Lack of policy support holds Joyeeta Foundation from spreading wings
UNB: Woman entrepreneurs under Joyeeta Foundation are struggling to run their businesses effectively for lack of policy support. Operating under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the Foundation is an unprofitable and dedicated marketing platform in Dhaka to market products and services produced, processed and value added by women. In 2011, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated this platform with an aim of unlocking business potentials and economic empowerment of women across the country.Under the platform, entrepreneurs processed and produced three types of goods and services: regular food, agro processing food, and boutique and handicraft products. Around 141 woman associations across the country have been running their business under the foundation. While visiting the Joyeeta Foundation showrooms at Dhanmondi 27, this correspondent has seen salespersons of the showrooms passing lazy time, with hardly any shoppers to attend to.
The few customers who were seen loafing around were just asking about the prices, not buying any.
Nadira Sultana from Manikganj, one of the entrepreneurs of the Foundation, told the correspondent that she had been running the business since 2011, when their turnover was good but for the last few years, their business was declining.
“For lack of campaign and advertisement, we are not getting expected response from the customers. At the beginning, we were able to meet the demand keeping an eye on the customer’s choice but now the buyers’ taste has changed. We have no modern designer and for this we are failing to bring fashionable dresses for the customers.”
“Most of us are passing days without any sale or poor sale. Sometimes it becomes tough even to manage rent for our shop by selling goods. We open our shops with anxiety and tension and return home with trepidation,” she said.
“Currently Eid or other festival doesn’t make any difference in our business,” she lamented.
Shahanaj Parvin, another entrepreneur from Tangail, said she had started her business on a small scale but now when she would like to expand her business, she was failing to do so for lack of capital.
“Ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, I planned to bring dresses of different designs but because of poor sales I couldn’t do that,” she said with dismay.
“If the government gives us financial support by granting loan, we will overcome this situation and run our business successfully,” she added.
Farida Begum, Anjuman Ara, other entrepreneurs of the foundation echoed her, demanding policy support and proper advertisement of their products to run their business effectively.
Rina Nasreen, a Dhanmondi resident, said that if the price was considered, the quality of Joyeeta Foundation products was good.
Mouri Jahan from Mirpur came with her family to buy hand-stitched dresses from the Foundation shops.
“Here we get varieties of designs of local dresses in the showrooms at convenient prices. Every year I buy dresses from these shops for myself and my family,” she said.
Md Kamal Hossain, deputy director of Joyeeta Foundation, said that a comprehensive action plan was taken to develop a brand image under the unique name and style “Joyeeta”.
“Usually every year we organize festival-based promotions for these products. Still we have many limitations in conducting campaign and advertisement regularly,” he said.
“To extend all possible support services and build business conducive physical infrastructural facilities for women entrepreneurs, our ministry has taken different activities,” he claimed.
“This year a development project — Capacity Building of the Joyeeta Foundation — has been approved and is under implementation. Under the project, each and every sector of the Foundation will be automated,” he informed.