Potential of Small and Medium Enterprises

SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) are treated as the engines of growth and drivers of innovation worldwide. They play a significant role in driving economic growth and generating jobs.

In Bangladesh, the sector is actually changing the face of the economy. SMEs are playing a vital role for the country’s accelerated industrialisation and economic growth, employment generation and reducing poverty.

SMEs now occupy an important position in the national economy. They account for about 45 percent of manufacturing value addition, about 80 percent of industrial employment, about 90 percent of total industrial units and about 25 percent of the labour force. Their total contribution to export earnings varies from 75 percent to 80 percent.The industrial sector makes up 31 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), most of which is coming from SMEs.

The total number of SMEs in Bangladesh is estimated to be 79,754 establishments. Of them, 93.6 percent are small and 6.4 percent are medium. The 2003 Private Sector Survey estimated that there are about 6 million micro, small and medium enterprises, with fewer than 100 employees. About 60 to 65 percent of all SMEs are located outside the metropolitan areas of Dhaka and Chittagong.

The country’s SME sector has created 15 lakh jobs between 2009 and June 2014. Now, private and foreign banks disburse half of all farm loans and a third of these are going to SMEs.

Potential of SMEs

Every year about 2 million young people join the country’s workforce. Half of them find jobs at home or abroad. So, it has become a challenge to create more jobs so that the rest can be employed. SMEs can be an answer to the problem.

The target of achieving double-digit growth hinges largely on the performance of the small and medium enterprises.  In a labour surplus country like Bangladesh, SMEs can play a substantial role in providing the impetus to the development of the modern manufacturing sector and the job creation outside the agriculture and informal sectors.

In Bangladesh, people exhibit lesser ability in processing capital and machinery. SMEs are labour intensive but relatively low capital intensive. For a developing country like Bangladesh, SMEs are a cost effective way towards the reduction of unemployment. Since Bangladesh has not yet displayedadequate performance in large-scale industries that are predominantly owned and operated by public bodies, the country can solve its unemployment situation by encouraging SMEs. Seasonal and disguised unemployment can also be solved to a substantial extent by SMEs.

SME can reduce the urban migration in the capital and other major cities, increase cash flow in rural areas, and thereby enhance the standard of living of the rural people. SMEs are widely distributed all over the country which means developing SMEs will play a major role in bridging the urban-rural income gap and contribute towards inclusive growth. In a way, inclusive growth can only be achieved through a vibrant SME sector in a country like Bangladesh.

Strategic leadership and its importance

If visionary leaders were given a blueprint for solving a problem and then strived to align all parts of the company with this new objective, then you would have a strategic leader. Strategic leaders have a vision they are moving toward, but unlike visionary leaders, these individuals do care about the meticulous details and move past inspiration to manage the company to success. If a company is trying to get all departments on the same page toward one goal, or need to streamline processes better to accomplish an objective; strategic leaders are the best people for the job. They tend to think big picture, but they also consider the steps needed to reach the other side.

The Importance of Strategic Leadership

Strategic leaders are known for thinking ahead, preparing for succession, and implementing a strategy. If companies are struggling in these areas, then it would make sense to take a look at bringing in a strategic leader.

The modern workplace has a major issue with leadership succession and strategy implementation:

56 percent of organizations are not ready to meet leadership needs. They are not training up the next generation of leaders to take over after current workers retire.

77 percent of organizations overall are experiencing a leadership gap. The learning and development used to train leaders are largely missing in most organizations.

In a PwC survey, of the 700 executives questioned, only 16 percent were rated as effective in strategy or execution, and eight percent were rated as effective in both.

70 percent of leaders spend less than a day a month on reviewing strategy.

30 percent of companies cite failure to coordinate across units as the single greatest challenge to executing their company’s strategy.

Why Franchising Is Becoming Increasingly Popular?

In the four years to 2017, the UK franchise industry grew by 10%, now contributing 15.1 billion pounds to the UK economy.  Around 621,000 people are employed within businesses operated by over 900 franchise brands – a 70% increase between 2006 and 2016.  So, why is franchising proving such a successful business model and what message does that send to someone contemplating purchasing a franchise?

In a world where work-life balance is an ever-popular topic of discussion, and where redundancies are always in the news, self-employment is becoming more attractive to many people. However, half of all independent new businesses fail within their first two years whilst 90% of franchise businesses become profitable in that same period of time.

The difference is striking and here are 10 possible reasons why.

Tried and Tested Strategies

When a franchisee buys a franchise, they are buying into a business that has already proved itself in its market.  The franchisor has been through the early teething problems that all new businesses face and has refined the business tactics and operations plan accordingly.  In effect, a franchisee buys a business that has already undergone a test phase and is now operating as a thriving enterprise, because of the lessons learned.

