New platform to address barriers of women-led businesses
The SME Foundation in partnership with the International Trade Centre has launched SheTrades Bangladesh Hub to address the barriers women face to access economic opportunities.
The hub was launched at an event in the capital on March 15, according to a press release.
This is the 13th hub under the ITC SheTrades Initiative, which has been established by the ITC to tackle the obstacles women experience while accessing economic opportunities.
SheTrades works to connect millions of women entrepreneurs to markets while promoting their full participation in international trade. It was also launched in Kenya, Nigeria, Argentina, Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Vietnam, South Africa, the Philippines, Gambia, and Mauritius.
Apart from receiving capacity-building and business and investment opportunities through the initiative, the hub in Bangladesh will benefit from institutional strengthening and gender mainstreaming services offered by the ITC.
The three-day launching event, workshops on visual communications for 50 Bangladeshi women-led businesses and SheTrades Outlook Validation were organised where stakeholders discussed results and policy recommendations derived from data collected from 19 public and private sector institutions.
"By equipping SheTrades Hub host institutions with the right set of technical skills and knowledge, we hope that they will design, tailor and implement their own programmes to address the specific needs of women-led businesses in their countries. This is why, the impact we make will be not only additive but also multiplicative," said Fiona Shera, director for sustainable and inclusive trade of the ITC, in the press release.
The SheTrades Bangladesh Hub will play a crucial role in supporting women-led businesses in the country and internationally, said Duncan Overfield, deputy development director of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK.
"The continued UK contribution represents our commitment to the programme, which spans across policy reforms and public and private sector partnerships for the benefit of women in business. We look forward to seeing women-led businesses and entrepreneurs participating in SheTrades Hub activities to achieve their potential."
Every year, the SME Foundation provides services to more than 15,000 SME entrepreneurs. More than 60 per cent of its constituents are women.
The services include training on product design development, product diversification, export readiness, digital marketing, business and financial management, product marketing, and buyer-seller and entrepreneur-bankers matchmaking events.
"We look forward to bringing these services to the SheTrades Bangladesh Hub," said Masudur Rahman, chairperson of the SME Foundation.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was also present at the event.