Eighty-six percent of women entrepreneurs in the country are married, says a new study released on Thursday.
The SME Foundation and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies jointly conducted the study on 1,510 women entrepreneurs from 45 districts in seven divisions.
Of the total number of women entrepreneurs, two percent are unmarried. Among the others are either divorcees or widows, finds the study.
The research also finds that unmarried women are yet to develop themselves into entrepreneurs, the reason being the social barriers and family pressure they are confronted with.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), presented the findings of the study, "Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective 2017," at Cirdap auditorium in Dhaka.
SME Foundation Chairman KM Habib Ullah presided over the programme.
The study notes that products made by only two percent of small and medium entrepreneurs are exported.
The study finds that the age of 75 percent of the women entrepreneurs varies from 31 to 50 years. On the other hand, the number of young entrepreneurs, ranging in age from 21 to 30, is 13 percent.
At the same time, the age of 0.5 percent of the entrepreneurs ranges between 15 and 20 years.
According to the study, in 2009, graduate entrepreneurs made up 20 percent of the total, which increased to 26 percent in 2017.
In 2009, 42 percent of women entrepreneurs faced opposition from their families about getting involved in business, but the percentage came down to an impressive four percent in 2017, according to the study.
Seventy-seven percent women entrepreneurs do not face any impediments from their families now. Moreover, 88 percent among women entrepreneurs have not faced any harassment in obtaining trade licences, said the study.
However, seven percent of women entrepreneurs have had to pay extra amounts of money to come by their trading licences.
In 2009, 28 percent of women entrepreneurs faced social barriers while operating their businesses. The figure declined to 14 percent in 2017.
In 2009, the number of women paying taxes was ten percent. In 2017, the figure for women taxpayers rose to 56 percent.
In addition, 10 percent women would use computers for their business operations in 2009, which increased to 35 percent in 2017.
According to the researchers, an increasing number of educated women are getting involved in business these days by overcoming social barriers.
Moreover, socially marginalised women have been coming into industrialisation and business because of a business-friendly environment, said the researchers, who noted that the number of women using information and communication technologies has increased.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed recommended that banking procedures should be made easier so that women entrepreneurs can acquire loans easily.
Her other recommendations include providing loans to women entrepreneurs as per demand, organising entrepreneurial training, providing training on computer operations and business English.
In his comments as the chief guest, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun stressed the significance of small and medium enterprises being the driving force of the country's economic development.
This sector is making immense contributions to earning export revenue, diversifying products, creating jobs and socio-economic development in other areas, the minister stated.