In a special edition of Lessons Learned, I will be sharing insight from Duke Ivn Amin of Jago Nari, a women’s rights organization based in Bangladesh. He shares a unique global perspective on how socially conscious businesses can find success while economically and socially empowering the communities they serve.
“This is the time for globalization. So don’t think nationally, think globally. Before you start a new business, every entrepreneur needs to think how their product or service is suitable for whole world. Though you are going to start a business within your national boundary, your aim should be to sell your product or service internationally.”
“Before you start a new business, collect some information about your competitor. Find out the answer to this question: ‘Why would the customer buy your product rather than your competitor?’”
Mr. Amin advises business owners to really identify your competitive advantage. He also suggests that owners collect information about their prospective customers including their income level. “Before you set a price for your product or service, make sure your target customer is able to afford this price.”
Mr. Amin continues with insight on the differences in how business is done in the two countries: “In Bangladesh, people can start their business easily but they need to receive permission from local government prior to starting a new business. Normally small business entrepreneur does not get any direct support from Government, and they must do everything by themselves.”
He explains that investment is big factor for Bangladeshi business entrepreneurs, and that banks and other insurance companies lend money to entrepreneurs only after 3 years of successfully operating their business. He goes on to say that the garments industry gets various privileges from government as well as other larger companies also get different benefits from their associations. On the other hand, Bangladesh is attractive place for foreign investor because of large population, economic growth, and low labor cost and government special policy for foreign direct investment (FDI). Last five years Bangladesh GDP was near about 6 percent. It indicates that Bangladesh is going to next business and trade place in South Asia.
“In USA, the government encourages people to start businesses in various ways like giving training and direct support to the businesses through organizations like the Women’s Business Development Center and state government department but these types of programs are totally absent in Bangladesh,” admits Mr. Amin.
He points out that some barriers to business in Bangladesh include a difficulty in getting government approvals to start business, fewer sources of capital and customers having difficulty in affording products and services. Modern technology isn’t readily available in Bangladesh, and as a result the online market is not very popular, however; businesses in Bangladesh or anywhere in the world can find success. “Successful businesses must find an innovative idea and create a realistic business plan around it. Business owners must possess management skills, confidence, honesty and the mentality to take a risk. They must focus on not only on how to make a profit, but also, how to increase their customer’s satisfaction.”
Finally, in terms of business, Mr. Amin wants to say all young people, “Don’t think of it as a just good job for you, but think of it as way to create business and give a good job for others.”
About Duke Ivn Amin
Duke Ivn Amin completed his graduate and post graduate in business; his major was marketing earning Cum Laude in post graduate school. Last year, Duke completed Fredskorpset fellowship at the Human Rights and Community radio in Thailand and Nepal; it was funded by the Norwegian Government. He is now here as a U.S. Department of State Professional Congress Fellow. He is currently the Fundraising and Communication Officer at Jago Nari.
Jago Nari was started by a group of like-minded, qualified and experienced women in 1998 with the vision to help the poor people in Barguna, a coastal district in the southern part of Bangladesh, which is underdeveloped in terms of a socio-economic perspective as well as in livelihood. Jago Nari is a non political, non-profit, rights-based, non-government organization (NGO) committed to participate in and promote national development through upgrading the socio-economic condition and promoting and protecting the rights of the disadvantaged, deprived and impoverished communities of the society.
At first, Jago Nari started its activities in a rights-based approach among poor and working women in the urban and rural areas of Barguna sadar upazilla, the main district. Nowadays, the organization has expanded its activities to 10 locations of Barguna and Patuakhali districts with different programs, with some diverse ideas and concepts with greater zeal and enthusiasm through the assistance of government organizationss, NGOs and local people. Jago Nari believes that true development can be ensured by establishing human rights and eradicating poverty through providing different support to distressed communities. It also believes that men and women have same rights to survive. Jago Nari’s philosophy is if organization can create more effective communication with community it serves, it will reap better results, however, without involving community, the organization does not give 100 percent to the community. For that reason, Jago Nari is working with the communities it serves to provide the same rights for men and women.