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Economic progress can be accelerated by engaging people with financial activities

Iqbal Ahmed OBE DBA
Director, Founder and First Chairman
NRB Bank Limited
Chairman and Chief Executive
Seamark Group of Companies and
IBCO Food Industries Limited

Seamark Group grew from a small family run business to supply seafood and various food products worldwide. Iqbal pioneered the import and export of frozen seafood in refrigerated containers and was the first to import Black Tiger shrimps into the UK and the EU. It wasn’t long before he began to look at ways of expanding the family business, thus created Iqbal Brothers & Company (now IBCO Limited) in 1976, importing and distributing frozen seafood and all kinds of frozen food products.
As the business grew further, it made sense to Iqbal to create a new company, Seamark which is more reflective of the size and scope of the operation. Seamark’s first factory was set up in Manchester and was officially opened in 1993 by The Rt Hon The Lord Deben, John Selwyn Gummer, the then Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In 2000 Iqbal Ahmed established Seamark (BD) Limited in Bangladesh which was inaugurated by HRH Princess Anne.
His clear vision for the business has led to a string of prestigious awards for Seamark in the UK and in Bangladesh. Excellence in the field has been recognised at home in the UK with a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1998 and a number of Gold trophy Awards from the Government of Bangladesh for achieving the highest exports of seafood for nearly every year between 2002 and 2016.
One of Iqbal Ahmed’s biggest achievements is the successful establishment of NRB Bank Limited in Bangladesh, where he brought together 46 NRB (Non-resident Bangladeshi) entrepreneur investors from all over the world to invest in Bangladesh. Iqbal had a vision of creating a financial institution for Non-resident Bangladeshi. He believes, economic progress can be accelerated by engaging people with financial activities. He dreamt of unlocking a new horizon to the Bangladesh economy by facilitating NRB inward and outward investment to and from Bangladesh, assisting Bangladeshi enterprises to access international market and increasing the inflow of foreign remittances.
Despite his busy schedule Iqbal makes time for charity works. He is connected with, as sponsor, trustee or member, many charitable organizations in the UK and Bangladesh, mainly situated within the educational sector and healthcare involving rehabilitation, training and community work, including the development of Burunga Iqbal Ahmed High School and College for 1400 students in Sylhet. He has supported and raised funds for the Manchester Children’s Hospital Appeal, the Royal Manchester Eye Hospital Appeal and Ahsania Mission Cancer and General Hospital Appeal to name a few. He is the Chairman of UKBCCI (UK Bangladesh Catalyst of Commerce & Industry) which promotes business and entrepreneurship to young people in the UK and Bangladesh. He personally gets involve with his companies’ CSR and has formed a charity registered in the UK called the Iqbal Bros Foundation, which is currently fund raising for the Rohingya refugees.
He has founded and currently chaired Masjid ul Aqsa Islamic Centre, a Mosque and centre built for the community, where they can pray and hold religious and cultural studies.
He received his highest personal recognition when he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) at the Queen’s honours list in 2001 for his services to International Trade. He is a CIP (Commercially Important Person) in Bangladesh since 2009.
In July 2017, Iqbal was awarded by Manchester Metropolitan University an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration for his outstanding achievements in business and his significant contribution to the economy and regeneration of Manchester and Bangladesh. In October 2017, Iqbal was awarded an Honorary Fellowship Award from University Campus Oldham for his outstanding work in the community.
Over the years Iqbal Ahmed has played an active role as member, advisor or director in a number of government committees, ministries and advisory bodies in the UK and overseas such SAAG (Southern Advisory Group, Competitiveness Council, BOND (a UKTI initiative), MOSAIC under the Business in the Community, New East Manchester, Ethical Trading Champion’s Group, New Enterprise Council, Catalyst UK and Bridge2Bangladesh (B2B).
He is an advisor to the Board of Trade, by invitation from the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, to provide advice on promoting British exports, boosting inward investments and delivering successful trade mission abroad.
Iqbal Ahmed has the ability to speak with such authority thus regularly sought as a speaker or panel member in international events and Universities such as Bangladesh Investment Summit in Singapore (2014, 2015), World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai (2014), Inaugural Bangladesh Investment Summit in London (2013), Entrepreneurs Festival Manchester (2013, 2016), University of Dhaka (2015), and University College London (2015).
He was personally invited by Michael Bloomberg to be a founding delegate of Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum held in Singapore in 2018.
February 2017 saw the Publication of Iqbal Ahmed’s autobiography entitled, King Prawn – Dreaming Big and Making It Happen, the story of the entrepreneurial genius.


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