Posts tagged ‘Bangladesh’

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
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.


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!”


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!

BWCCI, UNFPA Join Forces to Empower Women


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

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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’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Bangladesh – CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui participated in the South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Dhaka, which was organized by the U.S. State Department. Participants included leading women entrepreneurs and business association leaders from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. Other participants included U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the State Department’s U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council Sarah Peck, and a range of other U.S. government officials. The Symposium sought to give women entrepreneurs in the region a platform to discuss trade facilitation and an opportunity to share best practices to grow their businesses. Siddiqui presented CIPE’s program to create a network of regional women’s business associations, which will complement the State Department’s efforts in the region.

Nigeria – CIPE Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi and Assistant Program Officer Erica Poff participated in an event in Akure, Ondo State, hosted by the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN) in honor of International Rural Women’s Day. COWAN, a leading association representing about 260,000 rural women entrepreneurs across Nigeria, recently participated in a CIPE workshop to build the capacity of Nigerian women’s business associations to better represent their members. Gbadamosi and Poff also met with the Governor’s Special Advisor on NGOs to discuss how Ondo State is improving the business environment and promoting development, as well as the leadership of the Akure City Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture to discuss future programming opportunities with CIPE.

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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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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Stories of Success from Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) works to support their local women business community.  Offering services including training, capacity building, and advocacy, BWCCI has emerged as a strong civil society organization that helps women entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful.

Working with USAID’s Democracy and Governance program, Promoting Governance, Accountability, Transparency, and Integrity (PROGATI) on fighting corruption, and with CIPE on access to credit, BWCCI has established regional working groups to aid women in their endeavors.  Here are a few stories of some of the women BWCCI has helped through their work.


“I was experiencing a lot of difficulty getting a loan from the bank, but with the support of our divisional BWCCI working group it became easier for me.”

At the age of 22, Konika Rani assumed responsibility for her family after the death of her husband.  Having started a business in 2005 called “Pankaj Boutique house” in Aditmari, Lalmonirhat she applied for loan at the Janata Bank, mortgaging her land to the bank in the process.  After 2 months, with the support of BWCCI, Konika received her first loan, in the amount of Tk20000, and repaid it within the scheduled timeframe. Following this, Konika applied for another loan from Janata Bank for Tk50000. However, the bank proposed her to only take Tk20000 again. In response, she informed the Rangpur Divisional working group of BWCCI and with the support of the Divisional Head, ACC, and Bank personnel she was able to receive Tk45000. Now, with the proper funds she can continue her business and fulfill her responsibilities to her family.

Continue reading ‘Stories of Success from Bangladesh’ »

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’ »

CACCI Women Entrepreneurs Council Newsletter

Volume 6 of the GROW newsletter features an overview of women’s entrepreneurship in Asian developing countries by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which profiles women’s business organizations in the region and makes recommendations for the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship. The issue also includes a description of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan by Arjumand A. Qazi, highlights from the CACCI Women Entrepreneurs Council session at the 2011 CACCI Conference in Istanbul, and more.

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