National Planning

Towards a National SME Development Strategy for Bangladesh

The main thrust of the INSPIRED Programme is the development of a National SME Development Strategy and Action Plan for Bangladesh. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Industries, the INSPIRED Technical Assistance team, together with the SME Foundation, is therefore currently in the process of developing this National SME Strategy and Action Plan. Both these national documents will cover the period 2015-2020.

The need for an integrated SME development plan and implementation plan is seriously needed, as voiced by Md. Farhad Uddin, Project Director, INSPIRED and Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Industries, at the INSPIRED Strategic Advisory Committee meeting on 29th October 2014. He said, “We must formulate a national plan for SME development that looks at the sectors in a comprehensive manner and takes into account the needs of all SMEs.” The National SME Development Strategy for Bangladesh, a key outcome of Bangladesh INSPIRED, began in 2013 with a series of studies and a nationwide survey of manufacturing SMEs which were required to generate some of the information needed to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of SMEs to Bangladesh including factors acting as constraints on the sector and its growth aspirations for the future. A significant step forward has been achieved in 2014, with a review of all relevant Bangladesh plans, policies and strategies having been conducted, to advise and inform the production of the National SME Strategy and Action Plan 2015. This review identified all Government of Bangladesh (GoB) Policy Areas, whether specifically stated, alluded to or suggested by the various national documents. This has allowed for the preparation of a paper which is a major contribution to the SME Strategy, which addresses barriers to SME growth and opportunities for growth. The new National SME Development Strategy 2015 will be accompanied by a National Implementation Framework outlining all strategic areas to be addressed and specific activities and a work plan for implementation. The Implementation Framework will identify each responsible organisation, such as the SME Foundation, with specific details of what activities under specific strategic areas they will implement. Future SME Strategy in Bangladesh will be focused on enabling the SME sector to be the engine of growth through the expansion of domestic and international competitiveness, increased export capabilities and greater job opportunities. At present, the SME sector in Bangladesh is a major contributor to economic growth, employment generation, and exports.

SME performance is a reflection of many inter-related factors, such as, the institutional setup, hard infrastructure, available skilled workforce, technological capabilities and innovation, quality of management, finance, market knowledge as well as overall stability of macroeconomic policy. These are a few of the drivers that have largely contributed to the success of developing countries that have achieved competitive SME performance. In Bangladesh, as in many developing countries, SME growth and globalisation will be a step by step process with key SME sectors and clusters improving domestic competitiveness through to improved export capabilities and into global markets. Over the next few months in the first quarter of 2015 there will be a series of consultative meetings held under the auspices of the Ministry of Industries where many different actors, including Ministries, academia, private sector and civil society will participate in discussions of how best to support Bangladeshi SMEs, which will again allow for a wide range of educated, experienced and informed opinion in developing the strategy.

Steps in SME Development:

Step 1: Deepening of Domestic Capabilities

Step 1: Strengthening Ties to Export Markets

Step 1: Growing into Global Players through enhanced capacities and partnerships

National SME Survey Report & Data Set now available!

To feed into the strategy formulation process and to create a knowledge base on SME development, a series of studies were carried out in 2013 and early 2014, including a nationwide survey of 1200 SMEs. Click below to download the National SME Survey Report & Data Set from INSPIRED Bangladesh!


(Click here to view or right click and select ‘Save link as’ to download PDF)