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Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies and is expected to become the 24th largest economy in the world by 2030 (NHDR 2022, ERD). While it was primarily an agricultural economy in 1971, the composition has shifted towards industry and services over the past decades. The informal sector has become the engine of growth for sustainable development in our economy and plays an important role in employment creation. Majority (84.9%) of employed labour in the country is engaged in informal sector where females (96.6%) are more involved than the males (78.4%) (Labour Force Survey 2022).

The micro-enterprise (ME) has been playing a significant role in relieving hunger, ensuring good health, and building foundation for inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and sustainable industrialization. Majority of Bangladeshi youths are either employed in the informal sector or self-employed with low income and productivity. Continuous expansion of the micro-enterprise has been contributing to poverty alleviation but it needs further improvement for the sustainable growth. In order to facilitate the growth of micro-enterprise, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) initiated the Agrosor program in 2001 to offer financing support for the MEs through its Partner Organizations (POs). In continuation of this, PKSF has been providing financial and technical support to strengthen the micro-enterprises through various projects; such as Micro-Finance and Technical Support (MFTS), Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC), Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE), Rural Microenterprise Transformation Project (RMTP), Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) and Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) among others.

In 2018, the World Bank in association with PKSF, carried out a Gap Analysis Study in order to identify the gaps in the services provided under the micro-enterprise programs/projects so that these could be properly addressed. From this study, it was found that the micro-enterprises in the informal sector are constrained by lack of skills of the entrepreneurs including life-skills, entrepreneurial skills and technical skills; lack of access to finance especially for the start-ups and those entrepreneurs are falling behind; use of low-technology which causes lower productivity; and substantial gender gaps in labour market outcomes among others. In addition to that, many skilled youths including females prefer to be self-employed; however, due to lack of business knowledge and start-up capital constraints they are unable to do so. The need for targeted labour market programs for those in the informal sector, especially urban and peri-urban youth, has been made more urgent by the recent COVID-19 crisis, due to the urban and peri-urban informal sector being disproportionately affected by the COVID related shocks. In this context, PKSF has undertaken the ‘Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE)’ Project in February 2022 jointly financed by the World Bank and PKSF. The RAISE project will facilitate employability and increase productivity of informal sector, and provide financial assistance to 175,000 low-income youths, micro-entrepreneur and COVID-19 affected micro-entrepreneurs in urban and peri-urban areas across the country. PKSF will implement the project through its 70 POs. In addition to this, the RAISE project has another component on recovery and reintegration of COVID-affected returnee migrants which will be implemented by the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) under the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare & Overseas Employment.

Project Components

*This component is being solely implemented by WEWB

Objective:  The overall objective of the project implemented by PKSF is to enhance the access to earning opportunities for low-income youth, including COVID-affected youth in urban and peri-urban areas.

Specific Objectives:


Target Participants

Target Participants

Total Number of Participants

COVID-affected micro-entrepreneurs receiving microfinance support


Low-income youth and micro-entrepeneurs accessing business management track*


Low-income youth accessing apprenticeship track*


*35% of participants under this category will be female

Youths from disadvantaged groups, e. g. Dalit; ethnic minorities; inhabitants of char, haor, hill tracts, tea estate and coastal areas; and persons with disabilities will get priority to be enrolled in this project.


Economic Inclusion Programs under the RAISE Project

The project aims to enhance economic inclusion of low-income youth and micro-entrepreneurs in urban and peri-urban areas. The services include skill-acquisition through informal apprenticeship, business management training, and access to credit, among other interventions. The project participants are low-income, less educated youth living in urban and peri-urban areas. The potential path of a participant for the economic inclusion program can be illustrated as follows.

Source: RAISE Project Operational Manual

Inclusive Finance: COVID-affected micro-entrepreneurs who were previous borrowers of the PO and are in need of financial assistance will receive inclusive finance on easy terms under the project to restore their enterprise/business. The project is also providing inclusive finance for the expansion of microenterprises by young micro-entrepreneurs. In addition, the project will finance new microenterprises by the apprentices who have successfully completed the apprenticeship program under the project. The master craftspersons (MCPs) included in the project will be eligible for loans.

Capacity Enhancement:

Risk Management and Business Continuity (RMBC) Training COVID-19 Affected Micro-entrepreneurs: In order to develop the capacities of these micro-entrepreneurs, they will be provided training on Risk Management and Business Continuity. Informal sector micro-entrepreneurs are exposed to various risk factors including man-made and natural disasters but do not usually have the capacity to deal with those. Through this training, the micro-entrepreneurs will learn how to incorporate risk management, coping, and business continuity in the event of a shock. This will help the local youth build their capacities to secure sustainable employment for themselves which will, in turn, help them to support their families and contribute to national economy.

