The SME Foundation and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) jointly organized the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fair-2018 for the sixth time in the capital.
At the National SME Fair 2018, held April 4 to April 8, the participation of women entrepreneurs was higher than men. Of 268 participants, 183, i.e. 68%, were women. The SME Foundation organized this fair for the first time in 2012. At that time, a total of 85 entrepreneurs set up 100 stalls at the fair. Of them, 56 were women while 29 were men.
Official data revealed the participation of women entrepreneurs at the SME fair was 56% in 2013, 74% in 2014, 66% in 2016, and 61.5% in 2017.
Managing Director of the SME Foundation, M Safiqul Islam, said a large number of women entrepreneurs participate in the national SME fair every year as a new class of women entrepreneurs has developed in the country’s SME sector.
He said: "Women entrepreneurs are taking on all kinds of challenges to work in a male-dominated, competitive, and complex economic business environment."
Safiqul urged both the public and private sector to put more effort in increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in the SME sector as they are doing well in business.
"Women entrepreneurs have high potential as they are sincere and committed to their businesses," he added.
Overcoming various obstacles, the country's women entrepreneurs are leading in SME businesses leading to an increase in participants at SME fairs every year.
Tanbin Sweety, housewife, who was looking for suitable work to help her family, is now a successful entrepreneur and running two SME ventures, Sweety Jewelry and Fortune Handicraft, and has changed her fortune as well as her family's.
Sweety, resident of Mymensingh town said: "I started my business making only Tk5,000. But now the total capital of my business is Tk17 lakh. Fifteen workers, most of them women, are working in my factory."
Recently, Sweety took part in the national SME fair in the capital. She said the fair has created a unique opportunity to promote her products among both local and foreign buyers.
"I took part in the fair twice. The customer response was very good. I made a good profit from every fair," she said.
28 year-old Meherunessa Beauty, another SME entrepreneur who also participated in the fair, runs a boutique, Noborupa House, for the last 13 years in Saidpur upazila of Nilphamari district.
Beauty said: "I came to business to support my schoolteacher husband and I am doing quite well now. This fair is helping to promote my business."