Craft All BD, a producer of home decor items, has no showroom to display products though it saw a turnover of Tk 5 lakh last year, thanks to the social media.
“I am selling my products through a Facebook page,” said Abul Kalam Azad, owner of the virtual shop.
Azad, who never tried for bank loans due to strict conditions, now plans to expand his business as he got a boost from a training programme offered by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He is now taking part in a two-day entrepreneurship and innovation exposition that kicked off in Dhaka yesterday aiming to create a bridge between entrepreneurs and financial institutions.
A total of 23 financial institutions and 25 entrepreneurs participated in the fair, co-organised by DCCI and Bangladesh Bank at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The exposition is part of an ambitious plan of the Dhaka chamber to find 2,000 entrepreneurs from across the country and give them a platform, guideline and much-needed financing to implement their innovative projects.
Ali Ahmed, an entrepreneur, took a Tk 8 lakh loan from Bank Asia without any collateral for his project on palm oil production.
The objective of his project is to increase palm oil production in the county, said Ahmed, a student of Daffodil International University who will plant palm trees in Bandarban.
“We decided to finance his project due to his confidence,” said Iftekhar Ahmed, first assistant vice president at the SME department of Bank Asia.
"Ali Ahmed has adequate knowledge of palm oil production," he said. “We have plans to finance this type of project in future.”
Tareq Ahmed Salah Uddin Khan, assistant general manager of MIDAS Financing, said they have received applications for three projects from new entrepreneurs. “We will take a decision after screening the applications.”
Daffodil International University (DIU) presented a project on biogas engine generator at the expo. Takayoshi Suzuki, a visiting professor of DIU from Japan, is looking after the project.
“We are building a biogas plant on the Ashulia campus of the university for research purposes,” Suzuki said. The plant with a production capacity of 12 kilowatts will use biogas as fuel. The exposition will act as a platform for professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, policyma-kers and industry leaders, said Mohammad Shahjahan Khan, president of DCCI.
Around 3,200 entrepreneurs were registered online with the DCCI and 2,200 business projects of different categories were received, he said.
So far 75 projects have been forwarded to 18 banks for financing, while many of the entrepreneurs have already started their ventures with their own funds, Khan said.
A lack of awareness, self-confidence and training holds back entrepreneurship development in the country, he added. Some 1,050 entrepreneurs have already been trained on how to prepare business plans to be submitted to banks for loans.
Speaking at the inauguration of the show, lawmaker Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh stressed the need for creating new entrepreneurship as there is a need for transforming the country's huge population into skilled workforce.
Anwar Hossain, chairman of DCCI Foundation, said the new entrepreneurs will create employment opportunities in future.
"So we should promote and encourage our youth as they are important assets of our country,” said Hossain, also chairman of Anwar Group of Industries.