The Asia Foundation Supports South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium’s Dhaka Exposure Visit to Advance Women’s Entrepreneurship

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Dhaka, March 31, 2014 — On April 1-3 at The Westin Dhaka, the South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (SAWES), with support from The Asia Foundation and the US Department of State, hosts “Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurship in South Asia,” the third in a series of three exposure visits designed to create a platform for catalyzing activities to advance women’s entrepreneurship in South Asia and beyond.

The Dhaka exposure visit brings together women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and serves as a mechanism for women entrepreneurs to create cross-border linkages among themselves. The visit focuses on women’s economic empowerment, and in particular women’s access to finance and marketing. Opening ceremony attendees include Hon. Meher Afroz Chumki, State Minister of the Women and Children Affairs, Dan Mozena, US Ambassador to Bangladesh and Rokia Afzal Rahman, President of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh.

The three-day visit includes discussions with and exposures to leading Bangladeshi businesswomen and some of their enterprises. Entrepreneurs will display products to showcase their businesses and network amongst each other and with Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs.

The objectives of SAWES are to foster a South Asian regional network of women business associations and leaders to advance policies and share information; to identify opportunities for cooperation within South Asia and with their counterparts in Central Asia; and to support strategic projects in South Asia that will build the capacity of women’s business associations and leaders guided by priorities and recommendations from SAWES.

The Foundation, with support from U.S. Department of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA), implements follow-up activities and strategies agreed upon during the December 2012 South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (SAWES). The project advances the New Silk Road Initiative, which aims to build regional economic integration and trade across South and Central Asia through development and implementation of an effective SAWES follow-on strategy that advances priority areas identified by the Steering Committee and Symposium participants, which include: Support market access and trade for women entrepreneurs; Promote a policy and regulatory environment which supports women’s entrepreneurship; Information sharing and networking to promote business linkages and trade; Capacity building and business skills development. Information on SAWES can be found .

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