Dutch SMEs that would like to undertake international corporate social responsibility can make use of various services that are made available by the Dutch government. Entrepreneurs were given an overview of the latest developments and opportunities in the rapidly developing country at a well-attended networking event in the Bangladesh House in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, on January 28. Also an investment fund of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was presented which SMEs can use to finance their trade initiatives.
The network gathering had been organized by the Bangladesh Embassy in The Hague and the Netherlands Bangladesh Business Platform. This platform is an initiative of the Dutch Embassy in Bangladesh and Nyenrode Business University. The activities of the Business Platform include organizing trade missions for Dutch SMEs. The platform’s website, www.nbb.org, provides information and research reports on doing business in Bangladesh. At the networking event Dutch entrepreneurs were able to meet diplomats from Bangladesh, to discuss best practices and to exchange experiences.
Through the Business Platform SMEs can benefit from government programs and the extensive network of the helpful embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Which recently was awarded with the Fenedex Embassy Price from various business organizations. Due to excellent information availability and relatively low investment thresholds, trade missions to Bangladesh are a great opportunity for SMEs. SMEs often don’t have the expertise to carry out the process to international trade on their own. The involvement of dignitaries creates opportunities and results in contracts to be signed more quickly. The Dutch SMEs possess much knowledge where Bangladesh companies can benefit from and with which Dutch companies can make profit – for example in the field of IT, logistics, agro-food and water management.
The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) has been presented at the networking event. This financing fund has been set up by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is designed to support SMEs who do business with developing countries and emerging markets such as Bangladesh. These entrepreneurs often make a major contribution to the economic and social improvement in these countries. Through a revolving fund the DGGF offers tailor made financing to complement private investments or when entrepreneurs aren’t able to get financing through banks.
From aid to trade The relationship between Bangladesh and the Netherlands shifts from traditional development aid to sustainable trade and investments, as declared by Nyenrode’s Professor International Business Strategy, Désiree van Gorp: ‘Research shows great opportunities for Dutch companies in the food production and processing, water management, logistics and IT outsourcing. Due to strong economic growth Bangladesh is less dependent on development projects. Bangladesh offers increasing opportunities for a sustainable economic relationship. Outsourcing with care for people, planet, and profit is a good example of the Dutch agenda for aid, trade, and investments.’