State Minister for Youth and Sports Biren Sikder said women could be used as the most powerful driver of economic growth by increasing their participation in labour force.
“If we can encourage women entrepreneurs and increase female labour force participation, it will lead to an additional 1% of GDP growth in Bangladesh,” the state minister said while addressing a discussion on Challenges and Prospects in Bangladesh.
IFIC Bank and Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurship Bangladesh (AGWEB) jointly organised the discussion, marking the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) held at IFIC Bank auditorium in the city. This year the United Nations observed the day on November 19.
The minister also suggested that women entrepreneurs should celebrate the WED to encourage and support and build networks among female business owners nationally and internationally.
Acting president of The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Mohammad Shafiul Islam said: “To encourage women entrepreneurs, the first women’s entrepreneur’s day was celebrated in New York. We are not lagging behind, but still we need to encourage more financial investments to empower our women entrepreneurs.”
Emphasising the need for financial knowledge, in the keynote paper, AGWEB president Mousumi Islam highlighted financial institutions behaviour and approaches, skill-based training, complexity of loan procedures, lack of networking opportunity and knowledge about business planning to move forward.
She said: “It becomes very hard for the women with little or no literacy to do the complicated paper work for accessing SME credit without help.”
“Banks should assess women’s loan applications based on their business potential on priority basis,” she added.
Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Kazi Akhtar Uddin Ahmed and Managing Director and CEO of IFIC Bank Shah Alam Sarwar also spoke on this occasion as special guests.