DOT Desk: For new women entrepreneurs, it is still hard to secure bank loans to establish a business even though the Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (SMEF) has been giving loans to female entrepreneurs at single-digit interest rates through banks since 2009, reports TBS.
Women entrepreneurs say the formalities relating to obtaining loans are too complex to fulfill for those who plan on starting up. To get SMEF loans, an entrepreneur must have a two-year-old valid trade licence, a bank statement of the previous one year and annual sales figures for the preceding three years. These requirements are in addition to 19 other preconditions. Having a trade licence means the entrepreneur already has a place for business and asking for sales figures indicates that banks are offering loans only to entrepreneurs who are already established, not for those who are just starting out. Meanwhile, SMEF sources have said about Tk92 crore was given in loans to 1,850 small and medium entrepreneurs in the last 11 years. Of them, only about 28 percent are women entrepreneurs. These 514 women were given Tk16.13 crore in SME loans.