The South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (SAWES), with support from the U.S. Department of State and The Asia Foundation, organized a Public-Private Dialogue on the “State of access to finance by women entrepreneurs” on Monday, September 7, 2015, at The Daily Star Center. The Public Private Dialogue (PPD) was focus on the status of implementation of the Government’s access to finance commitments for women entrepreneurs through two sessions: 1) Government oversight of its financial access commitments for women entrepreneurs; and 2) Enabling environment for female staff and women entrepreneurs in financial institutions.
PPD participants included representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh Bank, Pubali Bank Ltd, EBL Bank, BRAC Bank, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh, and member of SAWES. Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mr. David Meale, U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, attended the dialogue as Chief Guest. Mr. Hafiz Mazumdar, Chairman, Pubali Bank Ltd., and Mr. Hasan Mazumdar, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation, Bangladesh attended as special guests. Mr. Amitava Chakraborty, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Commerce & Director General of WTO Cell, Ms. Rokia Afzal Rahman, President, Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, Ms. Salima Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), Ms. Nasreen Awal Mintoo, Founder President, Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh (WEAB), and Ms. Luna Shamsuddoha, Chair, Dohatec New Media; President, Bangladesh Women in Technology, and other prominent personnel attended the dialogue as panelists and discussants.
The Chief Guest, Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mr. David Meale, U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, said, “The US government and the Embassy is committed to continue effort to enabling environment for women’s participation in commercial activities and entrepreneurship, and governance. As Bangladesh continues to achieve an impressive growth, we all recognize the critical importance and significantly increasing women’s contribution to this country’s economic successes. There are numerous opportunities for which women’s fortune will continue to rise. Entrepreneurship and small business development are fundamental to sustain the balance of economic growth. I hope today our gathering here may help us exchanging ideas to address such challenges as access to finance and enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.”
SAWES is a platform for catalyzing activities to advance women’s entrepreneurship in South Asia and beyond. Since September 2012, The Asia Foundation and the U.S. Department of State have partnered on this innovative regional initiative to advance women’s entrepreneurship. The objectives of SAWES are to foster a South Asia regional network of women business associations and leaders to advance policies and share information, and to identify opportunities for regional cooperation.
About The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century—governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. In addition, our Books for Asia and professional exchanges are among the ways we encourage Asia’s continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving region of the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation works through a network of offices in 18 Asian countries and in Washington, DC. Working with public and private partners, the Foundation receives funding from a diverse group of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals. In 2014, we provided more than $108 million in direct program support and distributed textbooks and other educational materials valued at over $11 million.