Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Senior Research Fellow Dr Nazneen Ahmed has emphasised the importance of announcing separate stimulus packages as well as launching special loan programmes through SME Foundation and non-governmental organisations to bring women entrepreneurs forward.
She was presenting the keynote paper at a seminar titled "Progress and Challenges of Women Entrepreneurs in the Mujib Borsho" marking International Women's Day 2021 organised by SME Foundation on Sunday, said a press release.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun MP was the chief guest at the seminar, with SME Foundation Chairperson Prof Dr Md Masudur Rahman in the chair.
Highlighting the study conducted by SME Foundation on women entrepreneurs, Dr Nazneen said about 54% of women in the country have become entrepreneurs through their efforts alone. However, 81% of women entrepreneurs do not have a bank account, so the government needs to focus on improving their business management skills.
According to her, difficulties for women entrepreneurs are: the non-availability of large loans, obstacles to business expansion, barriers to exporting their products, a lack of information about new markets, poorly skilled workers, and double the work pressure of family and industry.
She made some recommendations to address these crises, including that banks coming forward and a digital platform for product marketing be created.
The industries minister said all kinds of assistance will be provided to women entrepreneurs to take forward the development vision of the government.
In 2009, 28% of women entrepreneurs had to deal with social barriers, but now this has halved. The rate of taxpayers among women entrepreneurs has also increased from 10% to 56% during this period, he added.
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder MP and industries secretary KM Ali Azam graced the seminar as special guests.
Kamal Ahmed Majumder said SME Foundation has undertaken various initiatives for the development of the country's women entrepreneurs and to ensure sustainable and modern technology support for them. At least 80% of the beneficiaries of various programmes of SME Foundation are women.
The rate of women entrepreneurs among the loan-takers under the foundation's credit programme is 26%, he added.
The industries secretary said hopefully Vision 2021 will become true through the consolidated efforts of men and women of the country and Bangladesh will move to a developed country from a middle income country by 2041 with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
SME Foundation chairperson Prof Dr Md Masudur Rahman said through training on information and communications technology (ICT), e-commerce as well as social media and digital marketing, the number of women entrepreneurs using ICT is increasing day by day.
SME Foundation Managing Director Dr Md Mofizur Rahman, Chattogram Women's Chamber president Monowara Hakim Ali and Joyeeta Foundation Managing Director Afroza Khan also spoke at the seminar.