CIPE@Work – Working with Bangladeshi businesswomen to empower themselves

Since 2006, CIPE has supported the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), as it has grown into the leading voice of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. From humble beginnings in 2001, the organization now has 2,500 members across the country, served by a main office in Dhaka and several regional branch offices. In the past, barely one percent of women entrepreneurs and small businesses and were able to get bank loans, according to BWCCI’s research. Now, after BWCCI’s extensive advocacy with the Central Bank of Bangladesh, approximately million has been allocated specifically for loans to women entrepreneurs, without collateral and at low interest rates. To date, nearly million has been provided to over 3,000 women entrepreneurs, helping to create around 20,000 new jobs. In addition, all banks in Bangladesh must establish dedicated desks for women entrepreneurs, and banks must make at least five percent of their SME finance loans to women, according to Central Bank instructions.