Abdul Wahed Mahfuz
An agricultural entrepreneur
Abdul Wahed Mahfuz, a Bangladeshi-origin American, is the first Bangladeshi Entrepreneurial Businessman in the state of Florida. He came to the United States over 40 years ago. He started his first business in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County in 1981. He worked very hard and expanded his businesses in South Florida. Additionally, he helped many Bangladeshis when they first arrived to the United States by providing them housing, job assistance and basic necessities in the early 80’s when there was no foundation of Bangladeshis in South Florida. Throughout his 40 years in Florida and to this day, even after the Bangladeshi community grew, he continues to help the community in many different ways.
He is widely familiar as “Mahfuz” and he hails from an aristocratic and educated family of Borkol Chandasnaiash, Chittagong. His grandfather, Mawlana Mazharul Haque, was a respected principal in Hugli, West Bengal in the early 1900’s. Abdul Mahfuz father, Abdul Hai M.A and mother, Anwara Begum. His father received his Master’s Degree from Dhaka University in 1929 in a time where many Muslim people did not have a chance to even have any higher education. His eldest brother, Dr. Abdul Wazed Mahmud, came to the United States in the mid 1960’s. His eldest brother then brought their family to the United States later on.
His wife, Nazmun Mahfuz is a female entrepreneur. She helped him from all aspects of the business and together they grew their establishments. During the mid 90’s, Nazmun Mahfuz established the first Bengali TV program in Florida. It was the only Bengali TV show on American television broadcasted on air every week on PBS and cable television in South Florida for many years. His daughter, Tasmin Mahfuz, is a news anchor in Washington DC area. She won the prestigious “The Gracie’s Award” for journalism. His son, Tamzid Mahfuz, has a Master’s Degree and is a business analyst.
Even after becoming a well-established businessman and entrepreneur, he felt something missing in his heart and the need to do more. Aspiring to fulfill his emptiness, he purchased a forty-two acre land seventeen years ago which includes a lake in Florida. The land in Florida is known to be very fertile for agricultural purposes as there are many tropical fruit trees and vegetable nurseries. He planted two hundred different kinds of tropical fruit trees and vegetables including mangos, jackfruits, lychees, coconuts and etc. He also brought various kinds of seeds including squash, tomato, bean, chili, snake gourd and etc from Bangladesh and planted them. The view of his farm is very pleasant and beautiful. Besides his family and friends, many people go there to see the green and lovely environment of his farm. He distributes his thousands of fresh fruits and vegetables to family, friends and devotees of several Mosques in South Florida year-round. His two projects have been established and are surrounded by 300 bighas respectively.
Abdul Mahfuz, after living in the United States for so long, did not forget his motherland even after his successful career in America. Whenever he gets time, he visits Bangladesh. He established “Borkol Abdul Hai Anwara Begum Girls’ High School” in his own homeland naming it after his parent’s names about 20 years ago. Through this school, the underprivileged girls have the opportunity to receive higher education. Many of the girls went on to have respected occupations such as college teachers and lawyers. The school is fully funded by Abdul Mahfuz. Furthermore, he has taken steps to establish a Polytechnic College. He believes that the young generation needs to be provided technical education so that they can be protected from unemployment. According to Abdul Mahfuz and his wife, the Bangladeshi community in the United States has brightened the image of Bangladesh through philanthropical efforts and initiatives.