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An Evaluation of SME Foundation's Activities towards Development of SMEs

The SME Foundation was created under the Ministry of Industries (MoI) as an apex institution for SME development in the country through a gazette notification in 2007. The major activities of the Foundation include (i) implementation of SME Policy Strategies adopted by the Bangladesh Government, (ii) policy advocacy and intervention for the growth of SMEs, (iii) facilitating financial support for SMEs, providing skill development and capacity building training, (iv) facilitating adaptation with appropriate technologies and access to ICT, and (v) providing business support services, etc. The Foundation is intended to work as a one-stop service delivery window for SMEs.

The SME Foundation started its journey with 24 staff in 2008 following a government gazette notification dated August 7, 2007. The number of staff has been increased now to about 60. The interest earnings of Tk. 200 crore of the endowment fund given by the government is the sole source of finance for different activities undertaken by the Foundation. The Foundation has created different wings for operational purposes: Policy advocacy wing; Credit wholesaling wing; Capacity Building & Skill Development; Access to Technology; Access to Information; Women Entrepreneurship Development; and Business Support Service.

The main objective of the study is to evaluate the degree of effectiveness of the Foundation towards the development of SMEs through implementation of its mandated activities. For this reason, the study intends to make an in-depth evaluation in terms of both impacts of its activities and the processes it follows. Therefore, the evaluation will follow the activities of different wings of the Foundation. In particular, it will assess:

• the governance structure of the Foundation

• the effectiveness of the training programs rendered by the Foundation

• the effectiveness of the wholesale credit programs run by the Foundation

• the effectiveness of the policy advocacies of the Foundation

• the effectiveness of the training programs rendered by the Foundation

• the effectiveness of business support services rendered by the Foundation

• the initiatives on the women entrepreneurship development programs of the Foundation

• its activities on access to technology and information by the SMEs

• the efficacy of other activities of the Foundation; and

• Other relevant issues and way forward

Study Team: Dr. Monzur Hossain (Team Leader), Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Dr. Abdul Hye Mondal, Siban Sahana

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