The MIDAS, which pioneered nurturing women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, has won an award from three French-speaking bilateral chambers in the country for its outstanding contribution to the creation of female entrepreneurs.
Razia Sultana Rini, owner of Bornali Fashion House in Pabna, also received the “2019 Francophonie Week Business Award” for her endeavour in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
The awards were given at a programme at the official residence of the Canadian high commissioner in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event, Masud Rahman, president of the Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “We have considered organisations and individuals who have contributed to women's rights in Bangladesh, particularly in areas such as women entrepreneurship development, skill development and promotion of women in workplaces.”
Rokia Afzal Rahman, a director of the MIDAS (Micro Industries Development Assistance and Services), said the MIDAS had been a pioneer in giving loans to women entrepreneurs without collaterals.
“Women are good borrowers. The repayment rate of women borrowers is 99 percent…We always support women borrowers,” the entrepreneur said.
The MIDAS will continue to work for the development of women entrepreneurs and create economic opportunities for them, said Zahida Ispahani, a director of the MIDAS.
Rini shared her story with the audience narrating how she became a successful entrepreneur.
In 2016, she started her business with Tk 50,000, producing nakshi kantha, bed sheets, ladies wear and other textile handicrafts.
Today, her capital stands at Tk 30 lakh. She employs 20 permanent workers and outsources products from more than 300 workers.
“The MIDAS has helped me. This award will inspire me,” Rini said.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Préfontaine said Canada had a long history with Francophonie.
“Francophonie is about more than the French language,” he said.
He said the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) promotes cooperation among countries in areas such as linguistic diversity, peace, democracy, human rights, education and training and sustainable development.
These are issues that extend well beyond the French-speaking world and also applied to countries like Bangladesh, he said, adding that women and youth were the key focus for the IOF.
“Canada like other member countries believes that helping women and girls in our communities is the best way to help the entire community and it will help the whole planet.
This is why the theme of this year's Francophonie Week in Bangladesh is women's rights.”
The joint chamber of three French-speaking countries, namely Canada, France and Switzerland, handed over the award to the winners.