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The Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Centre of University of Dhaka organised a webinar session on 'CMSMEs in Bangladesh: Journey, Challenges and Future Direction' on Saturday as part of the REVIVE Project, its joint collaboration with UNDP Bangladesh.

Gowher Rizvi, advisor to the prime minister on International Relation Affairs, was the chief guest of the session while AKM Sajedur Rahman, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank and barrister Nihad Kabir, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) were the distinguished guests.

The session was also attended by Momtaz Uddin Ahmed, honorary professor, University of Dhaka and Khurshid Alam, assistant resident representative, UNDP Bangladesh, reports news agency UNB.

Rizvi congratulated ICE Centre for its project REVIVE initiative that targets the CMSMEs (cottage, micro, small, and medium enterprise) of Bangladesh.

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He said that linkage of our entrepreneurs with an international supply chain has now come to be a pressing demand of the time to maintain the rally of growth.

From his experience of working with the indigenous community, Rizvi said that although training and skills development activities that are being undertaken for indigenous and marginal people are appropriate but the main problem lies in creating linkage for them with the market.

Historically, entrepreneurs are inclined towards sole proprietorship of their business but in case of the indigenous tribes they think and function like a community and that is how businesses are developed amongst them.

To attain the vision of 2030 of the government, it is important to bring forward the underprivileged citizens in the community and he hopes ICE Centre would play a pivotal role.

He advised the youth to be on their toes to tackle another global pandemic if it ever comes again.

Nihad Kabir stated that it is important to address cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises individually while developing policies on different issues such as dealing with the issue like internationalisation of CMSMEs sectors or bank policies in providing financial support.

By applauding Project REVIVE for its mapping initiative of the 64 districts, she emphasised its outcome to be useful for the development and industrialisation of the districts.

AKM Sajedur Rahman, the deputy governor of Bangladesh bank, in his speech emphasised that for the continued economic growth of Bangladesh, CMSMEs sector needs to be developed giving priority.

Executive director of ICE Centre Rashedur Rahman in his speech shared the journey of Project REVIVE and its activities so far.

He also notified the audience of a research paper in the works that targets the topic of why CMSMES from Bangladesh are not internationalised in a larger scale and how to facilitate their internationalisation.

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Professor Muhammad Shariat Ullah pointed out that this project had made it possible to run a nationwide survey addressing the struggles of CMSMEs regarding different important issues.

He presented some findings from the working paper focusing on the internationalisation of CMSMEs sector and the extent to which their mindset is affected by various factors.

Shariat Ullah said he has high hopes that the resulting working papers will help shape the future policies of the nation regarding key policy matters.

Momtaz Uddin Ahmed discussed the necessity of cluster-based development regarding widening the window of opportunity for the CMSMEs to enter the global market.

He agreed with Nihad Kabir on the topic of treating C-M-S-M as separate entities.

Khurshid Alam said that for the development of Bangladesh, the growth and expansion of the CMSME sector is absolutely vital. He also emphasised on the inclusion of youth in this project to learn the nature of the economy of Bangladesh and to fight future disasters.

The session was presided over by Khondoker Bazlul Haque, vice-chairman of ICE Centre and moderated by Rashedur Rahman.

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