Women entrepreneurs in the Bangladeshi restaurant business

The paper discusses the Restaurant Programme started for women in 1991 by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). A restaurant may be opened under individual ownership with a maximum loan of Taka 6500, after which a current account for the individual is opened with BRAC. This money is withdrawn in installments according to the entrepreneur's needs and repayment is collected in daily or weekly installments, with an interest rate of 20%. Like most rural restaurants, these enterprises sell tea, snacks, and meals. By January 1993, there were 273 'Shuruchi Restaurants' (restaurants for good food) all over the country. The paper reports on an exploratory study undertaken by BRAC's Research and Evaluation Division, involving five restaurants selected from Manikganj, Jamalpur, and Sherpur districts. The main focus was to examine how far women's entrepreneurial capacity has developed, and to assess whether women have control over their business. Rapid rural appraisal and participatory rural appraisal techniques were used for data collection. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development with Women.