Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)
Webinar held on building better, greener Bangladesh
For sharing the experiences gathered through the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) implemented by PKSF, the World Bank organized a webinar titled ‘Towards Building Back a Better and Greener Bangladesh-Experience from Microenterprises in Bangladesh’ on 19 January 2021.
Mr Christophe Crepin, Practice Manager, South Asia, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) of the World Bank chaired the webinar moderated by Mr Tapash Paul, Lead Environment Specialist, SSAEN, the World Bank. Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF; Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Deputy General Manager of PKSF and Project Coordinator, SEP and more than 20 higher officials from different stations of the World Bank participated in the event.
In introductory speech, Mr Tapash Paul applauded PKSF for playing ‘a revolutionary role’ in developing Bangladesh. He also PKSF for its phenomenal contribution in microfinance and microenterprise (ME) sectors of Bangladesh.
Describing PKSF as a pioneer institution for ensuring easy access to finance for microfinance institutions and for microenterprises, Mr Christophe Crepin emphasized on the need for upgrading the quality of products that are produced by the MEs so that they can access the wider market. He further said that COVID-19 has made things worse for the MEs. SEP’s assistance in technical aspects during this pandemic is phenomenal. He expressed his expectation that SEP will continue its support to improve the conditions of the MEs with a focus on adopting green practices.
In the opening remarks, Mr Md Fazlul Kader highlighted PKSF’s pursuit in developing the microenterprise sector of Bangladesh. The main challenge, he said, is unfreezing the deep conditioning to decades-long practices performed by microenterprises and helping them get rid of low-technology traps. Behavioral change is the biggest challenge and bigger investments is needed for common services and modern technologies. It is these challenges that SEP has since inception been relentlessly working to address, he added.
Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed made an presentation on the project’s challenges, achievements and lessons learned. He described how SEP contributes to the green recovery and the COVID-19 response in Bangladesh. Two video clips on microenterprises at the grassroots were played during the webinar. After the presentation, Mr Md Fazlul Kader responded to different queries of the participants.
Ms Gayatri Acharya, Sector Leader, SSARDR, the World Bank said that Bangladesh is a pioneer in creating solutions for microfinance institutions and microenterprises. And PKSF is playing a vital role here. She stressed on the need to disseminate the knowledge gathered through SEP among the broader regulatory bodies and policymakers, which will pave the way for further development of the microenterprise sector in Bangladesh.