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Women’s Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh . WEP Workshop, Bali 20 February 2014 . 1. Women’s participation in the economy . 2. Barriers to women’s entrepreneurship . 3. ECON’s WE development experience in Bangladesh. 4. Lessons learned: Why it worked.

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slide1

Women’s Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

WEP Workshop, Bali

20 February 2014

slide2

1

Women’s participation in the economy

2

Barriers to women’s entrepreneurship

3

ECON’s WE development experience in Bangladesh

4

Lessons learned: Why it worked

rising female labour force participation particularly in services and manufacturing
Rising female labour force participation*, particularly in services and manufacturing
  • Female labour force participation (LFP) has doubled since the mid ‘90s, but is still low, at 26%
    • Particularly steep rise for young women
    • Anomalously low no. of women in agriculture (in South Asia context)
  • Garments industry has been vital in creating social change, but is a relatively small contributor to overall rise in female employment
  • Major industries experiencing growth in female LFP:
    • Education: +7%
    • Health and social work: +29%
    • Manufacturing: +6.5%
slide5

1

Women’s participation in the economy

2

Barriers to women’s entrepreneurship

3

ECON’s WE development experience in Bangladesh

4

Lessons learned: Why it worked

norms and knowledge barriers are impeding women s entrepreneurship
Norms and knowledge barriers are impeding women’s entrepreneurship
  • Social norms regarding women’s work and earnings
    • E.g. for 1 in 8 women who earn a wage, someone else decides how that wage will be spent
    • 48% of Bangladeshi women say their husbands alone make decisions about important matters such as their health, work, and travel
  • Women tend to be excluded from ownership of property and assets, making formal-sector financing difficult to obtain
  • Lack of networking connections to district-level value chains and platforms for interacting with policymakers
  • Lack of experience and knowledge regarding:
    • Business development: business entry, finding customers/suppliers, maintaining accounts, developing high-value products based on market awareness
    • Government services and regulations: incentives being offered to women entrepreneurs, licensing requirements, etc.
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1

Women’s participation in the economy

2

Barriers to women’s entrepreneurship

3

ECON’s WE development experience in Bangladesh

4

Lessons learned: Why it worked

results increasing recognition of platforms and provision of public services
Results: Increasing recognition of platforms, and provision of public services
  • DWBF membership increased from 175 to 700 in 2013
  • Senior Joint Convener of the DWBF Sylhet selected as one of the Directors of the Bangladesh SME Foundation.
  • Recognition of DWBF Rangpur as the first ever government-approved Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry at district level
  • Collateral-free bank loans extended to DWBF members
  • Allocations for women owned businesses in City Corporation markets
  • Members of DWBFs recognized with national-level awards for entrepreneurship
    • 4 members won “Best Woman Entrepreneur” from the SME Foundation
    • 3 members won awards from Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce
  • Inclusion of DWBF members in policy meetings
two vignettes role of technology and emerging sectors
Two vignettes: Role of technology and emerging sectors

Mobile Phones in Kerala

Solar panels in Bangladesh

  • The Market:
  • Hundreds of fishing villages along 590 km coastline
  • 600 k tons annual production
  • Fish primary source of protein
  • 5-8% of total catch wasted due to inability to sell in local market
  • Effects after mobile phones (1997):
  • Sales in non-local markets rose from 0% to 35% -> no wastage
  • Profits rose 8%
  • Consumer prices fell 4%
  • Formation of women’s cooperative for assembly and sale of solar panels, batteries, etc.
  • Resulted in women’s increasing decision-making power in the community, greater mobility, and business and technical skills, alongside added income
  • Husbands started to share in household tasks once women were working in the cooperative
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1

Women’s participation in the economy

2

Barriers to women’s entrepreneurship

3

ECON’s WE development experience in Bangladesh

4

Lessons learned: Why it worked

recognition of unmet needs and buy in from influential policymakers facilitated reforms
Recognition of unmet needs, and buy-in from influential policymakers facilitated reforms
  • Private and public service providers were looking to partner with stronger associations, such as the DWBFs
    • Bangladesh Bank Governor endorsed the association-led model for collateral-free loans
    • Commercial banks were interested in loaning to women entrepreneurs, but could not find the right model
  • Leadership development and mentorship at the district level
    • Vital link between the local and the national level
  • TAF was able to find influential individuals to champion the cause:
    • Bangladesh Bank Governor; RokiaAfzal, President of BFWE and ex-Caretaker Govt. adviser; Finance Minister’s Office; FBCCI Vice President
  • Implementation under the umbrella of the ECONtheme helped gain support from male leaders
future outlook for women s entrepreneurship interventions
Future Outlook for women’s entrepreneurship interventions
  • Capacity building of the associations: basic organizational management skills
    • Regular meetings, managing subscriptions, recording meeting minutes
  • Replication of technology-based networking in more districts
  • Increased focus on ICT-based businesses, rather than traditional products
    • ICT Secretary is very interested in creating employment for women through freelancing work
  • Strengthen the capacity of associations to collect and disseminate market information
  • Ensuring the sustainability of women’s associations by creating income-earning opportunities
    • Utilizing private-sector CSR to support associations