Tahmina Shafique The Complete Portfolio


Nasreen Awal Mintoo

As the WEAB president how has the present business environment affected women entrepreneurs?

One of the harshest truths about women entrepreneurs is the fact that they have constantly faced challenges in being able to push forward and to do well. The present business environment, as we all know has been affected tremendously and the business confidence level has gone very low. As much as it may affect the businessman, for women entrepreneurs it has become a greater challenge.

Moreover, in case of WEAB, the women entrepreneurs have been having difficulty in being able to take loans and registering.

What are some of roles of WEAB?

WEAB was formed in 2001. Their aim was to create a platform to help business women establish themselves in a competitive field, dominated by men. The main object of WEAB was to develop a support system for women entrepreneurs to not only improve the quality of their products, to meet the changing market demands, but also to impart training on technical know how, design development and to create marketing links for their products.

In these two years, we have gone places, taken these women’s products abroad and so much more.

What are some of the challenges that you face while working with these women?

I feel the greatest challenge has been the sheer criticism and the social attitude that is yet to change towards women’s work and their dedication. Some of the times working with women have been challenging because their own families have not been supportive of them being independent and self sufficient.

We need a women’s bank, taking loan has been increasingly difficult. Moreover, women’s representation in businesses in yet to improve- for example there is no woman representing the FBCCI and in case of Bangladesh Better Business Forum we have one women out of 60 members.

As a woman yourself, what were some of the challenges that you faced?

Some of the greatest challenges were the fact that people did not appreciate our initiations and we had to face constant criticism- something that is very common when it comes to women stepping up. The struggle has been also evident in keeping the 2420 women that we work with.

Personally, I was lucky to have the support of my family and my husband.

What is your take on the present

political state?

I would say that the present political situation has brought a lot of changes, and we are all looking forward to the elections and to a better business environment. But, at the end of it all, like any other citizen of a country, I would like to see a democratic state as well.

How do you feel about the crisis that your family had to undergo as a result of the state of emergency?

I do not feel it is appropriate for me to speak about it. But the whole situation has been very stressful and emotionally draining. In the process, we also lost my mother-in-law and my family kept struggling to hold on and be able to carry on despite such odds. It is still very difficult to be able to cope and hang on, but I guess we have to.

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