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Business Finance Challenge Fund Second Round Launch on 27th April 2016

Business Finance Challenge Fund Second Round Launch on 27th April 2016

The second round of the Business Finance Challenge Fund (BFCF) was launched at Six Seasons Hotel Gulshan, Dhaka on 27th April 2016. The workshop was attended by more than 130 participants from major banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions, NGOs, Development partners, Insurance companies, MFIs, IT firms, Leasing Companies, and Mobile Telecommunication companies.

The second round of the Business Finance Challenge Fund (BFCF) was launched at Six Seasons Hotel Gulshan, Dhaka on 27th April 2016. The workshop was attended by more than 130 participants from major banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions, NGOs, Development partners, Insurance companies, MFIs, IT firms, Leasing Companies, and Mobile Telecommunication companies. The attendance exceeded the expectations of the fund managers.

The workshop included an opening speech by Chris August, Team Leader BFP-B who inaugurated the workshop in the morning highlighting the problems that micro and small enterprises face in accessing finance in Bangladesh, and the opportunities that exist to innovative financial services and products. Subsequently, Ms. Afsana Islam, from Private Sector Development Team of DFID spoke about the long-standing relationship of DFID with the Government of Bangladesh and the contribution of DFID in the supporting the country’s financial sector including the development of Credit Information Bureau and the Bangladesh Automated Clearing House. She focused on the work of the private sector team of DFID in the development of the people of Bangladesh and the opportunities that the BFCF provided in translating opportunity into action which could positively impact on Micro and Small Enterprises. She also encouraged everyone to submit innovative ideas for the challenge fund concept notes and contribute to the growth journey.

Three grantees from the first round of the challenge fund spoke on the occasion about their experience. Mr Pial Islam, Managing Partner of pi Strategy spoke about his experience of the first round. He demonstrated how the CF team was engaged from the very beginning of the project development through the approval stage and into implementation. He also highlighted that it’s not the size of the company or the exposure that matters, it’s about the uniqueness and passion the company had for the innovation that was being proposed and the strength of the partnership that they were able to develop with larger players.

Mr. Sarder Akhter Hamed, Senior Executive Vice President, head of MSME and Agriculture of Bank Asia described the agent banking project that is being financed by BFCF and the support that the challenge fund team had provided. Finally, Mr. Zakir Hussain, CEO of Young Consultants shared his experience about their project and elaborated on the need for creativity and lateral thinking to develop the kinds of innovation that the challenge fund required.

Mr. Buddhika Samarasinghe Director of Nathan Associates London and Mr. Muhymin Chowdhury, Challenge Fund Coordinator, BFP-B presented on the Challenge fund Principles and Application process in detail to the audience. This included practical tips and guidance on the submitting concept note forms.

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