"I am very proud today to describe myself as a female entrepreneur, even more so as nobody in my family has experience in business".
Farida was born in 1990 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She comes from a low-income family and says “when I was younger, the girls in similar families were given a good education but were not allowed to work”.
After completing her Master’s degree, with nothing to do during the daytime, she used to read the newspaper daily. Farida's father was already pressing her to find a job when one day, she noticed a Facebook advert for the Bangladesh Youth Enterprise Advice & Helpcentre (B'Yeah) inviting unemployed graduates to participate in their outreach training workshop.
She connected with B'Yeah in December 2017 as a project participant and took part in training courses on entrepreneurship development, the business selection process, business management and gender equality, among others. B'Yeah organised a mentor-mentee matching workshop and Farida matched with her mentor Ms. Momotaz Moqsood. She is very grateful to her mentor for the guidance regarding business development, an experience she regards as a turning point in her business life. After receiving the training and mentoring support, she became more hopeful and determined to become an entrepreneur. Farida received other support and services from B'Yeah such as business counseling, business plan guidance and company profile development.
Farida says, “As a woman, I knew a bit about hand knitting and thought I had enough knowledge”. She invested BDT 20,000 (around €200) from her own savings to purchase a machine, hired two knitters and started a business called ‘Farida's Handicraft’ boutiques in April 2018 in Mirpur-10, Dhaka. After starting the business, she realised that she knew almost nothing about product quality. Then she took part in another training on design development from the Youth Development Department under the ministry of Youth & Sports through B'Yeah. Slowly, Farida started to sell her products in the local market and occasionally even sold them to exporters.
In the meantime, B'Yeah arranged two small product exhibitions for entrepreneurs in February and August 2018 and she got the opportunity to exhibit three of her boutique products. This was Farida’s first public outing as an entrepreneur.
“Through B'Yeah, I also had a lot of opportunities to participate in various meetings, workshops, training, and seminars. These helped me in my personal development and to boost my confidence”.
Farida realised that to expand, business women need a network, but most young women entrepreneurs do not know how to create one. She became a member of the B'Yeah Youth Entrepreneurs Platform. Farida said "this network linked me with a large group of people I had never met before. I am trying my best to do something for other young people because without economic empowerment an individual cannot do enough". Currently, the business receives a net profit of BDT 20,000 – 40,000 (€ 200-400) on average per month. Now that her business is expanding rapidly, she has employed three full-time and seven part-time staff and the number of customers is also increasing significantly.
Today, Farida is proud to present herself as a young female entrepreneur with her own identity and not just somebody's daughter.
"I believe every young woman should have their own identity and it can be achieved if they are willing to work for it".