9th SME Fair from Sunday

The ninth edition of the National SME Product Fair-2021 is set to kick off from Sunday, for promoting and selling products manufactured by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to local and foreign visitors.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun made the announcement at a press conference organized by the SME Foundation on Thursday,

According to the SME Foundation, they will organize the 8-day "9th National SME Product Fair-2021" along with the Industries Ministry.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the fair virtually as the chief guest.

The industries minister will hand over crests, certificates and cheques to four entrepreneurs who won the National SME Award 2021.

Like the previous editions, this year's fair will be held at BICC at Agargaon in the capital.

According to the foundation, 311 SME entrepreneurs from 12 sectors will take part in this year's fair.

Humayun said that 311 entrepreneurial organizations will display their products in 325 stalls, where 60% of entrepreneurs will be women.

The SME Foundation said that the 12 sectors include light engineering, electrical & electronics, plastics, ICT, leather, jute, food and agri processing, herbal/organic, craft, fashion designing, jewelery, and others.

There will also be a secretariat of SME Foundation, media center, blood donation center, meeting booth, stalls of various organizations like BITAC, BSTI, BSCIC, BCIC, BSEC, JDPC, BCSIR, to present themselves in front of the visitors, he added.

There will also be stalls for platinum, gold, silver, and other co-sponsors.

According to the National Industrial Policy 2016, priority sectors like agro-processing industries, agro-machineries, ICT, leather and leather goods, light engineering, jute and jute goods, plastics, crafts, jewelery, toys and other industries will get preferences.

As always, there will be no stalls of foreign or imported products, said the Industries Minister.

Moreover, four seminars on financing mechanisms, women entrepreneur development, technology development and the 4IR, and cluster development will be organized during the 8-day fair.

The industries minister said the role of the SME sector in economic development and job creation is immense. SMEs of the country are producing many advanced and quality products.

But because of poor marketing facilities, there is no way for them to display and sell their products. Entrepreneurs are losing out on profits by selling them through middlemen, he added.

Responding to a question, Humayun said that if the Omicron variant outbreaks, the decision on fair will be taken as per the recommendation of the national committee.

In response to another question, he said that at present there is no need for a separate bank for the SME sector.

According to the policy of Bangladesh Bank, certain banks are disbursing loans from stimulus packages.

Responding to another question, he said that work is underway to increase the capacity of the SME Foundation. If necessary, the ministry will approve refinancing and set up a district-based sales centre.

State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder said that the SME sector is playing a vital role in creating employment and contributing to the national economy.

This sector is playing a role in achieving the national development goals. The contribution of this sector to the GDP is 25%, which is the target of 32% in 2024, he added.

The SME fair is playing an important role in the promotion of the SME products and also playing a vital role in increasing competitiveness, skill development, and new entrepreneur creation, he added.

In a response to a question, Md Mafizur Rahman, managing director of the SME Foundation said that the foundation is working to bring some diversification in this fair. This time some other sectors will be given priority over boutiques or apparel products.

Dr Masudur Rahman, chairperson of the SME Foundation, was also present at the press conference.

According to the SME Foundation, so far, 1561 entrepreneurs have sold products worth Tk21.88 crore and received orders worth Tk36.50 crore in the last eight fairs.

In the latest National SME Fair 2020,294 entrepreneurs participated and they sold products worth Tk4.95 crore and received orders for products worth Tk6.38 crore.

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