapore. I got to experience both the good and bad side of living in each country.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Certainly Singapore because it’s just so efficient. I also like Bangladesh as more recently I’ve noticed that the people there are getting hungry to make things happen.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The past is not equal to the future.
Who inspires you?
My mum. I am proud to have her DNA. She sacrificed her life for us, I hope I can match even 1% of her level of success and make her proud someday for bringing me into this world.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I watched the Ready Player One movie recently, and some of the points highlighted were pretty intriguing, especially how people are adopting digital mediums totally different from their realistic self As a technologist, it’s good to be be aware of the ramification of what we build.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started even earlier and moved faster.
How do you unwind?
I like to read, listen to music and take a walk along the beach or go to quiet places to get away from it all.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. It has nice beaches and mountains for hiking.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Lean Startup.
Shameless plug for your business:
Blockchain and AI powered platform connecting, empowering and transforming small grocery stores to enable direct interaction with manufacturers worldwide.
How can people connect with you?
Through linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/enamanc/
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.