I don’t want to sit down 20 years from now and tell my grandkids, "You know what? I could've done that."
Ron Islam is heading home to Bangladesh to build a technology start-up, 15 years after he landed in Australia to study.
Humble about his achievements, he can’t hide his excitement for the future. “I dream really big,” he says, “because even if I only achieve 50 per cent, then that’s really good!”
Ron’s company inveitco – which he established with his wife Shifat as finance director – already has 10 developers in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital. It’s close to launching two apps. One of them, CentraMOS, will enable private clinics to access medical records. Another is an information sharing platform for students and teachers called Ednius.
With a population of some 160 million people, Bangladesh is an appealing market, he says. “Both products deal with the mass market. If we can get proper traction and interest, we believe [CentraMOS] will be a huge success for us.”
His company has opened an Australian office and he plans to spend his time between the two countries, with staff in Dhaka helping Australian customers with website and e-commerce projects, graphic design and software development.
Spending his first year in Australia in 2002 at UTS Insearch, Ron took an English language course and a diploma. Although he’d learned to read and write English, he had almost no practice speaking it. “I still struggle, to be honest,” he laughs. “I’m learning all the time.”
Ron chose a Bachelor of Science in IT at UTS because of the practical nature of the course. It included industry-standard certification required to set up and run an enterprise-scale network.
He graduated in 2005, applied for permanent residency and within months landed his first job in Canberra doing presales for a security software firm.
Two years later he was back in Sydney working for a consulting firm that became Pactera, a Chinese-owned global digital transformation and technology services company.
He worked there until mid-2016, handling projects for clients such as British American Tobacco, Telstra, Optus, AAPT, Channel Seven and NSW Rural Fire Service, before setting out on his own.
Ron’s advice to entrepreneurs is: “Don’t hold back. Just try different things – and keep doing it.”
One day, he hopes to offer some competition to the likes of Wipro and Infosys, big Indian IT services firms that have successfully expanded across the world.
“I don’t want to sit down 20 years from now and tell my grandkids, “You know what? I could’ve done that.” I’m sure they will ask ‘Why didn’t you do it?’ If I fail now, at least I know that, OK, I’ve tried,” he says.