E-commerce, women empowerment,
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The proliferation of internet accessibility has ignited the growth of online businesses in Bangladesh. In an increasingly technology-driven world, Bangladeshi consumers now have a vast online platform that allows them to conveniently purchase products from the comfort of their homes.

E-commerce has witnessed significant expansion in Bangladesh, with a revolutionary transformation occurring during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The surge in online activity also led to an increase in the number of female entrepreneurs within the sector. However, the industry faced challenges towards the end of the previous year, particularly due to disruptions in some major online platforms, including Evaly. To bring order to the sector, the government introduced Unique Business Identification (UBID).

Remarkably, a considerable portion of online platform owners are women entrepreneurs. Despite facing challenges, these women entrepreneurs assert that they are progressing, and many are achieving self-dependency through e-commerce. They acknowledge that women-friendly wholesale markets are still scarce, but express hope for improvements in the future.

Musfera Jahan, an entrepreneur and the managing director of ‘Mom Fanush’ and chairman of ‘Gerosto Bari,’ highlights her journey in the industry. She sells boutique items, hand-painted products, blocks, and handmade items through ‘Mom Fanush,’ while ‘Gerosto Bari’ offers ready spices. Jahan started her online business in 2017, initially operating exclusively online with the support of her family. Over time, she expanded her business to include offline operations.

Jahan notes that e-commerce is thriving as people increasingly rely on online platforms for buying and selling. She emphasizes that, with many women engaged in jobs, the convenience of online shopping is preferred. Despite the success of e-commerce, women entrepreneurs face challenges, particularly in offline sourcing. Jahan discusses the need to personally check and bring in products, leading to visits to different parts of the country, where, as a woman, she sometimes feels insecure.

Another woman entrepreneur, Faraha Diba, owns ‘nithanbd’ and specializes in men’s and women’s clothing, including panjabi, babywear, and fashion accessories. She echoes the struggles faced by most women entrepreneurs, emphasizing that launching an independent business is a challenging endeavor. Many women, she notes, started their online businesses in middle age, but the landscape is changing, with an increasing number of female students venturing into their own online businesses.

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By Alwin Santhosh


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