Empowering Female entrepreneurship in Bangladesh: Breaking Barriers and Driving Economic Growth

women entrepreneurship definition:

Women Entrepreneurship refers to the ownership and leasing of businesses by a woman. Women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh is a source of income generation for a woman and a way of achieving economic independence. According to the definition given in the Industrial Policy 2016, The Bangladesh Bank (BB) also follows the same definition.

“A female is an entrepreneur if she is the owner or proprietor of a privately-run business, organization or owns at least 51% share in a joint venture or company listed with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms.”

problems and prospects of entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh

  • Becoming an entrepreneur is a big challenge for women.
  • Women in Bangladesh have progressed notably in terms of their participation in the labor force, from 15.8 percent in 1995-96 to 35.6 percent in 2016.
  • Among them only around 12 percent have emerged as entrepreneurs;
  • According to the Economic Census of 2013, there are 7.8 million enterprises (economic activities) in Bangladesh
  • Of which 7.3 million are male-headed and only 0.6 million are female-headed. Thus only 7.2% of the total enterprises are female-headed.
  • It was 2.80% (0.10 million) in 2001 & 03. It implies that more female is getting into the business as the head of establishments;

Obstacles/challenges to registering a business  

  1. Women often find it difficult to register their businesses.
  2.  The registration process is too lengthy.
  3.  However, most of the Pouroshovas of the country have opened One-Stop Services,
  4.  Difficulties to apply for a trade license.
  5. Difficult to collect many papers demanded by authorities responsible
  6. Additional money claimed from  women entrepreneurs
  7. longer time needed to obtain the license
  8. Do not apply due to long process fear
  9. Scared to go alone as a woman
  10. The scope of business is not so big
  11. An additional charge for a business license
  12. Do not feel necessary

Lack of knowledge in Accounting and book-keeping

Accounting and bookkeeping are very important business activities to maintain growth and ensure the sustainability of the business. In our country, most of women entrepreneurs manage the finances of their businesses by themselves. They don’t usually hire accountants. It is noted that 81.1% of women entrepreneurs from different divisions don’t have an accountant. While this indicates their capacity in keeping accounts by themselves, this may also lead to inefficiency and challenges when expanding business.

current scenario of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh has been on the rise in recent years, with many new startups emerging in various sectors. According to a report by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), there were over 50,000 new companies registered in Bangladesh in 2020, which is a 9% increase from the previous year.

The government of Bangladesh has taken various initiatives to support entrepreneurship, including providing access to finance, creating incubators and accelerators, and offering training and mentoring programs. The Bangladesh Bank has also launched a special fund to support startups, and the government has established a “Startup Bangladesh” program to support the country’s growing startup ecosystem.

The technology and e-commerce sectors are particularly active in the Bangladeshi startup scene, with companies such as Pathao, Grameenphone, and bKash emerging as major players in the market. In addition, there has been a growing interest in social entrepreneurship, with startups such as Waste Concern and Grameen Danone Foods focusing on creating sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems.

Despite the growing startup ecosystem, there are still some challenges facing entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, such as limited access to finance, a lack of skilled human resources, and inadequate infrastructure. However, with the government’s continued support and the resilience and creativity of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, the future of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh looks promising.

Advantages of being an entrepreneur

  • The flexibility of working hours
  • Boundless financial opportunities
  • Independence in financial decision-making
  • Flexibility to manage family responsibility
  • Receiving respect in family and society and Decline in family disputes
  • Possibility to show creativity
  • Higher income and higher purchasing power. When women have income from their business, they spend it not only on their personal expenses, rather a large proportion is spent on the education and health expenses of their children.
  • Satisfaction with generating employment for others

challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

  • Feeling the pressure of risk of business
  • Suffering from uncertain future steaming out of price volatility of raw materials and final products.
  • Social and familial obstacles
  • Fluctuation in income, creating uncertainty
  • Unfair treatment from people in business connections
  • Dual responsibility of work and family

An effective approach to encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs

  1. Entrepreneurship should be included in the educational curriculum from an early stage
  2. Skill training dedicated to women should include more women instructors, especially for the courses
  3. Credit facilities should be more gender-friendly.  Bank officials should be given credible instructions on this matter.
  4. College and university students should be encouraged to have their own bank accounts
  5. Funds for women entrepreneurs sanctioned in the national budget should be utilized properly.. Every year government allocates some funds (in the national budget) for the development of women entrepreneurs
  6. Organizing frequent national, international, and local level trade fairs could go a long way to expand, market, product diversity, and quality improvement in SME businesses in general and for women entrepreneurs in particular.
  7. Sensitization of Bank officials and organizing awareness-raising programs at a different levels are necessary to support women entrepreneurs
  8. The leadership of women’s chambers is necessary to support women to get access to bank officials, organize their papers, manage a loan, receive a guarantee, etc.
  9. Women-friendly markets should be developed at the district level.

