“Since 2006, CIPE has supported the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), as it has grown into the leading voice of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. From humble beginnings in 2001, the organization now has 2,500 members across the country, served by a main office in Dhaka and several regional branch offices.
In the past, barely one percent of women entrepreneurs and small businesses and were able to get bank loans, according to BWCCI’s research. Now, after BWCCI’s extensive advocacy with the Central Bank of Bangladesh, approximately $30 million has been allocated specifically for loans to women entrepreneurs, without collateral and at low interest rates. To date, nearly $23 million has been provided to over 3,000 women entrepreneurs, helping to create around 20,000 new jobs. In addition, all banks in Bangladesh must establish dedicated desks for women entrepreneurs, and banks must make at least five percent of their SME finance loans to women, according to Central Bank instructions.”
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A few months ago, the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations, Romania, submitted a protest to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, in reference to a number of unfriendly fiscal and financial measures that the government has adopted, in order to increase its budget.
Under the slogan “We Care”, the Coalition suggested a set of ten alternative measures that should help support the business environment, especially because some fiscal measures that were adopted by the Government in 2009 have determined the closure of around 150,000 SMEs. CAFA proposed that, instead of those measures, which are simply aimed at raising more money now, the government should introduce measures that stimulate work and the creation of more jobs, and allow companies to become stable and even to grow. Such measures are: the elimination of the mandatory income tax income introduced in 2009; the elimination of the 5% and 10% late penalties that only private companies must pay (as opposed to state-owned companies, which are exempted from paying penalties); increasing the transparency of the laws on public acquisitions; simplifying the procedures for granting European funds to SMEs; introducing VAT deduction procedures for natural persons; eliminating the tax on reinvested profit, etc.
Continue reading ‘The Coalition of Women’s Business Associations Sets a Good Example for Romanian Civil Society’ »
The Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov, Romania (AFAFCI) has organized a launch event for a new CIPE publication “Women’s Business Associations, Experiences from Around the World: Central and Eastern Europe”, which is part of CIPE’s Women Paper Series. The publication presents findings on the current state of women’s business associations in 14 countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, FYROM, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland). It also includes a case study on the Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov, Romania (AFAFCI). AFAFCI has translated the case study into Romanian and printed it at its own expense. The translated version is meant to complement the English version of the study.
The event, which focused on women entrepreneurs and the international recognition of AFAFCI’s work, was hosted by Brasov Chamber of Commerce and Industry and featured CIPE Regional Office Program Director Camelia Bulat, as well as the author of the case study, Cornelia Rotaru, as guest speakers. Ms. Rotaru is also President of another prominent Romanian women entrepreneurs’ organization, the Association for the Development of Women Entrepreneurship (ADAF).
Continue reading ‘The Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov (Romania) Launches CIPE Publication’ »
SMEs owned by women create the bulk of formal employment in most economies around the world. Women’s business associations can provide support for women-owned SMEs, and thereby assume the role of influential community change-makers and stakeholders. However, business leaders in developing countries, in particular women business leaders, face challenges that entrepreneurs in developed countries may never encounter. These barriers fall into two key categories: instability and infrastructure.
Closely tied to cultural, social, economic, and political country conditions, instability involves the struggles of women dealing with patriarchal restraints, corruption, and sometimes organized crime and war. Infrastructure barriers deal with weak or lacking institutions that inhibit women’s ability to conduct business. These include: property rights, recognition of women’s rights as human rights, accounting, taxation, and banking rules, and civil law. Overcoming the challenges posed by instability and infrastructure calls for an engagement of women’s NGOs and business associations as agents of change, as they advocate, support, and amplify necessary reforms
Read the full article: Empowering Women through Non-governmental Organizations and Women’s Business Associations.
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