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Press Release For Today (Sunday), Meeting with Cittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CWCCI.
Press Release

SME Foundation will do everything possible for the empowerment of the women entrepreneurs
-------------- Mr. Aftab ul Islam.

SME Foundation chairperson Mr. Aftab ul Islam said, too many hurdles are placed in the way of small and medium 'Entrepreneurs' which would be removed very soon. The present Govt. is very much keen and sincere to ensure the country's development through developing our Small & Medium Enterprises. The Govt. has taken care of this sector in it's priority list and looking into the matters related for boosting up the SMEs as well as SME sectors, he noticed.
While discussing with a 21 member delegation headed by Ms Monowara Hakim Ali, president of the Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI) at the SME Foundation office today (Sunday), Mr. Aftab ul Islam said, SME Foundation will do everything possible for the empowerment of the women entrepreneurs. Managing Director of SME Foundation Dr. Momtaz Uddin Ahmed was also present on the occasion. Among them there were a fruitful discussion related to the issues of SME development. They also have had common interaction about their SME programmes, activities and achievements.
The SME Foundation chief Mr. Aftab ul Islam said , the present govt. is very much sincere in SMEs development. SME Foundation of Bangladesh would fast-track a credit-wholesaling programme to give financial support to small entrepreneurs. He told the CWCCI delegation that SME Foundation has been emphas-ising to ensure an easy credit access for SME entrepreneurs. The number of small entrepreneurs without access to credit is large, He said. We have also a plan to set up a SME bank so that entrepreneurs can get loans at ease terms and a low interest rate.
He said, Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of the economy in countries like Bangladesh. where as, SMEs suffer from common constraints such as lack of capital, difficulties in procuring raw materials, lack of access to relevant business information, low technological capabilities, bureaucratic procedures, and regulations that generate market distortions.
The SME Foundation chairperson said, there are many banks still unwilling to deal with the SME entrepreneurs, driven by a common misunderstanding that the entrepreneurs might fail to refund the loans. But I believe, we have to change our attitude toward SMEs and help them grow to transform the economic status of the country,” he added. Answering to the delegation members Mr. Aftab said , we are trying to arrange a handsome fund from other sources and we get that we will start a credit wholesaling progra-mme in full force. There will be a SME financing "Fair" on December 8th with a aim to make our dream a success, he expressed with hope.

President of the CWCC Monowara Hakim Ali said , a majority of our small and medium industry entrepreneurs specially the women belong to the lower middle class. They are hard workers, innovators, and challenge-takers, but cannot get funding from commercial banks due to their inability to provide collaterals. For the first time, CWCCI has established a separate SME Bank with a view to ensure easy loan for the women entrepreneurs.
Ms. Monowara Hakim Ali urged help and all sorts of co-operation from the SME Foundation and said the issue can be settled through good understanding and persuasion among the government and the entrepreneurs and trade bodies should involve in the process so that whole thing can be done in a amicable manner rather than annoying any quarter. But, inrder to develop the country as well as the economy ' women Entrepreneurship Development , upholing women, freedom to execute our own plans, and ensure financial assistance. ' is a must, " she added.
Professor Momtaz Uddin Ahmed, managing director of the foundation, was also described the mission , vision and activities briefly to the delegation and said that developed countries improved their conditions by developing their SME sector.

Among the CWCCI leaders, Gulshan Ara, Hkaleda Akhtar, Nasreen Sultana, Tanzima Ali Rupa, Manjulika Chakma, Nazma Akhtar, Jubaira Baki, kazi Tuhina Akhtar, Roslin Penheiro, Savina Ekram Shiraji, Jahan Ara Abedin, Nadira Begam, Manjulika Chakma and Baby shan were also present in the discussion meeting.


Nurul Alam
SME Foundation