Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category.

Recommendations for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Peshawar

Pakistan – The Peshawar Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, working under a small grant from CIPE, has put forward to the regional government a set of policy recommendations to benefit women entrepreneurs in the region. This week the Chamber held a closing event for over 100 participants. The Education Minister agreed to consider including basic business education at the middle school level across the province and a regional focus group for women entrepreneurs will be formed to work on the other policy recommendations. The event was widely covered by the press, including: www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1209294/, tribune.com.pk/story/574773/economic-progress-khyber-pakhtunkhwa-following-vision-to-empower-women, and dawn.com/news/1024068/soft-loans-for-businesswomen-proposed

Blog by Hammad Siddiqui: “Entrepreneurship Development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

 

New WEAB Showroom in Gulshan, Bangladesh

With great pleasure, we announce that we have opened our very own showroom named “SHEUTI” where our handicrafts products will be displayed for sale and to promote internationally. These products are made by our trained rural Women Entrepreneurs and we have a training centre to provide training and make them skilled to develop their product quality.

The main objective behind the formation of Sheuti was to give the women of our country a platform to hone as well as showcase their talents. Through Sheuti, these women will have the option to enhance their skills and capacities, which will empower them to become wholesome, independent, self-reliant individuals.

We had our inaugural ceremony for the showroom on 5th July, 2013. Mr. Dilip Barua, Honorable Minister for Industries of the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was Chief Guest at the event, and other prominent individuals were present at the occasion, including H.E Mr. Dan Mozena, Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. A.K. Azad Ex-President, FBCCI, Begum Raushan Ershad, MP, and Rasheda Begum Hira, MP, who were special guests at the event.

Govt to Set up Bank for Women Entrepreneurs” (The Independent)

It would be our pleasure to have you visit our showroom sometime.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Nasreen Fatema Awal
President
Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh

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BWCCI Overcomes Challenges in Bangladesh

In May, the  Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) received a fund of $1,350,388 to train 56 groups of 30 women entrepreneurs across Bangladesh.  This endeavor came with a challenge however, if we did not use all of the funds by June, the money would need to be returned.  Naturally, my staff questioned whether such a feat was even possible.

BWCCI_training

As an entrepreneur, I learned that opportunity is not a constant and when it arrives, we must take full advantage and use it to its potential.  BWCCI was established to benefit women entrepreneurs and help women build their businesses and we had no choice but to do our best to compete the mission at hand.  We increased our existing trainers and outsourced another 60.  After training them, I spoke to them and said, “Let’s work together and make the impossible possible!”

BWCCI_training2

Throughout the month of June we reviewed the existing module, planned our training sessions, purchased the necessary materials and implemented our programs.  In addition to battling poor infrastructure and the traffic jams that are so common in Bangladesh we lost three whole days due to a Mayoral election, budget proceedings, and a religious holiday!  Never the less, I am proud and happy to say that we completed the 56th batch on June 29th.  That means we provided training to 1,580 women throughout 26 districts of Bangladesh!

As a result, we are receiving funding to train an additional 16,000 women through June 2014! We look forward to continuing our empowerment of women entrepreneurs and hope to gain at least 600 additional members through this program.  The challenge starts now!

Advancing Entrepreneurship in Nepal

SAARC

SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) and Zonta Club Kathmandu Nepal jointly organized a talk program on the topic “Effective Advocacy: How to Advance a Reform Agenda to Encourage Entrepreneurshipon of April 26th 2013. The keynote speaker was Ms. Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of Small Business Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), USA

Ms. Pramila Acharya Rijal, Chairperson of SCWEC and Founder President of Zonta Club of Kathmandu Nepal welcomed all the participants and gave a brief introduction of the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council and Zonta Club of Kathmandu Nepal which focuses on the advancement of women on the national and regional level.

Ms. Karen Kerrigan, who is also Chair of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), shared SBE Council’s mission which is “Protect small business, Promote Entrepreneurship”. Entrepreneurs are job creators. Currently 200 million are unemployed where 75 million are 25 years and under. In the next 15 years, 600 million new jobs will be needed worldwide.

Ms. Kerrigan also shared some of the recommendations on world entrepreneurship forum such as:

  • Reform Regulations
  • Promote Proper Governance
  • Create early education and young adult entrepreneurial curricula
  • Promote lifelong entrepreneurial education
  • Empower entrepreneurial women, Minorities
  • Understand entrepreneurship
  • Create new “ Entrepreneurial Friendly” Institutions
  • Foster Positive Entrepreneurial Attitudes

Continue reading ‘Advancing Entrepreneurship in Nepal’ »

BWCCI, UNFPA Join Forces to Empower Women

BWCCI

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) signed an agreement with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to carry out a 3 year program that aims to empower women in Bangladesh.  The project is titled, “Economic opportunities and sexual and reproductive health and rights- a pathway to empowering girls and women in Bangladesh” and has a budget of $527,888.

According to UNFPA Bangladesh representative, Arthur Erken, identifying and and addressing power imbalances is a critical aspect of promoting gender equality.  One major imbalance in Bangladesh is a limited role for women in their families when it comes to reproductive decision-making.  By increasing access to and utilization of information and services related to reproductive health, the project seeks to give women more autonomy to manage their own lives.

