Entrepreneurship is a combination of critical factors, and an ideal one calls for fulfilment of these factors in a way that provides space for creative and innovative ideas, ability for taking risks and exercising management skills -- to mention some of the basics. In Bangladesh, promotion of entrepreneurship in a practical and meaningful sense of the term has not made much headway, either in the form of government initiatives through any dedicated agency or sadly by the business associations. It may be recalled that the main ruling party prior to its takeover had promised in its election manifesto to create provisions for six million entrepreneurs during its tenure in power-a promise totally unattended and lost to oblivion. Curious as it may sound, development partners have reportedly dished out a fund of Tk 5 billion to the central bank for developing and promoting new entrepreneurs in the country. It has been learnt that this fund has mostly been utilised in SME funding - indeed a vital sector of the economy, but not quite relevant to helping new entrepreneurs.
The recently adopted decision of the country's largest chamber, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) to 'create' 2,000 new entrepreneurs from across all 64 districts in the country is a pragmatic move. Grooming up young people to brave the challenging paths of business and to imbibe in them the spirit to lead their lives independently all by themselves should have figured in the work programmes of trade and business associations on a regular basis. Better late than never.
The programme of the DCCI promises to draw good response from aspiring entrepreneurs as it is open to all, including students, for submission of on-line applications. The process is to commence from late-June until the final selection by early November this year. Selected entrepreneurs, it has been learnt, will be provided with funds and training without collateral if they are not able to run business with their own resources. In this connection, a DCCI spokesperson has said that the initiative, taken up for the first time by the lead chamber, aims at finding out potential entrepreneurs who are not getting enough opportunity, due to various constraints, for undertaking business ventures despite having innovative ideas. In its venture the DCCI has reportedly been assured of funds by multilateral donors like the World Bank. The finance minister and the central bank governor have also indicated to support the endeavour. In order that the project is well targeted, some business sectors have been identified which among others include agro-based businesses, food processing, information technology, waste management, fashion designing, electronics etc.
The beauty of the DCCI move lies primarily in initiating a means to organising livelihood or career planning for young people, reliant largely on their own abilities. The mechanism to work out things may not be very simplistic, and may require recasting of the scheme once the process is on. A set of efforts from various agencies - chambers, trade associations, NGOs, corporate business houses, banks will no doubt reinforce the initiative to achieve the targeted objective.