A total of four consultation meetings were held on relevant themes and topics with concerned stakeholders where the draft synopsis compiled by one of the INSPIRED Project senior short term experts, Dr. Monzur Hossain, with the support of Prof. Dr. Momtaz Ahmed Uddin, were reviewed for comments and detailed feedback.In this step, the aim was to come up with the confirmation of SME development vision and analysis, as well as identification of strategic priorities.
The strategic areas that were consulted during the four meetings were on improving / strengthening:
- Institutional Arrangement to Facilitate SMEs’ Access to Finance
- SME financing and facilitation of a dedicated credit services to SMEs
- Innovations in SME financing
- Refinancing schemes to facilitate credit to SMEs with subsidized rates
- Fiscal Incentives for SMEs
- Competitiveness of SMEs to gain access in both local and foreign markets
- Access to potential and niche markets for SMEs
- Support services for SMEs
- Cluster development and business network for SMEs
- ICT application, E-commerce, Online support, outsourcing facilities and other technologies for SMEs
- The design and development of tailor-made business training programmes For SMEs
- Entrepreneurial learning (EL) programmes
- Women entrepreneurship development
- IT outsourcing and free-lancing
- Legal and regulatory framework for SMEs
- Institutional framework and coordination
- SME statistics and surveys
The main stakeholders who participated in these consultative meetings included Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, National Board of Revenue; Access to Information (a2i) Programme; Export Promotion Bureau; Board of Investment; Bangladesh Planning Commission; Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) ; Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI); Dhaka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DCCI); Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI); Women Chambers and Associations: BWCCI, AGWEB, WEAB, CWCCI, BFWE;
National Association of Small and Cottage Industries in Bangladesh (NASCIB); Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD); Bangladesh Employers Federations; Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET); Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB); National Skills Development Council (NSDC); ILO Country Office for Bangladesh; Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM); Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BSS); Business Intermediary Organisations; etc.
Based upon the input from the consultative meetings, the draft Strategy will soon be drafted and put to the Advisory Committee for further review on the defined vision, strategic and priority goals, as well as formulation of the framework action plan, leading to the finalisation of the draft Strategy for further validation and calibration, which would then result in the finalisation of the Strategy & Action Plan.