Women SME entrepreneurs is on the rise

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DHAKA, April 21, 2018 (UNICEF FEATURE/BSS) – Once Tanbin Sweety was just a mere housewife who was looking for a suitable work to help her family as her solider husband failed to meet her family expenditure.

Now, she is a successful entrepreneur and running two SME ventures – Sweety Jewelry and Fortune Handicraft – and has changed her fortune as well as her family’s one.

“I started my business by only Taka 5,000. But, now the total capital of my business is Taka 17 lakh. Fifteen workers, most of them are women, are working in my factory,” Sweety said who lives in Mymensingh town.

Noting that she is also doing a jewelry business, the women entrepreneur said despite not taking any training, she came to business only for her confidence.

“I make a good profit from in business. Now, I am providing all sort of support to my husband for maintaining family expenses. My son is studying in a cadet college while my daughter in an English medium school,” she said with a smile.

Recently, Sweety took part in the national SME fair in the capital. Talking to this correspondent on the sideline if the fair, she said the fair has create a big opportunity to promote her products among both local and foreign buyers.

“I took part in the fair two times. The responses of the customers were very well. I made a good profit from every fair,” she said.

Meherunessa Beauty, another SME entrepreneur, is running a boutique house – Noborupa House – for 13 years at Saidpur upazila under Nilphamari district.

At the age of 28, Beauty said: “I came to business for supporting my schoolteacher husband and I am doing this very well.” She also took part in the SME fair. “The fair is playing a vital role to promote my business,” she added.

Overcoming various obstacles, the country’s women entrepreneurs are leading in the SME business and that is why the number of their participation in SME fairs is increasing gradually.

In the National SME Fair 2018, the participation of women entrepreneurs was higher than the men ones. Out of the total 268 participants, 183 were women SME entrepreneurs. The rate of women entrepreneurs was about 68 percent.

SME Foundation was organised the fair for the first time in 2012. At that time, a total of 85 entrepreneurs set up 100 stalls in that fair. Of them, 56 were the women entrepreneurs while 29 was men.

Official data revealed that the participation of women entrepreneurs in the SME fair was 56 percent in 2013 while 74 percent in 2014, 66 percent in 2016 and 61.5 percent in 2017.

Managing Director of the SME Foundation M Safiqul Islam said a huge number of women entrepreneurs are participating in the national SME fair every year as a new woman’s entrepreneurs class in SME sector has developed in the country. “Women entrepreneurs are taking all challenges to work in a male-dominated, competitive and complex economic business environment.”

“Women entrepreneurs are now able to promote their products at local and international levels through the fair…there are huge participation of women entrepreneurs even at district level fairs” he said.

Safiqul urged both public and private sectors to give more efforts for increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in the SME sector as they are doing well in business.

“There are a huge potential of the women entrepreneurs as they are sincere and committed to their business,” he added.

SME Foundation and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) jointly organised the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fair-2018 for the sixth time in the capital during April 4 to April 8 this year.

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