Coca-Cola Bangladesh along with United purpose, started the project women business centers (WBC) to assist rural women and enable them to a variety of services which supports and develops their income generating capacities. Bank Asia from now on will support this project by training these women entrepreneurs to become the Banking agents of Bank Asia. The main purpose of this training is not only to make the women entrepreneurs financially empowered but also to make the community more accessible to financial and banking services.
Coca-Cola recently invited a total 25 of their successful women entrepreneur at its Bhaluka plant in Mymensingh who were working with the WBC project since the begging of the project. They were invited to participate in an agent banking training conducted by Bank Asia.
WBC first started its journey with 10 business centers in January 2015 in Jamalpur, Khulna and Bagerhat Districts of the Northwest and Southwest of Bangladesh. By now, 40 centers have been established, with 40000 trained Entrepreneurs that benefitted the lives of rural community in many different ways. The services that the Women Business Center provides includes knowledge such as technical knowledge of agricultural production, selling inputs, marketing products, mobile flexi load, photocopy, scanning and nutrition services.
Present at the training to motivate the trainees were Tapas Kumar Mondol, Managing Director, International Beverage Private Limited (IBPL); Humaira Azam, Deputy Managing Director (DMD), Bank Asia; and Kate Hartley, Acting Country Director, United Purpose along with other high officials on behalf of their respective organizations.
The objectives of this training is to develop the knowledge of women entrepreneurs about the agent banking system, with a view to establish agent banking facilities at 10 women business centers (WBC) for providing financial services to 10000 women producers of the women business centers for buying and selling products. Bank Asia Limited has launched an agent banking scheme to increase access to financial services to the remote and rural producers and owners of micro, small and medium enterprises.
All the participants hailed from Jamalpur. After the inauguration of the plant, for the first time, women from the country’s remote northern areas got the scope to visit Coca-Colas newest plant in Bhaluka. It was a rare experience for these rural women, as for the first time in their life they got to the opportunity to watch the latest and sophisticated production process of Coca-Cola and were explained how the production process works and how the simple raw materials gets turned into the most famous and beloved beverage in the world.
Tapas Kumar Mondal, Managing Director, International Beverage Private Limited (IBPL) said “Coca-Cola’s 5by20 global vision started with the aim to globally pull five million marginalized women up through economic empowerment by 2020. Women workers in the rural areas of Bangladesh continues to face harder obstacles from balancing work and family to accessing financing, often arising from a lack of training and confidence. At Coca-Cola we always try our best to empower women and we are trying to do this through our 5by20 model in the form of Women Business Centers where we are providing relevant skills training to the rural women. I thank Bank Asia for selecting WBC women entrepreneurs to become their agent banking and support their community economy through financial services”.
Humaira Azam, Deputy Managing Director (DMD), Bank Asia said “From now these women is going to represent our bank. As an agent of Bank Asia they could generate good income through their agent commissions, as the more they transact the more financial rewards are going to receive. Bank Asia envisions changing their life for a better future and we are going to hand over their agent banking license very soon. We hope that it would be a very fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership for both of us”.