Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B), funded by UK Aid of the UK government jointly organized a workshop on “Innovative Fund for SME Financing in Bangladesh” at DCCI on 9 May, 2017. BFP-B has created a fund of 6 million Pound for the development of SMEs in Bangladesh.
Md. Arafat Hossain, Challenge Fund Manager, BFP-B highlighted the project. He said BFP-B is a UK Aid funded project and the organization has fund titled ‘Business Finance Challenge Fund’ of 6 million British pound and any Bangladeshi private sector firm including bank, non-banking financial institution, micro finance institution, companies providing advisory and other services to SMEs, NGO will have access to this fund as a grant. But the end beneficiary will have to be SMEs. The third round of this project is in progress and will end on June 30 this year. The project prefers women entrepreneurs and pro-poor SMEs in rural areas. ‘Business Finance Challenge Fund’ provides grant of up to 50% of the cost of innovative commercially driven project. The goal of this project as well as fund is to promote inclusive economic growth and to improve the income and livelihood opportunities for poor community in Bangladesh.
Senior Vice President of DCCI Kamrul Islam, FCA in his address of welcome said SME is the driving force of our economy. MSMEs accounts for around 70% of all enterprises in Bangladesh. He said limited access to finance is the biggest setback for SMEs. He also said innovative financing mechanism needs to be developed to enhance the SME growth of Bangladesh. Smart and innovative financing solutions against conventional financing tools could bring revolutionary change and supplement value to cement their base in macro economy.
Christopher August, Team Leader, BFP-B said for the innovative SME development and poverty alleviation this fund has been created. Bangladeshi rural entrepreneurs as well as SMEs are very innovative and diversified. He said the funding request must be for a specific, new and innovative business idea that will improve SMEs’ access to finance in Bangladesh.
DCCI Vice President Hossain A Sikder gave vote of thanks. DCCI Director Imran Ahmed, former Vice Presidents Absar Karim Chowdhury, M Abu Hurairah, former Directors Waqar Ahmad Choudhury, AKD Khair Mohammad Khan, Rafiqul Islam Khan, FCA, Convenor MS Siddique were present among others.