Job opportunities and business support project (JOBS), Bangladesh, IRIS, 2004

    The Job Opportunities and Business Support (JOBS) Project is an integrated private sector development program funded by USAID/Bangladesh and implemented by the Center for Institutional Reform and Informal Sector (IRIS) at the University of Maryland. Since 1997 the Project has worked to assist Bangladeshi enterprises to expand their sales in domestic and international markets through a variety of interrelated activities including identifying sub-sectors that offer significant growth potential, selecting and building the capacity of small and medium enterprises to manufacture diversified export products, coordinating skill development training for workers, coordinating the provision of international technical assistance, assisting in product development and improvement, developing international and domestic markets, facilitating loans, and coordinating technical assistance to the government to develop a supportive policy and regulatory environment.

    The Project has been assisting in the development of various sectors including leather goods, footwear, home textiles, floor coverings, diversified jute products since its inception. Recently it added handmade paper products, diversified coconut products, personal protective equipment, electrical products, and information technology to its target sectors.

    For the development of each sector, a market-driven methodology is applied: locate an international market, get buy-in from entrepreneurs, invite an international expert to produce samples for the target market, participate in trade fairs to obtain orders, develop a skilled work force through cluster-based training, backward link the entrepreneur/lead buyer to the clusters (or link small and medium enterprises with upstream micro-enterprises), and facilitate entrepreneurs' access to finance.

    JOBS also works with clusters or associations of micro entrepreneurs, linking them to markets or SMEs as subcontractors and facilitating access to training, technical assistance and finance.

    JOBS is working in various fields of ICT, including e-governance, e-commerce, e-policy, and e-human resources development. JOBS has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve the enabling environment for SME and micro-enterprises in Bangladesh.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »Identification of Employment Oriented Export Sectors, Bangladesh, IRIS, 2005
    Synthesis Documents
    »The Annual BDS Seminar, September 2003