The 9th National SME Product Fair-2021 is going to be held from 5-12 December at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center.
This year, 311 organisations are participating in the fair with 325 stalls, 60% of which belong to women entrepreneurs.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the fair virtually from Ganabhaban on 5 December (Sunday) at 10am as the chief guest and present awards to Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs, the SME Foundation said.
There will be no entrance fee for this year's fair.
Sources at the SME Foundation said 116 fashion design companies, 37 leather products companies, 36 food and agro processing companies, 33 handicraft companies, 29 jute products companies, 17 light engineering companies, four IT sector companies, six electrical and electronics companies, four herbal and organic products companies, four jewelry products companies and three plastic products companies are participating in this fair.
At a press conference on Thursday, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said, "Entrepreneurs cannot participate in the fair with foreign products. Ten banks and financial institutions offering SME loans will participate in the fair and provide necessary information to the entrepreneurs for getting SME loans."
The entrepreneurs will also get such information at various seminars at the fair every day.
Apart from entrepreneurs, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, Jute Diversification Promotion Centre, Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dhaka Stock Exchange, Brac Bank, Eastern Bank, Bank Asia, Janata Bank, Dhaka Bank, and Mutual Trust Bank will also participate in the fair, said the industries minister.
At the press conference, State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder said visitors could purchase goods and services at low prices directly from the entrepreneurs at the fair. They will be able to compare the quality and price of products showcased by different entrepreneurs. This will also create communication and business relationships between the entrepreneurs and the buyers, he said.
The ninth edition of the exhibition was supposed to be held in March this year, but the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation postponed it due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ishrat Jahan, chief executive of jute product company Tulika, told The Business Standard, "The fair is very important for the entrepreneurs as the amount of goods they sell at this fair is around half of their annual sales."
Ishrat expressed hope that products worth Tk20 lakh, which she could not sell as the 9th chapter of the fair was not organised on time, will be sold at the fair.
Dhaka Stock Exchange to set up stall in SME Fair
SME Foundation Chairman Dr Md Masudur Rahman told TBS, "The Dhaka Stock Exchange will set up a stall at the fair for the first time this year. The stall will provide necessary information and advice to the SMEs interested in raising long-term funds from the capital market."
SME Foundation Managing Director Dr Md Mafizur Rahman told TBS, "In the last eight national SME product fairs, 1,561 entrepreneurs sold products worth around Tk21.88 crore and received orders worth around Tk36.5 crore.
"Besides, at 86 divisional and district level SME product fairs, 3,162 SME entrepreneurs sold products worth Tk23.33 crore and received orders worth Tk21.14 crore. We hope that the trend will continue in this year's fair," he said.
According to the Bangladesh Bank, there are about 60 lakh SME entrepreneurs in the country. Around 90% of the total industrial units of the country belong to the SME sector.
The SME sector's contribution to the country's GDP is 25%. Overall, its contribution in the industrial sector is 32%, according to the SME Foundation.