World Bank South Asia Region Vice President Hartwig Schafer has visited the footwear microenterprises cluster at Bhairab in Kishoreganj.
Under the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP), co-financed by The World Bank, PKSF is supporting the footwear-producing microenterprise cluster in Bhairab where around 200,000 pairs of footwear are manufactured a day, reads a press release.
Bhairab is home to more than 10,000 footwear microenterprises, employing over 120,000 people.
Guised as an honorary micro-entrepreneur, Hartwig Schafer and the other member delegates visited SEP supported footwear common service centre on Wednesday to support the footwear-producing microenterprises in Bhairab.
They talked to the service providers alongside SEP-supported micro-entrepreneurs and have had been explained the services there.
During the visit, Schafer was accompanied by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder, World Bank Country Director Mercy Miyang Tembon, and PKSF Additional Managing Director Md Fazlul Kader alongside other representatives from the government, The World Bank and project-implementing partner organisation of PKSF.
In a discussion session that followed, PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder said, "in addition to inclusive financing, capacity building, technology transfer, value chain development and other technical services are being provided to help the low-income people to get out from the vicious cycle of low productivity."
She also said it is inspiring to see how a common service facility can be helpful to a business community that does not have much access to necessary modern technical support.
Appreciating the effort and enthusiasm of the female micro-entrepreneurs Mercy Miyang Tembon said, "I am very happy to meet the women who are not only working for themselves but also employing other women. That is why SEP is very important. PKSF is doing a wonderful job as they are doing it all over the country."
Expressing satisfaction at the SEP's role in sustainable expansion of the footwear-manufacturing microenterprises, Hartwig Schafer said, "It is great to see what can be done when you empower communities and when you start small."
Fazlul Kader presented on the SEP's interventions with particular focus on the footwear-producing cluster.
To assist the microenterprises of Bangladesh in enhancing their marketing and brand development capacity and adopting environmentally sustainable practices, PKSF is implementing the SEP, jointly financed by PKSF and The World Bank with support from the government of Bangladesh.
The total budget of this five-year project is $130 million, of which the World Bank and PKSF will finance $110 million and $20 million respectively. To implement the project, the lead business clusters, based in the lead sub-sectors of the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, are provided financial and technical support.
A total of 64 sub-projects have been undertaken from 30 different sub-sectors under the project.