Women entrepreneur: Disregarded portion of our economy
Women Entrepreneur is a person who accepts challenging roles to meet her personal needs and becomes financially independent. A strong desire to do something positive is an inbuilt quality of entrepreneurial women, who is capable of contributing values in both family and social life. With the advent of media, women are aware of their own rights and also able to fight for it. Women are indulged in every line of business from micro business segment to large business. Women-owned businesses span the entire range of business life cycle and business success, whether the measuring sticks is revenue, employment or longevity.
Nowadays, entrepreneurship has been regarded as one of the prominent and emerging career choices for women over the world, especially in developing economies. In today's digitized era, women own business enterprises are growing at a geometrical progression. In recent years, like other developing countries of the world, Bangladesh has been focusing on the development of women entrepreneurs by different programs and policies.
Women entrepreneurs are significantly growing day by day across the globe and their numbers have been doubled compared to the last decades. In Bangladesh, rural-urban and educated-uneducated women are entering into the domain of entrepreneurship and this growth phenomenon has been intrinsically fuelled by the advent of information technology (IT). Nowadays women entrepreneurs can easily promote and market her products with the help of social media, precisely 'Facebook', Twitter, Messenger, Imo etc. US based entrepreneurial research institute, Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) has published their GEI (Global Entrepreneurship Index) 2018 report, where Bangladesh has been ranked as 134th position with 12 per cent GEI.
Finance is one of the tools to empower women entrepreneurs. Often sources of funding are considered as one of the main challenges for the women entrepreneurship development. To promote female entrepreneurs, as a Central Bank, Bangladesh Bank has declared supportive measures and guidelines to the commercial and specialized bank so that women can easily avail financial assistance from banks at a lower cost.
Bangladesh Government has already adopted multiple initiatives to boost up the women entrepreneurial activities with the help of Bangladesh Bank and other financial organizations till date. The women entrepreneur activities is increased significantly as Bangladesh Bank report exhibits, the amount of women entrepreneurial loan rose to 4772.99 crore taka upto the year 2017. The amount was 5345.46 crore in 2016, 4226.99 crore in 2015, 3938.75 crore in 2014, 3346.55 crore in 2013, 2244.01 crore in 2012, 2048.45 crore in 2011 and 1804.98 crore in 2010.
A survey report shows that, 19.20 per cent of all firms have some female participation in ownership or have a female manager in Bangladesh. Women are projected to control nearly 75 per cent of consumer discretionary spending worldwide by 2028. To support the rise of women to positions of real decision making, we need to change the social obstacles and ancient customs. It is real time to make people realize that women business owners are not restricted to small rural entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneurship has been recognized as an important source of economic growth by creating new jobs for themselves and providing society with different solutions for management, organization and business problems. They still represent a minority of all entrepreneurs, facing gender-based barriers to starting and growing their businesses, such as discriminatory property, matrimonial and inheritance laws and cultural practices, lack of access to formal finance mechanisms, limited mobility and access to information and networks, etc.
Women entrepreneurship can make a particularly strong contribution to the economic well-being of the family and communities, poverty reduction and women's empowerment. Bangladesh is a developing country and the women of Bangladesh are deprived and discriminated for many reasons. But it is an optimistic turn of events that they are now in a position to empower themselves. Now, women entrepreneurs are increasing day by day over male entrepreneur as different survey reflects.
Women are often better at building long-term relationships than men. Lasting relationships benefit a business tremendously, as much as can be achieved with trust between employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, government, etc. They are more likely to understand the customer's perspective. Since entrepreneurship is a critical driver of innovation and economic growth, fostering entrepreneurship is an important part of economic growth strategies in many local and national governments around the world.
Women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh has witnessed many a transformation. Many uneducated women today are enthusiastically raising family incomes through micro ventures and reinvesting their earnings in their families and communities. These women also inspire other women in their localities to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. Even though they do not undertake their businesses at a commercial level, they are breaking barriers and inspiring other women to become self-reliant.
The majority of women are not only poor but also not getting any support from financial institution or other organizations. Women entrepreneurs, who have accepted the challenges of life and have emerged as leaders in the socioeconomic development in Bangladesh, earn for themselves and for their families or contribute towards the socio-political development. Their contribution towards the family, the society, overall the country is remarkable. Bringing women to engage in income-generating activities have now become a major concern for the policy makers. Empowering women economically is a fundamental and unavoidable part of development.
Like other developing nations, Bangladesh has been focusing on the most underprivileged group in the society. Realization that a society cannot afford to waste half of its human resources by discrimination on grounds of sex has gradually dawned.
This increasing awareness on the part of the government has led to the adoption of national policies to facilitate a development process involving women in all spheres particularly in economic activities focusing especially on entrepreneurship development. So that in tomorrow's Bangladesh we would able to see the women entrepreneurs as equal ratio of population.
The writer is banker