Brand Recognition

The new franchisee instantly benefits from the brand recognition that the franchisor has already established within the market. This provides a great competitive advantage for the new business owner, as the consumer and business introducers should already be aware of what the brand stands for.  This can help a franchisee quickly take market share.

A Proven Model

Many thousands of franchisees have already proved that the franchise model, in general, works highly effectively and can deliver tangible benefits to a franchisee.  By buying a franchise, a franchisee can work within a framework that can predict the turnover and profitability that could be achieved, if the franchisee follows the model and the suggested way of doing things.  This is a real ‘comfort blanket’ for a franchisee, giving them an idea of the targets that can be attained, according to what other franchisees have done, rather than operating in the dark, as most new business owners do.

It has been suggested that a Model is probably most likely to be  “proven” when the franchisor has been operating for a minimum of 5 years.

Compliance

Complying with sector-specific and general UK legislation can be a minefield for many new business owners, who have to fathom what they need to do and how they can be compliant with what are often limited resources.  In a franchise business, the franchisor takes charge of much of this, having devised operating systems and procedures that already handle the requirements of the law and having HR and legal advisors or managers who can assist the franchisee in this regard.

Marketing

Marketing is an area in which many start-up businesses struggle, partly because of cost and often because it is out of their comfort zone.  By buying a franchise business, they can benefit from the marketing campaigns run by the franchisor, its marketing literature and its social media presence.  This takes a lot of pressure off their shoulders, in an area beyond their comfort zone.

Role of women in corporate business

Anyone who has attended any corporate function where all staffs are together will agree with me that this is still men dominated industry. However, LifeSci Advisors have confirmed that their current survey shows hat the number of women in the corporate world is increasing as firms emphasis on gender balance. Women do have a role to play in the business industry, and more of them should join to make it better than it is. This publication will highlight their role and how to hire them.

They bring gender equality

woman with black suit Most state struggle to bring genders equality laws into reality. While the law varies according to different constitutions, almost all states across the world seem to have a challenge with filling the gap. The more women enter into the corporate world; the more countries fulfill the gender equality balance they work so hard to pass. In fact, it is a norm to see most corporate institutions encouraging ladies to apply whenever they advertise a position.

Women have better relationship building skills

As a common knowledge, everyone understands that women relate better at workplace particularly in the leadership roles. Consequently, they build stronger relationships with other organizations, partners, and shareholders at large. This kind of relationship helps any organization to grow as every business requires other partners to succeed. A good company to company camaraderie is not only healthy but also reduces various conflicts that can pull its operations backward.

They create a healthy economy

woman with black suitWhen more women are in higher positions in the corporate world, there is a balance on distributions of money and wealth on average. Therefore, the economy has a balance rather than more men earning more income on overall. The ladies expenditure is not the same as those of women both on matters relating to job and personal. In this regard, women being in a corporate world plays a crucial role in creating an overall healthy economy.

Women in communication

Women communicate in a better way than men according to various research results. Corporate leaders with better communication skills create harmony both internally externally. Any company requires a smooth flow of instructions and any other communication for better results in productivity. Similarly, women can engage more investors and shareholders with benefit in an attempt to expand the business. They will also create better communication channels in the marketing department for better sales.

Entrepreneurship Challenges in Bangladesh

As an entrepreneur based out of Bangladesh, I faced (and still face) a number of challenges. See if you can relate to any of them!

  1. Social Stigma

This is perhaps the most difficult of the challenges one has to wade through in Bangladesh as far as entrepreneurial pursuit is concerned. Starting from family, friends to acquaintances, most people are negatively and heavily prejudiced towards entrepreneurs. One of the reasons is that the society stereotypically brands entrepreneurs as ethically challenged and usually looks down upon them compared to professionals. Alongside that, there is also a risk factor when you are doing business compared to when you are a professional. As a result, family and friends discourage the idea of entrepreneurship.

  1. Capital

Usually capital comes from either taking loans from financial institutions or using one’s own savings. Compared to other developed nations, Bangladesh has a significantly higher interest rate. The average interest rate on loans was between 10–12% in January 2018. This reflects how taking loans is very expensive in Bangladesh. The financial organizations also make it very difficult for new businesses to take loans. This is a big obstacle many business owners face when trying to acquire capital. On the other hand FDR rate in Bangladesh is very high compared to other countries. Different institutions provide different rates but it still goes as high as 9.75%. Due to this the opportunity cost of using savings as the capital for a business becomes extremely high, as any given new business can yield a mere 10–15% profit on a good day. Hence, most investors shy away from investing in new businesses and keep their savings as FDR instead.

Education in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh —  There are an estimated 16.4 million children between the ages of six and 10 in Bangladesh. With such a high number of primary school aged children, the country is bound to face challenges in its education system. Although education’s accessibility has improved during the last decade, issues still exist for children attending school in Bangladesh.

