CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Bangladesh – The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized a seminar in Dhaka on September 20, entitled “A Path toward the Development of Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh: the 2012-13 National Budget.” Among the over 200 attendees were Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, along with BWCCI board members, parliamentarians, representatives of international donors, NGOs, and women entrepreneurs. Former BWCCI President Selima Ahmad noted that while women have made significant contributions to the national economy, the government lacks a cohesive policy to promote women entrepreneurs. Minister Abdul Muhith responded that the government has now allocated the equivalent of over US $12 million for women entrepreneurs as a way to begin addressing this issue. Over 100 journalists from print, television and online media covered the event.

Mauritania – CIPE held a capacity-building workshop in Nouakchott for 20 participants representing the Union Mauritanienne des Femmes Entrepreneures et Commercantes (UMAFEC) and the Union Nationale du Patronat Mauritanien (UNPM). UMAFEC is the apex business membership organization for women entrepreneurs in Mauritania, and UNPM is a confederation of private sector associations that represent various Mauritanian economic sectors. The workshop, which was facilitated by CIPE Africa Program Officer Yana Hongla and CIPE consultant Haroune Sidatt, focused on ways to improve association management, particularly on topics such as membership development, service and program delivery, and good governance. CIPE is working to strengthen the capacity of UMAFEC and UNPM to better represent their members and advocate for policy reforms.

West Bank/Gaza – On September 9, as part of a CIPE-supported project to strengthen corporate and democratic governance, the Palestine Governance Institute hosted a workshop for Palestinian businesswomen. Speakers included: Asma Masri, the chairperson of the Nablus Businesswomen Association; Dr. Hisham Awartani, PGI executive director; and Mohammad Shahin, a member of the Palestinian Development Fund. The speakers explained ways in which Palestinian businesswomen can strengthen their firms. Dr. Awartani recommended that they adopt corporate governance practices in order to become more efficient and competitive and to access financial assistance provided by specialized international and local organizations. Twenty-eight businesswomen attended the workshop and expressed interest in future workshops on similar topics.

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