Outstanding Women in Business – Selima Ahmed

It was a proud moment for Bangladeshi women in Business when she was honored with the Oslo Business Award, ever since then Selima Ahmed has committed herself to help women entrepreneurs turn their micro businesses to more ambitious endeavors. President and founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), Ahmed realized that the biggest struggle of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh is to establish themselves as ‘real business woman’. Opening a business is simpler said than done. A woman, who is running a venture, needs to know how to set cost of her items/administrations, she needs to know how to do bookkeeping, she needs to know the level of business sector aggressiveness, to know why should contenders, think about the business sector insight, item quality, and configuration advancement.

On top of that, there are certain entrepreneurial aptitudes that are imperative for an entrepreneur to become successful. Blending these two things together, knowing a wide range of things is the greatest challenge for women entrepreneurs. It is not because women entrepreneurs lack the intelligence or the capacity, however issue lies in somewhere else, they do not have enough platforms and support.

Keeping that in mind, Ahmed initiated BWCCI in 2001. From its initiation, BWCCI has been working for the enhancement of women entrepreneurs of Bangladesh. They have launched several projects along with the local and international partners such as Canadian CIDA, USAID etc. The journey of Selima Ahmed was not all smooth, she faced quite a number of obstacles during the initial stages of BWCCI – one of them was during the process of getting a license for BWCCI. Many of existing business communities and trade bodies opposed to the formation of the chamber and they filed cases against the formation of the chamber.

Graduated from Stanford University, Selima Ahmad has been working for the private sector development for over 28 years and has helped promote the development of many women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, she believes that true leaders are above family, country and friends, and lead because they have a higher calling, to reach and help as many as possible.

Tasnuba Sinha