Primary education is available to all children in Bangladesh. It is free and compulsory until the fifth grade. To make this possible, the Ministry of Education and outside supporters have established more physical learning spaces. In the last 10 years, over 30,000 classrooms have been built in Bangladesh. Many children attend school during these years because accessibility has improved so much.

Once the children attend these schools, however, they experience difficulties. The average student completes the five years of primary education in eight or nine years. Only 55 percent of students complete the full five years.

Like many developing countries, Bangladesh suffers from a severe lack of qualified teachers. The current number of teachers cannot accommodate the country’s successes in improving accessibility for children. The current teacher-to-student ratio is one to 49.

High student-to-teacher ratios make learning in a classroom difficult, especially when it is not the only challenge that the students face. Language is often another obstacle.

Students enroll in school at a young age, often only knowing the specific language of their area of upbringing. There are many native dialects in Bangladesh that teachers cannot accommodate in the classroom. However, conditions are improving thanks to the United Nations Development Programme.

The UNDP recognizes the importance of children’s education in developing countries and the value of preserving native languages. With funding from the European Union, the UNDP has made multilingual education possible in many schools in rural areas of Bangladesh. This makes education more possible for the children, as well as the teachers who no longer have to compete with such significant language barriers.

Compared to many other countries, Bangladesh’s primary education system is doing well. The number of students that receive some form of education is relatively high. Gender inequality is not a problem at the primary level. There are actually more girls enrolled at the primary level than boys.

Bangladesh’s secondary education level has more problems. Because it takes children so long to complete the five years of primary education, drop-out rates are very high at the secondary level, especially for females. The smaller number of secondary pupils is comprised of mostly males.

The UNDP is working to make secondary education in Bangladesh more appealing. One of its initiatives is to make vocational education more common at this level so that students will be more enticed to stay in school and earn proper training for a job after graduation.

Like primary education, tertiary education in Bangladesh is more successful than other countries in the area. The country has 11 government-run universities and 20 private institutions for higher learning. Specialized education options are available at the tertiary level for those interested in agriculture, engineering and technology, medicine and, most recently, maritime education.

Diversity Issues in Career Development

In the early 1970s, the field of vocational psychology began to focus on diverse factors related to career development. Recent trends indicate a sustained increase in the vocational psychology and career development literature pertaining to diversity issues since the early 1990s. These shifts have been fueled in part by the changing demographic patterns in society and the increasing numbers of women and individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups comprising the labor force. As the face of the labor force has changed over time, concerns regarding how the field has (a) understood and defined the career development process, (b) conducted vocational research, and (c) trained career counseling professionals for helping a broad range of individuals have been addressed. Today, diversity issues are considered to be crucial in understanding an individual’s career development and decision-making process, and diversity issues have become a major focus within the field. As the U.S. population continues to grow increasingly diverse, career counseling professionals will need to be more responsive to the needs of this changing population. When addressing issues of diversity, it is important to note that these discussions should not be limited to race and ethnicity. Career counseling professionals also need to be attuned to the influence of gender, sexual orientation, ability status, socioeconomic status, and other societal and structural factors that influence career development in a variety of ways.

Diversity Issues

As social beings, the environments within which people live and learn have an enormous impact on career development. The opportunities afforded to individuals, the resources at their disposal, and the social framework within which people live all interact and contribute to their sense of self and their awareness and knowledge of various career options. Thus, it is critical that a range of personal and societal factors be taken into consideration in attempting to understand an individual’s career development process.

Individual Factors

Gender

From the moment a child is born, a powerful and pervasive socialization process occurs in which girls and boys begin to learn what is expected and socially acceptable behavior based on their gender. This socialization process influences the type of play, leisure, and academic activities children tend to engage in and the development of children’s schemas of appropriate gender roles. In addition, this socialization influences how individuals in the child’s life will interact with the child and the types of behaviors that are reinforced. Researchers indicate that by the time children are 8 years old, they have developed a sense of what occupations are acceptable and unacceptable for their gender. Thus, children’s experiences and gender role schemas have an impact on the types of occupations they consider as adolescents and young adults (e.g., nurse for women, doctor for men).

