Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation's (BSCIC) quarterly fair began on October 18 after an 11-month gap due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The five-day "Hemanta Mela" at BSCIC headquarters in the capital's Motijheel features 60 small and cottage industry entrepreneurs and is open from 10am to 5pm for all.
Various hand-made and cottage industry products are available in the stalls. Also, products made by those who received BSCIC training are displayed.
Marium Nargis from Jashore's Twinkle Boutique House told The Business Standard, "After an exhibition in China last December, I could not participate in any other fair. I was upset, and there was no way to earn money. I have gone through a hard time but participating in this fair feels like my life is back."
"As the fair was arranged after a big gap, sales are much better compared to the previous fairs, and the location is also suitable. People returning home from offices are stopping by and are buying something."
The owner of Nakshi Ghar, Parvin Akter from Chapainawabganj, told The Business Standard, "Last year's BSCIC fair was the last fair I attended. I faced huge losses in my business due to the pandemic and was even unable to pay my workers."
"I had to tell my employees to keep the products. I told them if they could sell those, then they could give me a part of the profit and keep their payments," she added.
Parvin further said, "When the pandemic situation began to improve in the country, we requested the BSCIC chairman to organise a fair. We all are grateful that he entertained our request."
BSCIC Chairman Md Mostaque Hassan said, "The pandemic caused the highest losses to the small and cottage industry entrepreneurs of different levels. The fair was organised considering the losses they had been facing."
The owner of People's Footwear and Leather Goods, Rejbin Hafiz, told The Business Standard, "We were stuck in the house because of the pandemic. The business was closed, and we were unable to pay the employees. The situation was affecting me both financially and mentally."
He said online sales were not enough to keep the factory going.
"This fair revived my business. Sales are also quite good."
The BSCIC chairman said, "As all the retail shops in the capital are open and they are maintaining the health rules, we decided to arrange the fair so that entrepreneurs can minimise their loss."
BSCIC has been organising the quarterly fair since 1998.