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Better Bangladesh Foundation SME Digital Summit – 2020 ends

The country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector needs policy support from the government to create more employment and thus boost its contribution to the economy, said experts at a webinar today.

The webinar titled BBF SME Digital Summit 2020 was held on Zoom Wednesday, organised by Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF) in association with BBF-Global with the aim to focus on promoting SMEs for sustainable economic growth in Bangladesh.

Image may contain: 14 people, including ফারহানা এ. রহমান, Miti Sanjana, Istiaque Doza, Mahmud Faisal and Sheikh Sazzad Rashid Shumon

Policy makers have been formulating policies and designing programs to develop small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a view to create jobs and achieve inclusive growth.

But while the programs have helped increase the number of enterprises, growth of SMEs continues to face barriers to growth. As a result, microenterprises predominate and SMEs contribution to employment remains below potential. Partial implementation of reforms explain some of the underperformance, but frictions in strategy design also played an important role. Sustaining current reforms is, therefore, not sufficient to achieve inclusive growth.

SME Foundation Managing Director Shafiqul Islam said at the programme that enhanced employment would be ensured if SME sector is developed properly. He underscored the need for adopting strategies based on the development of the SME sector so that more employment could be created, which would play a vital role in revamping the country’s economy in the post-pandemic era.

Planning Minister MA Mannan, who was the chief guest at the programme, ensured all-out policy support from the government in this regard. He appreciated the great  efforts  taken by Better Bangladesh Foundation and its Founder Prof. Masud A. Khan. Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was among the special guests.

Brac Bank Limited Managing Director Selim RF Hussain delivered the key-note speech at the programme moderated by Masud A Khan, chairman and CEO of Better Bangladesh Foundation. Mr. Hussain underscored  in his keynote speech  that Digital technologies have potential to
boost SMEs productivity and growth and economies are rapidly digitalizing, thus SMEs need to embrace digital solutions to compete and survive.

Therefore, for SMEs to be effective engines of inclusive growth, a rethinking of the SME development strategy is needed that makes SMEs’ digital transformation a priority.

BASIS Senior Vice President Farhana A Rahman, SBK Tech Ventures Founder Sonia Bashir Kabir, Ayat Foundation CEO Nusrat Feroz Aman, BBF Global CEO Rafiq Khan, BBF Global MD Sazzad Rashid and Channel-I Programme Manager Raju Alim were among the panel discussants.

Other speakers at the webinar included Mantasha Ahmed, president of the Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh; Barrister Miti Sanjana, an advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court and Sk Md Tarikul Islam, a representative of UK-based Hoda Vasi Chowdhury and Co.

Brac Bank Ltd joined the virtual summit as gold partner, Daraz Group as second gold partner and SME Foundation as strategic partner of the event. The Daily Star and Channel-I were media partners while BNO Lubricant, Assure Group, Shabkisu.com  joined as corporate partners. BBF World News joined online portal partner.

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