SME stimulus funds to prioritise marginal entrepreneurs

Staff Correspondent

6 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Entrepreneurs from backward communities and hard-to-reach areas will get priority in the stimulus budget for small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.

The government announced a stimulus worth Tk 3 billion for the SME Foundation helping the sector recover from the pandemic impacts.

During a meeting with local businesses on Wednesday, SME Foundation Managing Director Dr Mofizur Rahman briefed the initiative taken to support micro-entrepreneurs bridging them with banks and other financial institutions.

 State Minister for Social Welfare Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru joined the session as chief guest.

Khasru said the government has taken the stimulus to support the entrepreneurs amid pandemic and it will be disbursed to develop the micro economy in the underprivileged areas.

Private commercial banks including BRAC Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Premier Bank, BASIC Bank and IDLC Finance began taking applications from the SME entrepreneurs from Sunday. There are more banks and financial institutions in the pipeline to be onboard with the programme of the SME Foundation.

Under the programme, an entrepreneur will be able to receive a maximum of Tk 2.5 million as collateral-free credit.

Earlier on March 21, SME Foundation chairperson Dr Masudur Rahman approved the directives for the stimulus programme. SME Foundation MD Mofizur Rahman assured the entrepreneurs of initiatives to increase the credit limit to address the challenges after an assessment.

He said the SME Foundation has already set up a help desk to facilitate the stimulus among the startups and entrepreneurs from backward communities including ethnic minority groups, differently abled person and transgender.                                                                                            

Officials informed that the SME entrepreneurs will receive the credit from Tk 100,000 to Tk 2.5 million at 4 percent interest rate. It should be paid in equal installments within 24 months.

SME Foundation will assess the quality of the entrepreneurs in connectivity with trade bodies and other local business organization.

The Foundation has also partnered with Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank to ensure benefits of the entrepreneurs in remote areas.