Dhaka, Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Credit plays vital role in women-led SMEs' success

By AKM Kamal Uddin Chowdhury
DHAKA, Jan 12, 2018 (BSS) - Meherun Nessa Bina, proprietor of the Bina enterprise, has been able to lead herself to the status of an economically independent women by dint of her relentless efforts since the day she has entered the business world 27 years ago.

Although very small in number, but at least 160 employees have been working at her dress making garment factory, which she has established by taking supports form her family and also from the women friendly business policy of the government.

The number of women is nearly half of the total population in Bangladesh, which is an essential part of the nation's human resources. For this reason, engaging women in the income-generating activities have now become a major concern for the policy makers.

In recent years, like other developing countries of the world, Bangladesh has been focusing on women. For including them in the mainstream economic activities, Bangladesh Bank has taken a number of initiatives to ensure access of women entrepreneurs to financial facilities on easy terms and conditions.

The Banking sector is providing all sorts of supports to expand the business of Meherun Nessa Bina. Now her business is growing and performing well. She has taken around Taka 50 lakh as Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) loans from Eastern Bank Limited and Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited to run her garment business.

"In 2000, I have no money to start a business. But I had a 10-year experience on sewing and started a business by investing only Taka 5,000 through taking loans from my friend. Later, I set up a small garment factory. Over the years, my factory has grown and now around 150 women are working in my village for producing decorated clothes," said Bina, who was first involved in her mother's business from 1990.

"In my factory, I am producing traditional clothes, including sari, Panjabi, women wares and household materials. I am supplying products to different corporate clients, like Arong," she said adding that she had to face many problems for capital.

In 2004, she borrowed Taka three lakh from Janata Bank Limited, which was a turning point for expanding her business. "Now my business is growing and performing well. I am contributing not only to the local market but also the international market through one of my corporate clients-Arong," she said.

The proud Bina with a beaming smile said she has been creating employment opportunities in both town and rural areas as she has also nine permanent workers in the city. She said she earns a significant amount of profit every year to the greater benefit of further expanding her business. "I also contribute to social activities in the village by distributing grant for women's marriages and their medical treatments," she said.

According to the latest data of Bangladesh Bank, all banks and Financial Institutions (FIs) have disbursed Taka 1,23,046.13 crore SME loans in January-September period in 2017 which was Taka 21,853.99 crore up compared to the same period in 2016.

During the period, banks and FIs have disbursed Taka 3,460.35 crore to the women entrepreneurs. From the total of the disbursement amount, banks and FIs have disbursed Taka 551.38 crore to manufacturing sector, Taka 2,103.96 crore to the service sector and Taka 805.01 crore to trade sector.