women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh in SMEs
women entrepreneurship definition:
Women Entrepreneurship refers to ownership and leasing of businesses by a woman. Women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh is not only a source of income generation for a woman but also 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 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 has 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 register a business
- Women often find it difficult to register their business.
- The registration process is too lengthy.
- However, most of the Pouroshovas of the country have opened One-Stop Services,
- Difficulties to apply for a trade license.
- Difficult to collect many papers demanded by authorities responsible
- Additional money claimed from women entrepreneurs
- longer time needed to obtain the license
- Do not apply due to long process fear
- Scared to go alone as a woman
- The scope of business is not so big
- An additional charge for a business license
- 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 the 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.
Advantages and disadvantages of becoming an entrepreneur
According to the respondents, women as entrepreneurs enjoy both advantages and disadvantages as well
Advantages of being an entrepreneur
- The flexibility of working hours
- Boundless financial opportunities
- Independence in financial decision making
- Flexibility to manage family responsibility
- Receiving respects 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 for the education and health expenses of children.
- Satisfaction with generating employment for others
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
- Entrepreneurship should be included in the educational curriculum from an early stage
- Skill training dedicated to women should include more women instructors, especially for the courses
- Credit facilities should be more gender-friendly. Bank officials should be given credible instructions on this matter.
- College and university students should be encouraged to have their own bank accounts
- 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
- 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.
- Sensitization of Bank officials and organizing awareness-raising programs at a different level are necessary to support women entrepreneurs
- The leadership of women’s chambers is necessary to support women to get access to bank officials, organizing their papers, managing a loan, receiving a guarantee, etc.
- 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 development of business leadership among women
5.Uplifting courage of the women through different trainings and seminars
6.Helping women entrepreneurs to 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,
- Hospitality and tourism.
Plan of actions can be taken for women entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh
- To increase women’s participation in the labor force as entrepreneurs and make it sustainable, the government needs to invest in child care 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 employer 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 secured.
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 demands and should focus on increasing the quantities of such training.
- The women-friendly market places 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 the government should develop proper profitable investment mechanisms for remittance earners so that they can invest it.
Long run initiatives (10 years)
- We have to put emphasis on 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 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 in 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.