Women Business Centers (WBC) address the daily obstacles that women entrepreneurs face and provide necessary solutions to them. These centers have been established in rural areas to bring economic empowerment to rural and marginalized women. Through these business centers, women from rural areas and marginalized communities receive trainings in business management, IT, and poultry farming and develop skills. These Women Business Centers don’t just provide the trainings, they also support these women entrepreneurs by providing them loans, a space to operate their business, and even sell their products from WBC establishments. Five women get trained per WBC in areas such as IT, financial, and business management.
During the first phase of the WBC initiative, 70 WBCs in Jamalpur, Khulna, and Bagerhat districts directly impacted the well-being of 100,000 women and indirectly 400,000 incumbents. During this phase, women’s net capital worth of 50,000 Tk at the beginning of the program increased to 130,000 in 2020.
Besides, each WBC earns 40,697 Tk per month. There has been an average 200% increase in individual WBC member income as compared to pre-WBC enterprise activities
The impact of the program inspired The Coca-Cola Foundation to continue empowering women and providing them with opportunities. Now, the second phase of the initiative aims to empower 40,000 women entrepreneurs through 30 WBCs in Sunamganj and Gopalganj.
I became financially self-sufficient after joining WBC. Now I can take all the family decisions myself. My acceptance in the society has also increased. People respect me. I can stand by them in times of crisis.” – Beauty Begum (54), WBC Entrepreneur, Tarakandi village, Sarishabari upazila, Jamalpur.
Additional Findings from Research
According to a survey conducted on 30 WBCs:
- 90% of the women entrepreneurs are in full control of their finances
- 100% of the entrepreneurs and community members said the WBC centers could
be self-sufficient without external financial support
- 60% of the women said they did not have access to IT services before the WBCs
came along, and 100 percent said they had received healthcare at these
- 70% of the women bought agricultural products from WBCs, and 43 percent sold
goods at these centers.
- 100% of the female participants said the local community had been viewing
their financial freedom in a positive light.
- 70% of the women entrepreneurs said they took decisions on important family
matters jointly, while 30% did it by themselves.