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SMEs need support to accelerate economy

Rifat Islam
09 Dec 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 09 Dec 2021 01:18:54
SMEs need support to accelerate economy
Visitors check out products in different stalls at the SME fair in the capital on Wednesday – Rajib Dhar

Small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) sought support over branding, financing and resolve knowledge gap aiming to boost economy of the country.

Several entrepreneurs came up with the demand on Wednesday while talking to The Business Post at the ongoing ninth edition of the National SME Product Fair that will conclude on

December 12.

The motive to arrange the fare was not only selling products but also to display quality of SMEs products and develop business network among the entrepreneurs, said Md Mafizur Rahman, Managing Director of SME Foundation, said.

"Our SMEs produce quality products, but fail to operate proper marketing due to shortage of knowledge and finance," he added.

According to the SME foundation, SMEs contribute 25 per cent of the national GDP and provide 80 per cent employment in the industrial sector.

Fatema Islam, owner of “Purbasha”, a Khadhi clothing producer, claimed that her company makes products that compete with top brands. But due to scarcity of finance and human resources, she is unable to turn her enterprise into a brand.

"I work at the grassroots level, from material sourcing to selling. So, I don’t get time to expand my business in other regions of the country as my hometown is in Cumilla," she added.

On the other hand, many customers complained that most of the times they feel reluctant to purchase SME products due to their low quality and design.

Several enterprise owners complained that shortage of finance is a significant barrier to develop their products, and getting a loan in the Bangladeshi corporate banking system is a hassle they cannot overcome.

In reply, SME Foundation MD Mafizur said that this problem emerges as entrepreneurs do transactions on their personal bank accounts or in cash rather than in the name of their company’s account.

"Entrepreneurs have to understand that loan is not a grant. And banks provide loans to get benefits from the borrowers. But we are working to resolve these issues by providing trainings and informing them about the system and develop their eligibility to avail funds," he added.

"The government announced a package of Tk 20,000 crore for SMEs. But entrepreneurs must have documents like trade licenses, account statements, bank records for applying for a loan.", he stated.