The Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) has helped 70 lakh small businesses connect with banks and other microfinance institutions in the last five years, said speakers at an event on Wednesday.
They were speaking at the conference titled Action-Framing Conference: Transforming Financial Market for Small Businesses, which was held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden Hotel.
BFP-B is a 25 million pound financial sector reform programme funded by the UK aid which started in 2015 and ended this year. The programme has created 15 new business models through 36 different investments.
Md Shahriar Alam, state minister for foreign affairs, attended the conference as the chief guest.
Speaking at the event, he said, "I especially applaud the people and firms who selflessly go out of their way to help those in need with immense gratitude."
"Bangladesh has become the 39th economy of the world due to small enterprises that make the backbone of our nation," he said.
Feisal Hussain, team Leader of BFP-B, discussed the programme's major achievements, highlighting BFP-B's role in assisting policy reforms for regulators and triggering investments for scaling business models to finance micro, small and medium businesses.
Ahmed Jamal, deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank and project leader of BFP-B, talked about the phenomenal positive changes and impacts they have achieved over the past decade for small enterprises, resulting in eight percent GDP growth in 2019.
The day-long event included four panel discussion sessions where panelists discussed ways for harnessing digital transformation for improving Bangladesh's financial landscape and adopting omni-channel distribution models in the country.
Jim McAlpine, acting country representative of Department for International Development Bangladesh, and Eamon Cassidy, managing director of Nathan Associates, were present as special guests.
BFP-B has worked with the Bangladesh government, regulators, commercial financial institutions and technology companies to make the business case for expanding finance for small businesses in Bangladesh.