Esrat Jahan Chowdhury, Director at Bangladesh Jute Goods Exporter’s Association and Owner and Founder of TULiKA is a dynamic and visionary woman entrepreneur who is relentlessly working for the development of our Bangladesh’s Jute sector,
Recently Team Textile Focus had a conversation with Esrat Jahan Chowdhury. She shared her journey with Jute industry and future plan for this industry.
Textile Focus: What inspired you to join in the Jute sector and how you prepared yourself to run a big business?
Esrat Jahan Chowdhury: I have always been interested in business since school life. And I’m a very independent person. When I decided to quit my job, I would choose business as my profession for the rest of my life, the first thought that came to my mind was to sell my country’s products to people from other countries.
So I started looking for a product that is in great demand in foreign markets. Then I found out Jute. I did not have much experience in jute. So I go to different associations for training. I talk to many traders who work with jute. I went to various public and private jute mills.
We prepare ourselves in the way we need to do business. We work on how to find the buyer. My first job started with export. Later I set up the factory in a few days. At first I started with small orders but now I am ready for big orders.
Textile Focus: How do you want to contribute at BJGEA as elected director in the hard time of industry?
Esrat Jahan Chowdhury: BJGEA is one of the oldest associations in our country. For 50 years, the members of this association have been proudly exporting jute products to the world market. Member of this association are the exporters of traditional jute products as well as exporters of diversified products.
As a woman director, I was the first to walk with this association. Although jute was once the main cash crop in the country, now the market for jute has become unstable. As a traditional, old association, we will try our best to bring back the glory of jute.
Small jute entrepreneurs are in dire straits. The government, however, offers a 20 per cent incentive on exports of diversified goods. But small entrepreneurs are not able to get it. My main demand is that all the small entrepreneurs involved in jute in this country should get twenty percent incentive through Jute Goods Exporters Association. With all the small entrepreneurs, we can expand the export market, the small ones should not be neglected and we will play a stronger role in providing real opportunities to the traders.
Textile Focus: What is your future plan and how you want to contribute more to the sector?
Esrat Jahan Chowdhury: My company name is Tulika. I want to establish my company as a leading brand of handicraft and jute products in the domestic market as well as abroad. I want to have showrooms in every divisional city of the country. And I want to have partners outside the country so that my country’s products can be displayed in foreign showrooms.
I also have many plans and dreams for women entrepreneurs. Which I want to implement. There is a great desire to work with grassroots women. They are like sitting at home they can arrange to earn. And we will work on a large scale so that we can bring their skillful work to the world market. I want to increase exports greatly, so that more women are motivated to come and see me. If you work with the right morale, success comes when the goal is fixed. He needs to believe in himself, trust in God and keep working. Obstacles come in life, it is a part of life. We have to move forward by overcoming obstacles.