Silatech has announced a partnership with BRAC, the world’s largest development organisation, to promote youth income generation through financial inclusion and unlock access to finance for 684,212 youth in Bangladesh to become self-employed.
The project, Unlocking Financial Solutions for Youth Enterprise Development was signed on the sidelines of the 78th edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on 17 September 2023.
It aims to address the lack of access to traditional financing resources for the youth of Bangladesh who seek to sustain, start, or expand their income-generating ventures.
Over the course of three years, the project will provide financing products to young people who do not have access to traditional banking services. Moreover, it will offer financial literacy and entrepreneurial training programmes to enhance the sustainability of their ventures and improve the financial literacy and capabilities of youth entrepreneurs.
The lack of access to formal financing is a significant challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh, with the World Bank estimating a financing gap of US$2.8 billion. This gap is particularly pronounced for women-led SMEs, as 60 percent of them lack collateral.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges, leading to reduced income, job loss, and limited financial access for youth. The project seeks to bridge this financial gap and create meaningful economic opportunities for young people and their families.
“By promoting youth income generation through financial inclusion and empowering Bangladesh’s youth, we are confident that this project will significantly improve their livelihoods, create more employment opportunities within their ventures, and drive sustainable economic growth. Bangladesh has a huge youth population with few opportunities as it is the densest country in the world, and we are excited to partner with BRAC, the world’s largest development organisation to help reduce the suffering of many youth due to lack of access to financial solutions" said Hassan Al Mulla, Silatech CEO.
Asif Saleh, the Executive Director of BRAC said, "BRAC believes in power of youth to drive economic growth. We are extending microfinance services and combining it with financial literacy, and entrepreneurship training to young entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds. Our client-centric approach ensures tailored financial products, while mentorship and capacity building would help the young entrepreneurs fuel the growth of their businesses. We are excited to be partnering with Silatech in testing this innovative model to support young entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. This will help us not only to design more effective products but also understand and manage risks better."
This partnership marks an important step towards youth economic empowerment and creating a more equitable and prosperous future for disadvantaged communities.