Women Entrepreneurs &
SME Financing at
Zara Jabeen Mahbub
Head, Customer Experience
BRAC Bank – Beginning of the Journey
Not Served by
Banks & beyond
Limit of MFIs
Multinational & Local
Small & Medium
Served by all Public &
To serve the “Missing Middle” and to work as a catalyst for the vibrant yet unbanked
SME sector of Bangladesh, our Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasn Abed founded BRAC
Bank in 2001 with institutional shareholding of BRAC, ShoreBank & IFC.
BRAC Bank – Philosophy in SME Banking
Differentiating factors –
Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet & Profit
Fund Flow Strategy
Focus on serving SMEs
Focus on Financial Inclusiveness
Empower Women Entrepreneurs
We led the way
First SME Bank of the Country
First commercial bank to provide collateral free loans to SMEs
Lending in the SME Segment can be profitable
First SME Bank to have dedicated Women Entrepreneur Cell.
BRAC Bank – In 10 Years…
• Evolved as Country’s largest SME Bank:
• 430 SME Unit Offices
• 157 Branches & SME
• 330+ ATMs
• 14 Financial Kiosks
• SME portfolio: 46,312m
• Customers: 97,847
• Women Loan: : 368m
• Women Customer: 1,389
• Disbursed : 253,263m
• Customer served : 437,377
• Generated employment: 1.3m
BRAC Bank – Empowering Women in Bangladesh 1/2
• BRAC BANK is the first bank in the country to setup a Women Entrepreneur Cell
under its SME Division in 2006 and introduced a loan product only for Women
Entrepreneurs - “PROTHOMA”.
• Women Entrepreneur Cell is a team at the BRAC Bank head office lead by
Senior Managers & Relationship officers who are working across the country to
cater to women entrepreneurs. CROs have been playing an exemplary role not
only by providing loans but also providing suggestions & expert advices related to
• Preferential rate of interest 10% is offered to Women Entrepreneurs where
standard rate is 22%
• Since inception of Women Entrepreneur Cell, we disbursed 3,968 million which
has served 8,504 Women Entrepreneurs (as of Feb 28, 2014). Current
outstanding number of customers is 1,389 whose outstanding amount is BDT 368
BRAC Bank – Empowering Women in Bangladesh 2/2
• There were some challenges initially when we started Women Entrepreneur Cell
o Lack of women entrepreneurs.
o Spotting real women entrepreneurs around the country.
o Discouragement of women from their families to start their own businesses
o Lack of enthusiasm.
o Availing PROTHOMA loan in the name of women entrepreneurs but loan was
used entirely into their husband’s businesses.
o Limited sectors of providing loan.
o Lack of in-depth knowledge about women entrepreneurs.
• However, BRAC BANK SME overcame the above mentioned hurdles through
prudent and in-depth market research and analysis. BRAC Bank has taken a lot of
initiatives to strengthen this cell further.
Creation of Jobs…
• Till date BRAC Bank as created around 1.5 million new employments through it’s
Small Business lending in various sectors (Trading, Manufacturing, Agriculture,
• BRAC bank commenced 1st Impact Measurement Study in 2010 with an objective to
validate indicators and track performance of their SME loan where Employment
Creation of both Male & Female employees were measured. The result is –
Number of full
2.26 1.62 3.27 71.68
Number of full
0.31 0.29 0.23 93.55
increased by 72%
increased by 93%
• It was also found that -
Manufacturing sector employs three times more employees than trading &
Highest number of women are employed by manufacturing sector & trading
sector employs the least number of women