Young entrepreneurs in Bangladesh go digital to cope with COVID-19

Kaniz Fatema YBI - World Youth Skills Day

On World Youth Skills Day (15 July), as young entrepreneurs face unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, we’d like to thank our partners who are helping them develop new skills to weather the crisis.

Kaniz Fatema and Akhi Akhter Milli are two successful young women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. In a country where women account for only 4.3% of business owners, they are challenging stereotypes, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for other young women.

But due to the COVID-19 lockdown, both have had to close their shops and factories, threatening the survival of their businesses.

Our partner, Youth Business International (YBI), is helping them to take their businesses online and stay connected with their customers and employees through its Digital Accelerator Programme.

Livelihoods under threat

Kaniz runs a leather goods manufacturing business but had to pause production and close her shop to ensure the safety of her staff. She is now focusing on selling her existing stock online.

Akhi is in an even more difficult situation. The main source of income for her business is to provide beauty treatments and train others in how to give the treatments. It is impossible to provide either of these services under the current circumstances. Akhi is using online platforms to stay in touch with her clients and collaborate with online training agencies.

Akhi Akhter Milli, YBI

Kaniz and Akhi are both planning to reopen their businesses as soon as possible after the lockdown. However, they are worried about continuing challenges, such as shortages of key supplies and resources and losing staff who may be scared to return to work. They both emphasise that more government support is needed to ensure the survival of small businesses, specifically covering medical expenses of infected staff and providing cash grants and tax cuts.

Investing in new skills

As part of the Digital Accelerator Programme with the IKEA Foundation, YBI’s local member organisation B’YEAH is matching Kaniz and Akhi with mentors who will help them improve their digital skills and provide general crisis support. B’YEAH is also helping them and other entrepreneurs prioritise their next steps and provides a range of online support services with a focus on developing e-commerce and digital marketing skills.

Mahadhe Hasan, Programme Director of B’YEAH, said: “Digital capacities are vital for small businesses to stay connected to their customers in times of lockdown and social distancing and survive the current crisis. We need to invest in digital skills now to come out stronger on the other side of this pandemic.”

The IKEA Foundation has an ongoing partnership with YBI to enable young entrepreneurs in India and Bangladesh to create thriving businesses that boost their economies and create jobs in their local markets.

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  • โ€œWe are just at the beginning. A glorious future!โ€ - Ingvar Kamprad

Thanks to the incredible work of IKEA co-workers and our 248 partners on the ground, weโ€™ve been able to take meaningful steps towards tackling the two biggest threats to humanity: poverty and climate change ๐ŸŒ

Do you want to see what โ‚ฌ2 billion worth of impact looks like for #PeopleAndPlanet? Follow the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

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  • The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), a longstanding partner of the IKEA Foundation, has contributed to a growing demand for corporate decarbonisation.

In 2023 alone, the SBTi doubled its corporate validations. 4,204 companies have been validated so far for their ambitious emission reduction targets.

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Learn more about #FoodSystemsTransformation and the hidden food costs by following the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#FixFoodEconomics
โ€œWe are just at the beginning. A glorious future!โ€ - Ingvar Kamprad

Thanks to the incredible work of IKEA co-workers and our 248 partners on the ground, weโ€™ve been able to take meaningful steps towards tackling the two biggest threats to humanity: poverty and climate change ๐ŸŒ

Do you want to see what โ‚ฌ2 billion worth of impact looks like for #PeopleAndPlanet? Follow the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#ClimateChange #ClimateAction #Livelihoods
โ€œWe are just at the beginning. A glorious future!โ€ - Ingvar Kamprad

Thanks to the incredible work of IKEA co-workers and our 248 partners on the ground, weโ€™ve been able to take meaningful steps towards tackling the two biggest threats to humanity: poverty and climate change ๐ŸŒ

Do you want to see what โ‚ฌ2 billion worth of impact looks like for #PeopleAndPlanet? Follow the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#ClimateChange #ClimateAction #Livelihoods
โ€œWe are just at the beginning. A glorious future!โ€ - Ingvar Kamprad

Thanks to the incredible work of IKEA co-workers and our 248 partners on the ground, weโ€™ve been able to take meaningful steps towards tackling the two biggest threats to humanity: poverty and climate change ๐ŸŒ

Do you want to see what โ‚ฌ2 billion worth of impact looks like for #PeopleAndPlanet? Follow the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#ClimateChange #ClimateAction #Livelihoods
โ€œWe are just at the beginning. A glorious future!โ€ - Ingvar Kamprad Thanks to the incredible work of IKEA co-workers and our 248 partners on the ground, weโ€™ve been able to take meaningful steps towards tackling the two biggest threats to humanity: poverty and climate change ๐ŸŒ Do you want to see what โ‚ฌ2 billion worth of impact looks like for #PeopleAndPlanet? Follow the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”— #ClimateChange #ClimateAction #Livelihoods
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This is stated in the first-ever Annual Report of our partner @hugheshallcam, who worked on the Climate Governance Initiative.

With a strong focus on impact, the initiative educates and equips corporate non-executive board members with the tools to address climate change in their businesses, and beyond. 

The Climate Governance Initiative is a global network dedicated to mobilising boards to accelerate the transition to net-zero and build climate resilience, and is now reaching 100,000+ business leaders worldwide. 

Read the Annual Report via the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#ClimateSolutions #PeopleAndPlanet @worldeconomicforum
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In 2023 alone, the SBTi doubled its corporate validations. 4,204 companies have been validated so far for their ambitious emission reduction targets.

Whatโ€™s more, the SBTi has now been granted charitable status, taking its place as an independent entity and using our $18m funding pledge to drive ambitious corporate #ClimateAction ๐ŸŒ

Read more about this exciting news by following the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”— #CorporateClimateAction
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Insights from our partner FSECโ€™s new Global Policy Report highlight the urgent need to transform food systems and the enormous benefits of doing so for #PeopleAndPlanet. ๐ŸŒ

The #HiddenFoodCosts continue to accumulate โ€” within the 10 seconds you spent reading this post, another $4,684,155 was incurredโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ’ธ 

We need to act now to transition to food systems that are good for people and the planet. 

Learn more about #FoodSystemsTransformation and the hidden food costs by following the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”—

#FixFoodEconomics
โฐ Every second counts when trying to transform our broken food system. Insights from our partner FSECโ€™s new Global Policy Report highlight the urgent need to transform food systems and the enormous benefits of doing so for #PeopleAndPlanet. ๐ŸŒ The #HiddenFoodCosts continue to accumulate โ€” within the 10 seconds you spent reading this post, another $4,684,155 was incurredโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ’ธ We need to act now to transition to food systems that are good for people and the planet. Learn more about #FoodSystemsTransformation and the hidden food costs by following the link in our bio ๐Ÿ”— #FixFoodEconomics
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