Syed Manzur Elahi | A successful industrialist in Bangladesh

Apex is a famous footwear brand in Bangladesh, and Mr. Syed Manzur Elahi is the founding Chairman of this Group. He is one of the prominent business figures in our country because of his multiple businesses. 

But, do you know Apex is not just a footwear company. It combines the seven most prominent companies, including Apex Tannery, Mutual Trust, Pioneer insurance, etc. Apex started its journey with only Tk. 15,000. At that time, Mr. Manzur was an employee of another company. 

However, today our arrangement is about Mr. Syed Manzur Elahi and the real story of his Apex. So be with us to know more about this business hero.

Early Life of Syed Manzur Elahi 

He was born in 1942 in Kolkata. His father’s name was Sir Sayem Nasim Ali, and he was Chief Justice of Kolkata High Court. His mother’s name was Sharifunnesa Begum, and she was a housewife. But, she liked to read books and listened to Rabindra Sangeet.

They were four brothers, and among them, Mr. Manzur Elahi was fourth. But, unfortunately, his father died when he was only five years old. So that’s why his elder brothers brought him up. But, unfortunately, at present, two of his elder brothers are no more.

Educational Background

Manzur Elahi passed his study period in almost one institution. He studied primary grade to graduation in St. Xavier’s College, established in 1860.

In 1962 he came to Dhaka after passing his BA degree. Then he got admission to the University of Dhaka, and from there, he completed his MA Degree in Economics in 1964.

Marriage Life of Manzur Elahi

He established Sunbeam English Medium school in Dhaka in 1974 with Niloufer. When they were working together, they found they were excellent friends, and their ideologies matched. So they decided to get married. Now they have a son and a daughter. 

However, Mr. and Mrs. Manzur have tested Corona positive, and Mrs. Niloufer Manzur died on 26th May 2020. 

About Apex 

Apex is an English word that means the peak. Mr. Manzur was fond of being first in every section from his childhood.

Apex is highly famous only because of its footwear presentation all over the world. It produces around 3 million pairs of shoes only to meet the demand of our country. It has more than 550 outlets in Bangladesh. And, it exports approximately 5 million pairs of shoes in more than 40 countries along with 130 outlets.

Syed Manzur Elahi & Apex

Like any other youth, Mr. Elahi was puzzled about what to do at the beginning of his career. So he decided to prepare for the CSP exam of the Pakistan Service Commission to get a govt. Job.

But, his luck led him to get on the right track to be today’s Mr. Manzur Elahi. It was a story of one afternoon that changed his life. Let’s know what happened that afternoon.

The Exclusive Afternoon Of Manzur’s Life

One afternoon, he walked near a building named Jinnah Avenue. Now it is known as Bangabandhu Avenue. At that time, one of his senior brothers, Humayun Khan Kurni, wanted to know what he was planning to start as his profession. So while he shared his thoughts on CSP Exam preparation, Humayun Khan suggested not doing so. 

Mr. Humayun said that doing a Govt job would bring a limited and specific amount of money at the end of the month. Mr. Manzur also found that it was right. Then he applied to a Multinational Company named British American Tobacco. After that, he went to Karachi to sit for the interview.  

The Funniest Moment of Interview Board

During the interview, one of the interviewers asked about Manzur’s demanded salary. Manzur claimed 900tk. The interviewers started to laugh a little. He got scared at that time and thought he claimed much. 

So, he said again, “It is okay too if you pay me Tk. 600”. Interviewers couldn’t stop themselves from laughing aloud at that time. He then got confused. 

They said that “Our starting salary is 1900tk”. After hearing that, Manzur became extremely happy, and he continued his job there for six years and six months in total.

Beginning of his Business Career

26th February 1972 was Manzur’s 30th birthday. He chose that day to start his new journey to begin his own business. So, he left his job at only 30 years old. Then he planned to establish a business.

The Struggle of Convincing Family Members To Establish a Business

Manzur met Lemon Cleric in 1972, who was the tannery business exporter and importer. His tannery business influenced Mr. Manzur. He began to think about the tannery business. 

But when he shared his idea with his family members, they opposed him because he was the son of a family that conveyed a liberal attitude towards the law. Not only that, five of his generation were lawmakers in their careers. In that sense, Mr. Sayed didn’t get any support from his elder brothers.

However, while he told his plan to begin a business, his elder brother asked him-“How much do you know about business? Nobody in our family is a businessman.” 

His wife Niloufer Manzur also opposed his decision. But Syed Manzur was determined to follow his business plan. Later his father-in-law supported him mentally and convinced his wife.

How Was His Journey Towards Tannery?

Mr. Manzur was utterly new to the business field. So, he had to pass a lot of difficulties. Finally, however, he started to export all his products to Japan when running his business.

But, in 1993-1994, Japan fell into great economic difficulties. As a result, many of the business organizations in Japan stopped importing tannery from him. At that time, he fell into serious trouble.

The Beginning of Apex Footwear

While he got his tannery business lost, he went to Italy and met the top business persons in the country. They offered him to make footwear. So he tried from 1993 to 1996 but continuously faced business losses in terms of the footwear business.

His footwear production began to decrease as he couldn’t catch the customers’ needs. Then he found footwear is also a fashionable item like garments products. So, he needed to improve the quality and models.

The demand for footwear models is continuously changing depending on the season. But, unfortunately, trouble caught him top to bottom.

Problems Became Greater

He exported his footwear to a renowned Italian factory. Suddenly it started denying ordering a significant amount. When he tried to find out the reason, he faced a brutal reality. 

China grabbed the global market with less price to export their products. However, the Italian company found it was highly competitive to compete with China. So it shifted to those companies to get its products. This is why the company stopped ordering from him. 

The Turning Point of Mr. Elahi

He proposed to the Chairperson of that Italian company to come to Bangladesh and start working with him. Unfortunately, first, the company’s shareholders didn’t show him any interest. But later, he could successfully describe his plan. Lastly, due to his determination and long-time business relationship, they agreed. 

Then he proposed a joint venture which was the turning point for him. And, he started the real journey of his Apex Footwear Company. 

Manzur Elahi Idol

In his early life at university, he got inspired by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata. Mr. Elahi read many books of Tata and got encouraged by his ideology. Jamsetji Tata was his only hero to decide between being a businessman.


Mr. Manzur Elahi is not only a successful business figure in Bangladesh. Instead, he has a good personality in terms of his character.

To be today’s business person for Sayed Manzur Elahi was not that easy. But, although he didn’t get mental support from his family to start a business, he had a strong passion. 

He wanted to be the top Businessperson. And he proved that if you have a strong wish for anything, you can attain the peak. 

We hope Mr. Syed Manzur will be your pioneer in making the right decision based on your potentiality. Explore another industrialist in Bangladesh.

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