In the adult years, gender socialization continues to affect the career development of men and women in significant ways. For example, women who are employed outside of the house often struggle with balancing multiple roles and might feel that their roles and responsibilities at work and home are in direct conflict with one another. On the other hand, men may experience immense pressure to achieve at work and to be the main breadwinner for the family. The stress to be successful and to provide for the family to maintain a certain lifestyle may influence the types of career and positions that men consider appropriate. In addition, because a man’s personal identity may be highly associated with his work, a man’s psychological well-being may be at risk in the event of job loss or underachievement in the work setting. Though changing social norms and work opportunities have lead to an increase in the number of women entering traditionally male-dominated occupations (and to a lesser extent men entering female-dominated occupations), the impact that gender socialization has on career development continues to be a significant source of influence in the career selections and satisfaction of both men and women.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity have been identified as factors that warrant consideration in the career development process. From both a personal and societal perspective, race and ethnicity can influence the types of occupations perceived as acceptable and accessible. For example, from a personal perspective, one’s racial and ethnic identity (the extent to which one identifies as a member of a particular racial or ethnic group) can influence the types of occupations individuals consider as possible options. In part, this perception may be influenced by the type of learning experiences and opportunities to which racial and ethnic minority members have been exposed as well as the availability of role models from their racial or ethnic group in various career fields. From a societal perspective, racial and ethnic discrimination and oppression may lead members of racial and ethnic minority groups to eliminate occupations they perceive as inaccessible to them. Thus, the impact of race and ethnicity on career development of diverse individuals needs to be examined from both a phenomenological as well as a societal point of view.

Overview of CMO network

In a hyperconnected world with the far-reaching power of digital, social and mobile media; the customer is king. Harnessing the customer experience, personalisation and brand development in an all mobile, all social world and becoming more data and content driven means CMOs are on an evolving journey of transforming marketing to a growth engine though customer insight.

Creating cutting edge marketing programmes by implementing new technologies, data and insights is at the top of every CMO’s agenda. The CMO of the future will get closer to their customers than ever before, driving transformational change across their organisations through the use of Big Data, Customer Analytics as well as emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, and VR.

The CMO Network brings together the leaders in Marketing, Communications, Digital and Engagement from the largest enterprises globally to share best practice case studies, discuss the changes and opportunities facing the industry as well as to network with their peers in an intimate setting that is closed to the media and run under the Chatham House Rule.

New Challenges in Career Planning

A number of special areas challenge us today in career planning: culturally deprived minorities, women workers, demands of young people, and the shift in age distribution, to name some of the more important. Let’s look at the nature of each of these problems.

Culturally deprived minorities. In the United States, laws prohibit discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, age, or national origin. Both public and private moneys have contributed to training programs to teach skills to so-called hardcore unemployables. But as one job corps placement officer says: “We can train people, but this doesn’t necessarily make them employable!” At best, it provides an entree to work. To stay in the job once obtained requires more than skill. It requires good work habits, team contribution, a view of one’s job in the perspective of others it touches-in fact, life habits that adapt to the regimen of organized daily work. To help the minority worker acquire these characteristics involves long-range, complicated interaction with him-one that we do not yet understand. But to obtain and keep a first job is hardly the American dream. The old dream (and there is no reason to suppose that it has died) is to have the opportunity to advance at least a little way up the ladder. So the career advancement problem (barely explored, much less resolved) of the minority worker shares the limelight with employability on a modest basis now, but it will surely gain increasing significance in the years ahead. Its resolution will contribute much to the satisfactory outcome of the ongoing social revolution.

Women. The most common reason firms give for failing to employ women or to consider them seriously for promotion opportunities is that they will leave to marry, to have a child, or to follow their husbands to a new career opportunity in a different geographic location. A number of things are happening to play down the validity of this argument. First, there appears to be a trend toward greater mobility among males, so that the relative position of men and women is now more even. Second, changes in social mores and values have contributed to the desire and need for married women to remain in the workforce. Third, both fear of overpopulation and improved understanding of birth control methods have decreased the birth rate. But while the trend is down, nevertheless, from a career standpoint, the typical woman worker probably must plan for an interrupted career. This poses problems for her and for the organization she joins. Yet the law says: “No

In addition, the psychological problem of men reporting to women must be faced and resolved by both sexes if promotions are to be available equally. Fortunately, the trends toward greater democracy and participation in managing bode well. And the concept of the manager’s role that plays down its ascendancy should not only help the woman to assume managerial rank but also allow her to achieve stature and full rewards as a professional, contributor as well.

Demands of young people. The rate at which we are adding information in all fields, the improvements in teaching methods, and the multiplicity of communications media are helping to provide the young college graduate entering the workforce with greater knowledge qualifications than ever before. He also brings with him impatience, a cavalier attitude toward long-standing policies, a questioning mind, and non-acceptance of many of the working values of an earlier age. Young people place greater emphasis on human relationships than did previous generations. They expect more of their employers. They look upon their careers as means of realizing their potential. But many do not see work as a 24-hour-a-day responsibility; they do not see a single employer as deserving of lifelong loyalty unless it serves their interests. They are quite accustomed to thinking in terms of world opportunity, and they are less tied to a single geographic location. Frequently the product of a broken home, they place a high value on and expect to work toward a close, meaningful marital relationship. Therefore they won’t buy the 24-hour-a-day job. And so their work habits are likely to be different from those of people in the current workforce. This poses problems for them and for their employers. New systems are needed to release their great capabilities for useful results and to help them achieve that first promotion quickly and soundly.