Industry

Number of women entrepreneurs’ rising

DHAKA, May 23, 2017 (BSS) - Tania Wahab dreamt of becoming an employer instead of being an employee after completion of her study. She formally started running after her dream in 2005 and now there are 40 regular workers serve in her tannery business in the city's Hazaribagh area.

Tania started her business when she was a student of the Institute of Leather Engineering and Technology under Dhaka University. After ending education, she fully engaged herself in manufacturing and marketing of different goods made of leather.

"I also did job for a very short period and it was merely just to gather experience," she said.

Now she runs two business houses--one is based on technical and another one is online based 'TAN'. The first one works for supplying gift items to corporate clients while 'TAN' is engaged in marketing leather goods like bags, shoes and sandals. She exports leather goods in Canada and Sweden.

Earlier, she used to make only leather goods. But with the passage of time, artificial leather, jute and fabrics are being used to make goods like cover of diary, conference bag, wallets and gift items.

Recalling her sweet memories as a woman entrepreneur, she said, "I was selected for the best SME Entrepreneurship Award in 2008. With the invitation of International Trade Center, I also participated at Mifel Fair in Italy."

In 2011, Tania went to the United States with a scholarship programme where 19 women entrepreneurs from 19 countries attended. She received honorary citizenship certificate from Pensacola city governor.

"There are many institutions to help, if someone proceeds with proper plan to become an entrepreneur. For example, Bangladesh Bank provides loan to women at 10 percent interest rate. But the way is not easy as the new entrepreneurs do not get support without having family history in business.

However, success may come, if someone is determined to this end," she said.

About her future plan, she said, "I want to establish the TAN as one of the best brands both at home and abroad for bags and shoes."

Like Tania, Taslima Miji also studied in Dhaka University. She worked as a journalist for some time after her Masters Degree in Social Science in 2001. Later, she had also run computer hardware business.

"In 2015, I thought that I should have set up a brand shop. And since then I started work with 'Gutipa' having a factory in city's Mirpur industrial area," said Taslima.

Elaborating on 'Gutipa', she said it is an online-based shop where she sells different items like shoe, sandal and wallet. Currently women entrepreneurs are doing good business, she said adding that their performance should have been far better.

About the new comers in business, she said, "None can help directly in one's business. Everyone has to do his or her own part and there is no alternative to hard working. For our (women) freedom, we need economic emancipation at first."

Like Tania Wahab and Taslima Miji, many women have established business houses with self-initiative and created job opportunities for others. As a result, according to the SME Foundation, the number of women entrepreneurs is rising day-by-day.

This year 62 percent out of the total participants in the SME fair were women entrepreneurs'.

"In the last 10 years, SME foundation helped as many as two lakh people to establish business and of them one lakh and twenty thousand were women entrepreneurs," said Planning, Inspection and Evaluation Officer at the SME Foundation.

Managing Director of SME Foundation S M Shaheen Anwar said, "We want to work with the entrepreneurs hand in hand. We want to bring all entrepreneurs' under one umbrella aimed at providing them training so that they can contribute to national development."

"Earlier, a woman tries to run enterprises to help their families or husbands. But now-a-days, they take venture to become economically self-reliant. In terms of quality, the women entrepreneurs' are now doing far better than anytime past and their number is also rising," he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)