A workshop was held on 12th November, 2016 at the premises of the Daily Star, where members of the Press, electronic, and online media were invited with the purpose of emphasising the role of media can play in promoting SME Development and Sustainability. The workshop was planned to enhance the capacity of journalists to report on SME-related issues including the scope of the SME sector in Bangladesh and the contribution of SMEs to the country’s economic development. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has been recognised by governments and development experts as a potential engine of economic growth and a major factor in promoting private sector development. SMEs play a particularly significant role in the economies of developing countries, such as Bangladesh, and hold great potential for poverty reduction. The value of newspapers in particular and the mass media in general as development agents has been well documented. The international donor and development agencies have acknowledged the importance of the utilisation of communication in development processes and have highlighted the impact of communication by the types of outcomes produced, including change in knowledge and attitude, behavioural change, empowerment and capacity building, coalition building and partnership, resource development, etc.
Visibility under INSPIRED has focused on the on-going needs for SME development and building awareness of the key issues relating to further SME development in Bangladesh, and how the expected impact of the various project interventions, plus the role of the Ministry of Industries and the European Union in supporting the private sector and SME development in Bangladesh can assist growth.
Mr. Ali Sabet, Team Leader of INSPIRED, opened the workshop with a presentation of the INSPIRED project achievements made during the project duration, Ms. Farzana Khan, Deputy General Manager of SME Foundation, made a presentation on “SME Foundation: Role and Activities in SME Development”, and Md. Ashraful Alam, Deputy General Manager of Bangladesh Bank, made a presentation on “Inclusive Finance Initiatives for Inclusive Growth”.
The workshop was attended by the Senior Secretary, Ministry of Industries Mr. Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan ndc as Chief Guest, who informed the assembled journalists that the Ministry was ready to place the SME Policy prepared by INSPIRED Component 1 before the cabinet in the next month and that furthermore, there are plans to start working on an SME act for Bangladesh which he expected to take another one or two years to complete.
Special Guest, Professor Momtaz Uddin Ahmed, Honorary Professor of Economics, Dhaka University also stressed the need for an SME act and made reference to the remaining anomalies within the definition of SMEs which need attention in order for all SMEs to benefit. He also stated that Banks and Financial Institutions need to be more SME –orientated in order to attract more entrepreneurs.
The workshop was designed for 30 participants but because of the interest generated more than that number attended and as a direct demonstration of interest generated articles.