This year, 310 SME entrepreneurs are participating at the fair, exhibiting locally made jute products and other items
Industries Minister, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun on Saturday sought more low interest loans from banks and financial institutions to encourage entrepreneurship.
He said this speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the weeklong National SME (small and medium enterprises) Product Fair, organized by the SME Foundation at Dhaka's Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).
The industries minister said: “We should undertake large-scale projects for developing skills in the SME sector instead of just increasing funding flows to it. We should use modern technology, and increase the production capacity of the sector so that it can contribute to unemployment reduction in rural areas.”
He said around 12.2 million small entrepreneurs can be created by implementing various SME projects.
"I think, banks should provide low-interest loans—since small entrepreneurs do not possess enough capital to run business activities on their own—to reach the goal of sustainable development and create more employment.”
Speaking at the event as a special guest, Industries State Minister, Kamal Ahmed Majumder, also echoed the industries minister's demand for creating more new entrepreneurs at the rural level. "Otherwise, villages will remain underdeveloped.”
Requesting to bring down interest rates to 5% for SME entrepreneurs, Majumder said: "SME entrepreneurs must be given opportunities for displaying their products at all airports, and SME product fairs should be arranged in all the Bangladesh embassies abroad."
Industries Secretary Abdul Halim said that SME entrepreneurs cannot afford to rent showrooms at luxurious shopping malls and cannot sell their products in the international market as they cannot find the proper channels to do so.
“We try to assist them in this regard because they are contributing significantly to our export earnings. Sometimes, we send our entrepreneurs abroad to gain knowledge, expertise, skills, and training,” he added.
SME Foundation Chairperson, KM Habib Ullah, presided over the inaugural ceremony, while Industries Minister Humayun distributed prizes among the six best SME entrepreneurs of 2019: Tahrima Begum, Oli Ullah, Sumona Sultana Sathi, Mohiuddin, Nazma Khatun, and Arifa Yeasmin Moyuri.
Each person was given Tk1 lakh and a crest.
This year, 310 SME entrepreneurs are participating at the fair, exhibiting locally made jute products, food and agro-processing products, leather goods, electrical and electronics products, light engineering products, IT products, plastic and other synthetic goods, handicrafts, and design and fashion wear products.
The fair will remain open to all from 10am to 8pm every day until March 22.