The SME Foundation has begun to work on the completion of the loan disbursement policy among pandemic affected small and medium enterprises from the Tk 1.0 billion stimulus package by next June.
The foundation sanctioned its draft policy in its 15th annual general meeting on 26th March, assessing the needs of disbursement. It also started negotiations with its partner banks and financial institutions to sign an agreement.
Meanwhile, SMEF has been working to facilitate necessary support to entrepreneurs doing business under small to medium and cottage industries. It has so far helped 10,199 entrepreneurs including 4,507 women build businesses through market expansion and capacity building on various aspects in the FY 2019-20.
In addition, the government had set a target to disburse Tk 20 billion in loan for SMEC under the stimulus package. Out of the total, SMEF had been allocated Tk 3.0 billion to distribute among entrepreneurs under SMEC including women.
However, SME Foundation chairperson Dr Md. Masudur Rahman said, “We are at a discussion stage with partner banks and FIs. We hope to come to an agreement within a week.”
As the SME Foundation will have to distribute Tk 1.0 billion funds among SME entrepreneurs in next two months through them, he said, agreement and integration with banks and FIs are necessary.
He mentioned the foundation would get its next instalment of Tk 2.0 billion in the next fiscal year, adding that the policy would help them disburse the funds efficiently.
The SME chairman further said the fund under Tk 3.0 billion would be distributed among both men and women in rural and urban areas. Even startups would get priority under the package as per the government-announced policy.
SMEF maintains 26 per cent of total beneficiaries for women including those in remote areas, he added.
“We have already had an idea of needs for working more than 13 years at different clusters throughout the country. We expect to reach a good number of pandemic-hit entrepreneurs following well-designed policy guidelines,” he further added.
SMEF General Manager Farzana Khan said the pandemic has created a new dimension in women entrepreneurship as many have either switched to new products or started new ventures based on e-commerce for their survival.
“SMEF will also try to find them and train them in continuing the ventures through package support.”
According to SMEF officials, the policy has guidelines on fixing target groups and disbursement modalities.