A two-day Bangladesh Policy Dialogue titled ‘Social Enterprise: Impact and Opportunities’ has commenced on 24th February, 2016 at the British Council in Dhaka. Organized by the British Council Bangladesh, the Dialogue will continue till 25th February, 2016.
The event will bring together 100 policy experts, social enterprise and social investment intermediaries and practitioners from Myanmar, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the UK, which includes personnel from organizations such as Social Enterprise UK, BRAC, Dnet and mPower. The event aims to focus on the impact and opportunities that Social Enterprise sector offers, gathering experience from other countries and developing a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for the government to support the sector’s rapid growth in Bangladesh.
The Dialogue provides an opportunity to contribute to the development of a Social Enterprise policy framework in Bangladesh. It will consider the contexts (economic, cultural, political) that have supported the development of the Social Enterprise sector in the countries in East and South Asia as well as the UK in recent years, creating a pertinent platform for exchanging views and experiences, sharing best practices in social enterprise, and exploring their adaptation in Bangladesh. Additionally, the Policy Dialogue will facilitate a continuation to the development of a network of policy influencers, social entrepreneurs, academia and private sector enterprise specialists in East Asia, South Asia and the UK.
The event is taking place at a pivotal, and highly relevant time in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is among the global pioneers in social enterprise, boasting organizations such as BRAC and Grameen Bank. However, Bangladesh is poised to become middle income country status by 2021, which means that although there is a growth in entrepreneurial activity, some big donors may reprioritize other less developed and developing countries.
Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, ndc, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, inaugurated the Policy Dialogue as Chief Guest. Mark Clayton, Deputy British High Commissioner in Bangladesh and Rubana Haq, Managing Director, Mohammadi Group were also present as Special Guests. Barbara Wickham, Director of British Council Bangladesh was also present among others.
‘It’s great to see policy makers actively engaging around the issues that the current lack of a specific policy or legal framework create for social enterprise in Bangladesh. The lack of easy access to legal advice, intellectual property protection and bankruptcy laws as well as access to finance and the other necessary ingredients in the social enterprise eco system make the life of social entrepreneurs more difficult. So we’re really pleased to be able to assist policy makers in effectively addressing and resolving the issues and strengthening this important sector of the economy.’ said Barbara Wickham.
The 2 day dialogue will host 9 sessions involving 33 eminent guests and panellists from the relevant sector to discuss about pressing issues faced by Social Enterprises. At the end of the Dialogue, it will provide a set of recommendations for the policy makers. 2 of the sessions will showcase the British Council’s work on Business and Investment Readiness (BiR) and Innovate, Invest and Grow (IIG) projects in Bangladesh to a wider audience. Notably, this is the second Bangladesh Policy Dialogue organized by the British Council in Bangladesh