The 3-year project will also channel this increased autonomy towards economic empowerment by improving the entrepreneurial and technical knowledge and skills of women, which will allow them to start their own business enterprises.  When paired with increased control and knowledge of reproductive health, this initiative will tackle challenges of technical know-how and long-term sustainability with regards to women operated businesses.

Selima Ahmad
BWCCI

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CIPE Hosts Sessions for Women Associations in Kathmandu

“The sessions in Dhaka and Kathmandu helped develop structure and set direction and proper governance guidance to our business associations, which usually tend to be run according to individual chairperson’s goals. Setting vision and mission based on a membership needs assessment is such a simple idea that we learned…so basic but yet hardly used as we tend to overlook membership requirements in our day to day chamber activities and operations” – Rezani Aziz, Sri Lanka

Despite severe challenges, Women Business Associations are playing effective roles in promoting interests of their members. However, CIPE has observed that most women business associations in South Asia are struggling to perform optimally.

CIPE took this challenge and an opportunity to work with a selected group of eleven business associations in the South Asia region aiming at strengthening institutional capacity to become stronger advocates for their members. In the first phase of this project, CIPE organized a two-day session for the group in Dhaka in January 2013. Continue reading ‘CIPE Hosts Sessions for Women Associations in Kathmandu’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Pakistan – The Uks Research Centre partnered with the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) to host the “Women in Media Awards” in Karachi. The ceremony recognized four first-place awardees and three runners-up in the areas of print, television, radio, and online. The awards celebrate women journalists from across Pakistan whose work has generated better awareness and understanding of gender equality and women’s role in the society. The ceremony attracted more than 50 attendees, and CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui presented on the importance of training journalists to support the democratic process. Uks also used the occasion of International Women’s Day to launch its new guidebook, Powerful Women – Powerful Nation, which will serve as a training tool and guide for journalists to conduct gender-sensitive reporting. Read more about the winners on the CIPE Development Blog: www.cipe.org/blog/2013/03/13/powerful-women-powerful-nation-changing-the-way-women-are-portrayed-in-pakistan/.

South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Come Together in Bangladesh

“Studies show that investing in women is a high yield investment as gender equality in access to education, healthcare, political participation, and economic participation is key to a country’s competitiveness and prosperity. It is a fact that women-run small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) drive economic growth and create jobs. This is true in my country and it is true around the world.” – Melanne S Verveer and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia.

According to the World Bank, South Asia has the largest number of economically deprived and undernourished people in the world. Despite this it also has the world’s largest working age population and 25% of world’s middle-class consumers. If stabilized, the benefits of economic growth in the region would not only help alleviate policy, but would also extend to developed countries by supplying quality goods and services. On top of everything, peace in this region will also be ensured.

One of the ways to improve the economic conditions of South Asian countries is engaging women in economic development through entrepreneurial activities. To help support women interested in entrepreneurship, the U.S. State Department organized a two-day South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Dhaka on 9-10 December. One hundred and twenty women entrepreneurs from eleven countries in the region, including Central Asia, participated in the event, which focused on creating cross-border linkages between women entrepreneurs and leaders in South Asia. During the symposium, participants in breakout sessions discussed the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in technology, governance, trade, and entrepreneurship. Continue reading ‘South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Come Together in Bangladesh’ »

Fostering Enterprise in Bangladesh

Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh (WEAB) president, Nasreen Fatema Awal, was recently recognized by the Industries Minister as a vital player in driving Bangladesh’s economy.  The award, known as CIP status, is granted to recognize contributions to job creation and economic growth.  Ms. Awal’s CIP card grants her certain privileges such as travel priority, access to functions with municipal corporations, and membership in policymaking committees.  While these privileges provide many benefits to WEAB’s ability to foster enterprise, the recognition alone is a wonderful accomplishment.

As an example of the work that the organization has completed to earn such recognition from the government, WEAB recently announced that it will open a marketing outlet for female entrepreneurs.  Working with the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) WEAB arranged an to open the facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  WEAB, sees the outlet as a platform for women entrepreneurs to better market their products and grant them access to markets that have so far been blocked. In addition, WEAB will use the facility as a training center to further develop members’ innovative skills.  Ms. Awal was quoted as saying, “Small and Medium entrepreneurs are constantly striving to move forward. But they do not know where to market their products…and how to improve quality.” The new marketing outlet will be a good opportunity to help women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh accomplish both.

Thanks to Kharuba Khatun (WEAB) for sharing this information.

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Budgeting for Women in Bangladesh

Selima Ahmad (right)

 

The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a roundtable with Finance Minister AMA Muhith entitled “National Budget 2012-13 and Women Entrepreneurs.”  Attended by members of parliament, NGO representatives, women activists, academicians, and the media, the event explored the possibilities for creating an environment in which women entrepreneurs could flourish.

Acting on a statement that “the government emphasizes women development in the greater inerest of the country,” Finance Minister Muhith pledged to allocate Tk 1 billion  ($12 million) as a special fund to promote the development of women entrepreneurs.  Muhith agreed to BWCCI’s request to release funds on the condition that the chamber develop a comprehensive plan on how the money will be used.  He noted that in the past, special funds for other sectors have been set aside but were misused because of weak implementation plans.

Continue reading ‘Budgeting for Women in Bangladesh’ »