“I am proud to present myself as a young female entrepreneur and not just be known as someone’s daughter. Every young woman should be able to have their own identity and run their own business.”
Da Ching is 30 years old and comes from an indigenous community in the Bandarban district of Bangladesh. During her childhood, she struggled with illness and her family thought she was unlikely to achieve anything. She was determined to prove them wrong. She decided to move to Dhaka. This was a big change and initially she found it difficult to adjust. However, she started studying and graduated with an MA in 2011. Despite her education, she struggled to find employment.
During her studies, Da Ching created ornaments and posted pictures of them on Facebook. Her friends and family were impressed with her skills and liked and shared her posts. Soon, other people became interested in her work and started asking if they could order from her. This interest and her struggle to find a job gave Da Ching the idea of starting her own business. She created the Facebook page “Finery”, where she started selling her ornaments. However, she was unsure how to grow her business.
This changed when she met the organisation B’YEAH, Youth Business International’s member in Bangladesh, at an entrepreneurship summit in Dhaka. Inspired, she attended one of their outreach workshops in January 2019. After that, she received training on how to update her trade licensing and how to create a business plan. B’YEAH connected her to a mentor and helped her grow her networks, introducing her to other young entrepreneurs to share ideas and experiences. Da Ching notes that she now has a clear vision for her business over the next year. She highly values her mentor whom she can turn to for guidance and advice along the way.
Thanks to her hard work and the support she received from B’YEAH, Da Ching was able to open a shop in Dhaka in August 2019. She sells a range of products decorated with rickshaw art such as cups, teapots, tissue boxes and sunglasses. She also makes and sells key rings, wallets and mouse pads made from artificial leather. Her business continues to grow, and she now not only supports herself but also employs 14 people in her factory and shop.
Da Ching is always looking for opportunities to support her community through her business. She pays members of her community to make traditional dresses for women, which she sells online and in her shop. As well as supporting people to generate an income, this is a way to showcase their indigenous culture. She also recently started running courses at her shop where she teaches people to create their own rickshaw art, in exchange for a small fee. This supports people to explore their creativity and learn a new skill.