Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh
Female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are lack behind in economic engagement, empowerment and leadership compared to male entrepreneurs. In Bangladesh women-owned and headed businesses is around 7%, which is negligible compared to the number of female population (82.3 million) of Bangladesh. This number is uncountable in the viable economic growth of the country. The CEOworld magazine’s entrepreneurship index analyzed 100 economies with a total gross domestic product of 95% based on six key indicators: innovation, competitiveness, labor skills, infrastructure, access to capital, and openness to business. Bangladesh scored only 12.99 out of 100. According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs for 2020, Bangladesh ranked at the bottom among 58 economies. Which means that Bangladesh was the toughest place for women to start a business. The social environment and administrative structure in Bangladesh make women’s entrepreneurship more challenging. But various studies reveal that women can make a remarkable contribution to entrepreneurial activity and economic growth by creating new jobs and improving the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with positive effects on reducing poverty and social exclusion.
The number of new women entrepreneurs has significantly increased in the past few years, which is having a positive impact at work, home and community.
According to Nazmul Islam study on Women Empowerment through Entrepreneurship Development in Bangladesh demonstrate that, Women Entrepreneurial development require:
- Access to finance and financial services
- Entrepreneurship education and training
- Access to market facilities
- Role of women business associations
- Family member engagement in women business
According to his research, the relationship between access to finance and WED (Women Entrepreneurial Development) is positive but it is not significant. He explains the reason behind this is the access to finance and financial services, including equal access to loans and financial advisory services, were not favorable to women entrepreneurs at the local level.
The relationship between access to market facilities and WED is positive, but not significant. According to Nazmul Islam research, there are reasons for this, such as access to industrial parks, market linkages with urban and local entrepreneurs, and affordable market locations that were not aligned with the interests of women entrepreneurs at the local level.
In his research, the direct effect of WBA on WED is 52%. Women Business Associations (WBAs) are effective because, for the development of entrepreneurship, they can facilitate public-private dialogue to simplify business processes, hold training sessions on productivity and quality, and organize zone-based trade fairs as well as lobby for policymakers to formulate women entrepreneurship policy frameworks.
The direct effect of family member engagement in women business (HEB) on WED is 56%. The study revealed that husband or relatives’ engagement in women business as family support can develop entrepreneurship. According to Shams Arefin, deputy secretary of research and development at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, access to finance is the biggest problem faced by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs. Typically, they rely on their relatives or their savings to start a business. So, Relatives can encourage women to take part in social work, support the freedom of choice.
Entrepreneurs require an external stimulus, supportive and sustaining environment that enhances their skills structure, competencies, creativity, and innovation. These help women entrepreneurs to exercise creativity and innovation, management and leadership capabilities and taking risks and harvesting growth. To support women entrepreneurs in their quest for success, our government and ecosystem development community should step up.