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Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective 2017

In Bangladesh women constitute half of the population but labour force participation of women is still very limited. According to the Labor Force Survey 2013, working age (15 year +) female population in Bangladesh is 54.21 million, of which only 18 million (33.5%) are part of the labor force. Economic opportunities for women can lead them to be employees or entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurship development in any country is associated with that country’s government policy, support from financial institutions and other supporting organizations. According to the Economic Census 2013, total number of establishments in Bangladesh is 7.82 million of which only 7.21 per cent are owned by women. Out of 7.4 million working proprietors, only 5.9 percent are women. Though 98 per cent of the enterprises fall in the category of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME), presence of women in these enterprises is not significantly visible.

SME Foundation conducted a comprehensive study on Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective in 2009. The purpose of the study was to identify the impediments to the development of women entrepreneurship and formulate programs based on the study recommendations. Since 2009, various policies and programs have been adopted by government including policies to provide financial assistance to SMEs, Women Development Policy, National Skill Development Policy etc. To explore the current situation of women entrepreneurship development and design appropriate interventions on the basis of those findings for more advancement of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, a comprehensive study is necessary. Therefore, with support from the SME Foundation, BIDS has initiated a study titled “Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs:  Bangladesh Perspective 2017”.


• To explore the current status of women entrepreneurs working in various sectors.

• To identify factors those motivated their success. 

• To impediments faced by them and possible ways to overcome the obstacles.

Specific activities those will be performed under the current study

• Identify the present status of women entrepreneurs in different SME sectors and role of women entrepreneurs in national economy.

• Compare the present status of Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs with the previous status as compiled in the report `Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective, 2009’

• Determine the women entrepreneurs profile, their success indicators with reference

• Examine and assess the socio-cultural/educational and legal barriers

• way of resource allocation 

• To examine various governments policy, Acts and rules as well as SME related programs/activities from a gender perspective

• Examine women’s position in business and international trade promotions

• Recommend effective approaches to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs

• Identify more potential sectors for the women entrepreneurs 

• To suggest programs/schemes of gender-specific/ women oriented nature in SME sector 

• Suggest Policy measures supporting women entrepreneurs in SME sector; Structure and mechanisms

Sampling Strategy

A multi-stage random sampling method will be applied. A structured/semi-structured questionnaire will be designed for conducting survey of women entrepreneurs A representative sample of no less than 1500 women entrepreneurs will be drawn from the SME Entrepreneurs Directory 2015.There will two types of sampling:

1. Theoretical Analysis: Assets and sources of finance, Size distribution of industries, Types of industries, Nature of raw materials ,Capacity utilization ,Gross value added, Value added per, worker, ,Employment Aspects ,Access to Finance aspects, Access to Market and Adoption of Technology, Barriers, Women entrepreneurs as members of associations, Women empowerment related information etc.

2. Econometric Analysis: Various econometric methods will be applied to assess various aspects of women entrepreneurships.

Study Team

The study will be carried out by a team of BIDS researchers - Dr. Nazneen Ahmed and Dr. Monzur Hossain  and Mr. Md. Iqbal Hossain. 

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