What to do for women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Women-focused Programs for basic orientation in business and skill development

1.Organizing vocational training

2. Providing information on SME loans of the Bangladesh Bank

3. Providing a business platform for the women

4. Assisting the development of business leadership among women

5. Uplifting courage of the women through different pieces of training and seminars

6. Helping women entrepreneurs manage loans

7. Providing a business platform for the women

8. Provided training to become self-dependent & self-confident

9.Helping women to promote business through SME fairs

Identify potential sectors for women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

There are some expanding service sectors employing an increasing number of females, such as-

  • Information technology,
  • Health care,
  • Wholesale and retail trade,
  • E-commerce,
  • Education,
  • Hospitality and tourism.

Plan of actions can be taken for women entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh

Plan of actions can be taken for women entrepreneurship

Short-run initiatives

  • To increase women’s participation in the labor force as entrepreneurs and make it sustainable, the government needs to invest in childcare facilities or encourage the private sector to do so.
  • Both the government and the private sector can take action to ensure women-friendly working environments.
  • needs to extend the system of proper monitoring of the implementation of labor laws.
  • Better facilities for on-the-job training can create win-win situations both for employers and employees.
  • The government should invest more in improving the transportation system so that commutes from home to work is affordable, easily accessible, reliable, and secure.

Medium-run initiatives (5 years)

  • The human capital endowment is important to get access to the job market.
  • To provide quality training, the government has to increase the training facilities through government national training institutes.
  • We need to develop training modules according to the market focus on increasing such training quantities such training.
  • The women-friendly marketplaces need to be developed, where women entrepreneurs will be able to sell their products in a congenial environment.
  • Capacity-building or training programs should be arranged widely as community-based programs,
  • The central bank and relevant agencies of government should develop proper profitable investment mechanisms for remittance earners so that they can invest it.

Long-run initiatives (10 years)emphasize technical education as well as general education for creating sustainable job opportunities and entrepreneurship among women.

  • The social structure Should be more developed professionalism should be developed among both males and females at different levels of education.
  • The government and NGOs need to work more on raising awareness regarding the economic importance of women entrepreneurs and the cooperation and support needed from the males in women reaping the full benefits of economic opportunities.
  • Fertility regulation could be an important determinant for many women’s decisions about taking up livelihood opportunities or employment.
  • The government should facilitate more policies through different ministries in terms of gender issues, accommodation, safety issues, transport, and trade policies.
  • The National Women’s Development Policy 2011 should be implemented properly to decrease gender discrimination in the workplace and the market.
  • More profitable and secure employment should be created for new entrants into the job market.
  • More research is needed to understand why some educated women are withdrawing themselves from paid work.

Recommendation to develop Women’s Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

Here are some recommendations to develop women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh:

Provide access to finance: Encourage financial institutions to provide loans with flexible terms and lower interest rates to women entrepreneurs. Additionally, create financial literacy programs to help women understand how to manage their finances and access funding.

Offer training and education: Provide training programs and mentorship opportunities for women entrepreneurs to learn about business planning, marketing, and other important skills. Access to technology and digital literacy should also be a priority.

Create networking opportunities: Create opportunities for women entrepreneurs to connect with each other, industry experts, and potential customers. This can be done through local events, business fairs, and online communities.

Address cultural and societal barriers: Address societal and cultural barriers that can prevent women from starting businesses or accessing resources. This can include changing attitudes and beliefs about gender roles and supporting women’s empowerment.

Collaborate with local and international organizations: Collaborate with local and international organizations to bring attention to women entrepreneurs and provide them with support. Government agencies, non-profits, and corporate partners can all play an important role in supporting women entrepreneurs.

By implementing these recommendations, it is possible to create a supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh and help them grow their businesses and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

উদ্যোক্তা হওয়ার উপায় : রকমারি.কম এর প্রতিষ্ঠাতা মাহমুদুল হাসান সোহাগ


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