Funding crisis curbs high potential of women entrepreneurs: Experts

The two-day women entrepreneurs’ summit began on Wednesday in Dhaka to facilitate networking between local and global entrepreneurs

TBS report

November 24, 2022, 09:45 pm

Last modified: November 24, 2022, 09:50 pm

Representational Image. Photo: Mumit M

Representational Image.  Photo: Mumit M

Representational Image. Photo: Mumit M

Enterprising women entrepreneurs in the country are coming up with innovative ideas to do business in various sectors but they fail in most cases due to lack of funds, experts and leading women entrepreneurs said at an event.

Most of these women entrepreneurs do not know how to develop their ideas necessary to get funds or loans from financiers, they said at the first International Women Entrepreneurs’ Summit 2022, jointly organized by Bangladesh -India Business Council (BIBC) and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) in the capital on Thursday.

The two-day summit began on Wednesday at the Radisson Blu Water Garden hotel aimed at facilitating networking between local and global entrepreneurs.

Timothy Tsui, chief executive officer of Loki Group, said that startups need to focus on three things to develop their business plan: solid plans, market analysis, and potential products with demand.

Managing Director of Orion Pharma Ltd, Zareen Karim, said, “The market size of the pharmaceutical industry is as large as $3.64 billion. After the RMG sector, the pharma sector generates the highest revenue in the country. So, the scope is huge for women and small businesses.”

“APIs [Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients] and Excipients are used to make medicine here. We have to import most of the API because manufacturing requires huge investment. But excipients do not require much investment and can be made here. So, small entrepreneurs can enter this area.”

Women entrepreneurs also have scope to enter other areas such as primary and secondary packaging. Although it is mostly a male-dominated field, women still have scope for business, she added.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) Secretary, Mohsina Yasmin, said the government has a scheme for funding and training women’s startups. There are also various projects with development partners such as the World Bank. Many women benefit from it.

The Managing Director of SBK Tech Ventures, Sonia Bashir Kabir, said, “Startups need to work on creating unique and innovative ideas about businesses that have market potential. There are also several startup firms that can help fulfill the businesses’ legal requirements. Their help will help in obtaining funds.”

During the keynote presentation, Arif Khan, vice-chairman of Shanta Asset Management, tried to bring out solutions for financial access.

According to data from Bangladesh-based management consulting firm, LightCastle Partners, $94 million in financing went to startup businesses in the first nine months of this year.

In the first six months, 94% of investments were made from abroad but in the third quarter, local participation increased significantly, which is a positive note for the country.

As the chief guest at the event, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, “The women of our country have come a long way. There is almost equal participation in education, with women leading the way in many areas.”

“Women are no longer lagging behind in any field of work, performing their duties efficiently. It has now been proven that women can work equally as men. They are now equally contributing to development of the country,” he said, adding that changes in mindset are needed to uplift women who are still lagging behind due to lack of opportunities.


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