12 March 2012
WYG, in a consortium led by PKF (UK) LLP and composed of Harewelle (UK) and SEBA Limited (Bangladesh), has begun work on a €1.8m EU funded project to reduce poverty in Bangladesh through the development of SMEs in the country.
The global multi-disciplinary consultant is assisting on the two-year SME Competitive Grant Scheme, on behalf of the Ministry of Industries of the Government of Bangladesh, which aims to enhance the competitiveness and sustainable pro-poor growth of SMEs.
The consortium will help small business associations and small businesses themselves to achieve funding under the SME Competitiveness Grant Scheme. By supporting applications through training and advising on policies and SME development, the consultancy will help to position grant applications more competitively.
Peter Fortune, Head of Private Sector Development, WYG said: “By improving SMEs’ access to business support services and government assistance this will enhance the growth of commercially viable SMEs and increase employment in the SME sector.
“The advice we provide is crucial to SMEs securing the grants they need to allow them to invest in expansion and create jobs. This will enable SMEs to attain their full potential for contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.
“We will also be supporting the skills development of business/sector associations in lobbying, advocacy, networking, effective public-private sector dialogue and the provision of business development services to their members.”
The project will also identify existing and potential business clusters – groups of businesses in the same sector – and work with them to develop trust and cooperation between the cluster members, support the growth of the cluster and help prepare a clear cluster growth action plan.
Peter continued: “The idea is to train and mentor the clusters as a group on the basis that there are synergies from them working together; further, they can help themselves by advising each other informally.”
The scheme forms part of an overarching SME Sector Development Programme (SMESDP) led by the government. The objective of the SMESDP is to support government efforts to foster development of the SME sector by strengthening the policy environment for SMEs and improving SMEs’ access to credit and related services.
The Government of Bangladesh has made it a priority to accelerate and expand a sustainable SME sector for pro-poor economic growth and employment generation in order to meet its national poverty reduction target of more than three per cent per year, which ran at one and a half per cent during 1990s.
Image caption: Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh