With the popularity of beauty parlours extending beyond the capital city and divisional towns, these establishments are now opening up at a district and upazila level all over the country. The government wants to expand this sector by setting up beauty parlors in 80 upazilas with a view to creating women entrepreneurs.
A Tk 4.41 billion (Tk 441 crore) project will soon be approved for the involvement of women in the country's socioeconomic activities. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs will implement the project.
Under the project, along with beauty parlours, sales and exhibition centers, the government will set up 80 food corners to empower the underprivileged women, said the officials of the ministry.
Beauty parlours, food corners and sales centers will be given to women who receive training under Jatiya Mohila Sangstha (JMS) and will continue to receive training in the future.
Each beauty parlour, food corner and sale center will be operated by five to 10 trained women. Along with a lump sum payment, the government will give provide the required materials to decorate the parlours. However, women entrepreneurs will have to rent space for these businesses.
The government has decided to build 80 more parlours around the country after seeing success when setting up 14 parlours as an experiment. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs then prepared a proposal entitled 'development of women entrepreneurs in economic empowerment at the grassroots.'
Additional secretary Anwara Begum and others involved in this project, told Prothom Alo that participation of women in the workplace is much lower than that of men. They wanted to increase this participation of women in the workplace. They will provide all kinds of support to women, including training, to make them entrepreneurs.
As per the JMS, under this project, a six-month training programme will be provided to a 256,000 selected women. Each trainee will get Tk 100 per day.
Many women who have passed their SSC and HSC exams, are receiving training from this organisation. A woman must have to pass at least Class 8 to qualify for skill development training.
Vice president of FBCCI Hasina Newaz told Prothom Alo that beauty parlours and food corners are very popular businesses in the country. However, women's participation in food corners is comparatively less than that of beauty parlours. It will be good initiative if the government sets up parlours and food corners to empower women.
“While setting up these shops, the government also has to arrange banks loans for them,” she added.
Additional secretary Anwara Begum said, “Women entrepreneurs have to face many obstacles in getting loans from banks and financial institutions. Many do not know anything about product marketing and selling.”
“We will provide training to the women on how to produce and sell products in the market as they do not know anything regarding these matters,” she said.
JMS officials said they had received positive results on the project of women entrepreneurs. The government used to run this project earlier only at the district level, but now it also has been taken to the upazila level to include the poorest women in economic activities.
Based on data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), 80 relatively poor upazilas have been selected for the project. The project will be implemented by 2025 at Savar in Dhaka, Ghior in Manikganj, Raipura in Narsingdi, Kaliganj in Gazipur and Dimla in Nilphamari.
Under the new project, ‘buying and selling’ software will be developed to facilitate the marketing of products. Database software will be created too to keep a record of the trainees under the initiative of JMS. The planning ministry has urged that proper process be maintained in the selection of underprivileged and women entrepreneurs.