Speakers at a survey launching ceremony on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) laid emphasis on the capacity building of both banks and financial institutions and women-run SMEs for tapping unmet demand for loans for women entrepreneurs.
They observed that bankers lack knowledge about women entrepreneurs' business and its expansion while women have little knowledge about finance and banking procedures.
The observation came during a question-answer session conducted in line with the launching ceremony on a report of International Finance Corporation (IFC) at a city hotel on Thursday.
SK Sur Chowdhury, Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, attended the function as the chief guest where Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit-Pierre Laramée and IFC Country Manager Ms Wendy Werner were present.
Managing directors of banks and financial institutions, representatives of women associations, chambers of commerce and donor communities were also present at the programme. Rajashree S. Paralkar, Manager, Operations, World Bank Group, made the closing remarks at the ceremony.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, conducted the survey on "Mapping the Market Potential and Accelerating Finance for Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh", highlighting the financing gap of more than 60 per cent as women-run SMEs hardly get loans from banks and non-banking financial institutions.
The survey also revealed that potential opportunities remain for the banks and NBFIs in facilitating finance to women SME entrepreneurs throughout the country for helping them in taking strategy in this regard.
IFC is set to launch the second phase of its programme to increase the capacity of both banks and financial institutions and women entrepreneurs and work for formulating necessary training materials as well as providing training in next three years, the ceremony was informed.
Highlighting tremendous growth of women SME entrepreneurs in the country, the deputy governor of the central bank said growth can only be ensured through ensuring their access to finance and market.
The Bangladesh Bank has launched different policies to put special emphasis on their access to finance, he said and called upon banks and financial institutions to come forward with suitable financial products for bridging the gap between the demand for credits and supply against it for women-run SMEs.
Highlighting the success story of Bangladesh in the development sector, the Canadian high commissioner said the Canadian government believes that there is still ample scope for women SME entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to grow.
He asserted the support of the Canadian government for development of Bangladesh and for women SME entrepreneurs particularly in the export market.