Micro-entrepreneurs under a project saw profits go up 14.85 percent, with support to explore new markets and boost production, a survey found.
Around Tk 2,500 crore was disbursed among entrepreneurs under a project -- Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation -- implemented by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).
A total of 563,177 micro-entrepreneurs' received support to strengthen the value chain and technical assistance in addition to financial services.
An outcome survey was conducted to measure the performance of the project.
An aggregate of 73.5 percent respondents said their income has increased, the survey showed. Entrepreneurs' average sales rose 12.05 percent in the year through March.
The rate of loan recovery from the entrepreneurs is 99 percent.
The loan amounts ranged between Tk 30,000 and Tk 10 lakh, with an average loan size of Tk 80,000.
The project was launched in 2008, financed by PKSF, International Fund for Agricultural Development and partner organisations of PKSF.
Entrepreneurs have invested borrowed money in basic manufacturing and processing, trading, services and agriculture, including livestock and fisheries.
A consulting firm -- Environment, Agriculture and Development Services -- conducted the survey on 509 entrepreneurs.
The project had a significant impact on sales and entrepreneurs' income and employment, said Mahbubul Islam Khan, an independent consultant.
Almost all micro-entrepreneurs expanded their enterprises with financial support from the project, he added.
The project engaged 39 partner organisations to implement 44 value chain sub-projects covering 22 sub-sectors, such as diversifying floriculture, fattening of crabs, introducing power looms, he said.
A total of 15,382 persons were directly benefited from these sub-projects.
The beneficiaries received technical and technological support under these sub-projects, Khan added.
The project trained 9,540 micro-entrepreneurs in business awareness and skills development, he said.
As many as 6,801 staff members from participant partner organisations and 103 officers of PKSF received training under the project on at least one of the following topics: micro-enterprise management and lending; sub-sector analysis and value chain development; environment and regulatory issues; and financial management and accounting.
“We have given some non-financial services such as: better utilisation of credit, exploring news market and technical support besides financial services,” said Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of PKSF.
The project helped increase equity in society at grassroots levels and boost rural growth to fight poverty, said Ahmad.
PKSF should give information technology support to entrepreneurs in upcoming projects to export to new markets, which will help increase profits, said M Aslam Alam, secretary of the Bank and Financial Institutions Division.
“We should suggest micro-entrepreneurs take loans under banks' small and medium financing.”
Alam also recommended launching a sustainable development survey to know the entrepreneurs' long-term situation.