The Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday launched a plan to create 5,000 women entrepreneurs by 2020 from the micro- and small- and medium-enterprise levels.
“These 5000 women entrepreneurs will grow their businesses and will be part of the mainstream private sector,” said Selima Ahmed, president of BWCCI.
The plan -- 2020: Empower 5,000 -- will generate employment for women, who will, in turn, support the country in its efforts to become a middle-income nation by 2021, she said during a keynote presentation at the launch ceremony of the plan.
She said proper utilisation of the Tk 100 crore allocated in the upcoming budget for women is a must to create new entrepreneurs.
“Access to finance is the main hurdle for women entrepreneurs. We will focus on the issue,” she said, while selecting 12 areas where women are facing problems in growing as entrepreneurs. The areas are: capacity development, product development, marketing, research and development, leadership development, export market promotion, facilitating access to finance, advocacy, ICT, e-commerce and digitalisation, environmental conservation, reduce gender disparities, sexual and reproductive health rights.
The BWCCI president also showed in her presentation that about Tk 218 crore would be required to materialise the initiative.
“Women entrepreneurs should not remain diminutive in the SME sector,” Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a legal aid and human rights organisation, said.
Rather, they should aim to become big and large entrepreneurs, all the while keeping their skills, efficiency and professionalism, she added.
Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, urged the government and the society to come forward to help with BWCCI's plan of promoting women entrepreneurship in the country.
A monitoring mechanism at the finance ministry, ministry of women and children affairs and planning commission is mandatory to ensure proper utilisation of the fund for women development, she added.