Market digest

New UN project in Bangladesh to advance women entrepreneurship

Staff Correspondent

11 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) held a talk in the capital on Monday to find ways to accelerate growth of women entrepreneurs.

In partnership with Global Affairs Canada and the government of Bangladesh, ESCAP organised the national consultation on women entrepreneurs as means of reducing poverty and achieving social well-being and sustainable economic growth. The national consultation in Bangladesh was inaugurated by Women and Children Affairs Secretary Kamrun Nahar.

This consultation was part of the five-year project titled ‘Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship: Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’, said a press release of ESCAP.

The projects aims at creating an enabling policy and business environment to enhance women entrepreneurs’ access to capital through innovative financing mechanisms and their use of ICT and digital solutions.  The project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through global affairs Canada.

Speaking on the occasion, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said “Entrepreneurs make up the backbone of Asia-Pacific economies. In Bangladesh, we see more women becoming involved in economic activities. The Government’s ambitious vision for a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ is supporting the promotion of digital innovations which will advance the country and bolster entrepreneurship. We need to ensure ability, skills and tools of women entrepreneurs to successfully start and expand their business.”

 “Of the almost 8 million businesses in Bangladesh, 99.93 per cent are cottage or micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Only 7.2 per cent are owned by women. Women MSMEs face various barriers to entrepreneurship, which include limited access to finance and ICT infrastructure, lack of financial and business knowledge, and discriminatory social norms,” said ESCAP.

Women and Children Affairs Secretary Kamrun Nahar said “In recent years, Bangladesh has made significant socioeconomic progress, working towards achieving the status of a middle-income country by 2021.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs is committed to advancing women’s entrepreneurship and economic participation, which will support the advancement of Bangladesh as a whole, she added.

More than 80 policymakers, MSME representatives and other stakeholders participated in the consultation.  SME Foundation Managing Director Safiqul Islam concluded the event.

He said national consultation generated in-depth insights to barriers faced by MSMEs and particularly women-owned MSMEs and outcomes of dialogue will contribute to ongoing work we are undertaking, in collaboration with ESCAP.