The local government engineering department started repairing the road from Muril to Shawil after a meeting was arranged between entrepreneurs in the cluster and concerned officials on 24 January.
All parties concerned exchanged opinions about how to solve the problems the cluster was currently facing.
The road from Muril in Bogura to Shawil Industrial Cluster was narrow and unsuitable, causing problems in transporting goods and vehicles in the cluster. On 23 January, a delegation of SME Foundation officials and media personnel visited the Shawil Handloom Cluster near Bogura.
They held a meeting, Entrepreneurs' Current Problems and Futures,' on 24 January to discuss the problems of entrepreneurs in the cluster, and the short and long term plans for growing their business.
The entrepreneurs demanded the road from Muril to Shawil be widened and renovated. They also asked the authorities to construct a permanent shed to display products in Shawil market.
The deputy commissioner of Bogura, Md Ziaul Haque, who chaired the meeting, immediately assured widening of the road and instructed the upazila administration to build a shed in Shawil Bazar.
Entrepreneurs hope the road renovations shall solve long standing problems, accelerate employment and the cluster's development, and boost trade.
SME Foundation Managing Director, Md Mofizur Rahman, Director of SME Foundation, Rashedul Karim Munna, General Manager Farzana Khan, and a Bogura Light Engineering and Shawil Handloom Cluster representative, participated in the 24 January meeting.
Officials from Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center (BITAC), National Association of Small & Cottage Industries of Bangladesh (NASCIB), Bogura Chamber, Midas Finance, Bank Asia, SME Foundation, and journalists were also present at the event.
The Shawil Handloom Cluster in Bogura is known across the country. They manufacture high-quality sweaters, mufflers, blankets, bedsheets, and other quality products, with almost 100% recycled fabrics from export oriented garment factories.
The cluster has a trade and commerce relationship with about 55 districts across the country.
The products made in the cluster are supplied for sale in various places across the country, including Kushtia, Sirajganj, Gaibandha, Tangail, Sylhet, Narsingdi, Chattogram, and Dhaka. Dyed yarn products are also taken to other places, including Pabna and Sirajganj.
The Shawil Handloom Cluster used to only produce and sell gamchhas (a traditional thin, coarse cotton towel) but since the 80s, handlooms have been used to produce sweaters, mufflers, and bedsheets.
Without the help of advanced technology, skilled weavers here make products with the help of basic indigenous machinery.
Since 2014, the SME Foundation has been working with them to develop this business cluster.
The SME Foundation is conducting 'Product Design Development' training, and disbursing loans through banks and financial institutions. In response to the needs of entrepreneurs and consumers, the Foundation is working on improving product designs of the Shawil Handloom Industry Cluster.
With the training, both quality and demand for products made in the cluster have increased significantly and opportunities have been created for the export of products.