Monday, April 7, 2014

South Asia Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium Bangladesh April 1 - 3, 2014

To participate in this Symposium 3 women entrepreneurs were chosen from Gender Ministry me(Cake Decorator, Owns a pastry shop and I owned an Ayurvedic Medical Clinic for 6 years), Hadeeja ( a Tailor, fashion designer) and Nashee from Nashee Cakes(Owns a Bakery) unfortunately something came up at the last moment and Nashee could not attend this Symposium. We reached Dhaka on 31st March afternoon.

 Our accommodation was arranged at Westin Dhaka, we were given separate cozy rooms.
 Our Symposium started with registration and welcome ceremony at Ballroom-3, The Westin Dhaka, on 1st April morning. Moderator was Luna Shamsuddoha
 Rokia Rahman, President of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs
 Hasan Mazumder, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation Bangladesh
 Hon. Dan Mozena, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh
 Hon. Meher Afroz Chumki, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs 
  In this symposium total 8 countries participated. From each country 3 entrepreneurs. One participant from each country had to give a 10 minute presentation. From Maldives I gave presentation. my presentation was on my businesses, I even talked about challenges other women entrepreneurs in Maldives Face.

Me & Hajja at Ballroom 3

 Two pictures taken from the window of the room I was staying.

 We had a small Exhibition of participants Products for 2 hour's and evening we went to a Dinner arranged at Sky Room, owned by Sangita Ahmed, President of BWCCI. We were welcomed at the restaurant with a cute Rose.
Me and Hajja at Dinner 
 2nd April early morning we departed to Manikgonj, visited Aarong Production Center (Ayesha Abed Foundation) 
Seeing Dalia's for the first time kept me starring at them thinking yes this is a flower I must make for some of my cakes. 

 The Ayesha Abed Foundation (AAF) is an organization that aims to provide avenues for employment and income generation for underprivileged rural women. It is an enclave for women, formed to uplift them economically, through their work as producers, and also socially, through their development into entrepreneurs. The Foundation provides an appropriate working environment, financial and technical assistance, and training to develop the women's skills in various crafts.

After a delicious lunch we departed to Gazipur at 1.00 pm, visited Mohammadi Group Garments Factory, owned by Rubana Hug, The factory has approximately 1600 workers with many women workers. The factory is one of the 8 gold rated H&M factories.

 Some of the women Entrepreneurs photos 

 April 3rd SME Foundation (working lunch) 
 Networking and B2B meeting (Shomadhan Hall, Hotel Lakesshore) 
After debriefing by the Asia Foundation staff we went to hotel and right away I went shopping, bought pearl earrings and a necklace for my daughter and pearl bracelets for my mum and sisters. Went shopping for some clothes and other stuff. When I first started walking on the roads of Bangladesh it reminded me for a 70's Hindi movie because of the amount of bicycle Rickshaw's I saw on the roads, now days I don't see these bicycle rickshaws in India or Sri Lanka, even the three wheeler's were like a jail fully covered with thin strong rods, I guess it's for the safety of passenger and the driver.
(This pic is taken from Google pics)
 After Dhaka trip I traveled to Sri Lanka and stayed two days their for more shopping of cake stuff and other. 7th April early morning I came home. On my blog I would like to thank Asia Foundation for giving me this opportunity and staff of Asia Foundation for making this symposium a success. I got some information about women's access to finance marketing. I met great business entrepreneurs from 7 different countries, got to know about their businesses and their challenges. I met 3 business women's whom I am interested to start  import business of their products, I want to thank Gender Ministry of Maldives also choosing me for this symposium and thank my daughter and Miss Aamal Ali for helping me with my presentation. I will never forget my very good friend Juway for nominating my name.

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