Business Management and Entrepreneurship Development (BMED) Training for Young Micro-entrepreneurs: 85.1% of total labour force is engaged in the informal sector (Labour Force Survey 2016-17). Taking into account the importance of this sector, PKSF will provide training on Business Management and Entrepreneurship Development to young micro-entrepreneurs who are lagging behind in order to develop their capacities on Risk Management & Business Continuity, Life-skills Development, Generic Business Management and Occupation specific Technical Skills Development.

Apprenticeship Program: ‘Ustad-shagred’ system is a centuries old system of transferring skills from generation to generation and is mutually beneficial for both ustads (masters) and shagreds (apprentices). Under this project, youth from low-income households will be matched with skilled and experienced Master Craftsperson (MCP) selected by the POs according to the eligibility and selection criteria to host an apprentice. The apprentice will receive on-the-job training under the MCP and will also receive Life-skills Development training from a skilled trainer in order to develop his/her capacity to ensure sustainable wage employment.

Community Outreach: To ensure inclusion of appropriate target participants (YME and apprentices) in the project, Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at POs are conducting outreach activities such as courtyard meetings, meetings at marketplaces, miking, community radio.  

Psychometric Profiling: Psychometric Profiling is the process of understanding an individual’s personality, behavioural style, and reasoning skills using a data-directed objective and structured approach. The main aim of using psychometric profiling in RAISE project is to ascertain an entrepreneur’s entrepreneurial ability and creditworthiness, i.e., personality traits, aptitude, attitude, intelligence, motivation, etc. related to business development. Proper application of this tool can be effective in providing start-up capital loan to new entrepreneurs and microenterprise loans to the established micro-entrepreneurs. The POs have been using various methods to determine the creditworthiness of the potential borrowers which is mostly based on the judgement of the lender. The Psychometric profiling, on the other hand, lends a data-driven approach to screening by providing a comparative view of all entrepreneurs.  

Psychosocial Counselling: The project will provide psychosocial counselling support to the project participants especially the apprentices and young micro-entrepreneurs.

Job Placement: The project will provide support to the apprentices, who successfully complete the apprenticeship, in securing wage-employment in corresponding trade. Those who opt for self-employment will have access to finance from the respective POs. Upon completing the apprenticeship program, 10% of the apprentices will receive finance to start their own enterprise. 

Services to be Provided through this Project:

Target ParticipantsMajor Services/TasksDetailsSelection Criteria

COVID-affected micro-entrepreneurs 


  • Inclusive finance to restore the businesses of micro-entrepreneurs


o   Average loan size: BDT 100,000
o   Reduced service charge for Agrosor-RAISE loan: 18% (declining method)

  • Partial or full shutdown of enterprise due to COVID-19 related lockdown for at least 4 weeks; or
  • Irregular repayment of loan installment due to COVID-19 (two missed repayments in a quarter); or
  • Reduced the number of workers due to COVID-19 (equivalent to at least 10 percent of staff); or
  • Inability to cover rent and staff salaries twice in one quarter
  • Did not receive any enterprise-level financial support from PKSF-funded programs or GoB for COVID-related impacts.

To be eligible, the micro-entrepreneur has to be an existing borrower of the respective PO before February 2020

  • Risk Management & Business Continuity (RMBC) training

o   Training duration: 3 days/12 hours
o   Stipend for training participants

Youth and micro-entrepreneurs from low-income households  


  • Inclusive finance to expand the business/enterprise

o   Average loan size: BDT 116,500
o   Reduced service charge for Agrosor-RAISE loan: 18% (declining method)

  • Age: 15* to 35
  • Have a Primary School Certificate (PSC), and not have educational attainment greater than Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC), or its equivalent
  • Household income no more than BDT 20,000
  • Resides in urban or peri-urban area
  • Have a minimum of 2 years of experience in self-employment
  • Own and operate an income generating activity (IGA) or micro-enterprise
  • Employ or intend to employ at least 1-2 persons, either part or full-time
  • Have total capital investment (excluding land & building/house) not exceeding BDT 700,000

Age and educational requirements can be waived for women and members of disadvantaged communities.

*To be eligible for inclusive finance, minimum age has to be 18

  • Business Management & Entrepreneurship Development (BMED) training

o   Training duration: 12 weeks/96 hours; 2 days a week; 4 hours a day
o   Stipend for training participants

Youth from low-income households 


  • Capacity development on Technical Skills under Master Craftsperson (MCP)
  • Capacity development on Life-skills under skilled trainer
  • Support for wage and self-employment

o   Training duration: 6 months
o   Stipend for apprentices
o   Stipend for Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) test (10% of the participants under this category)

For Apprentices:

  • Age: 15* to 35
  • Have a Primary School Certificate (PSC), and not have educational attainment greater than Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC), or its equivalent
  • Household income no more than BDT 20,000
  • Resides in urban or peri-urban area

Age and educational requirements can be waived for women and members of disadvantaged communities.

*To be eligible for inclusive finance, minimum age has to be 18

  • Inclusive finance for the apprenticeship trainees to start a new business/enterprise (10% of the participants under this category)

o   Average loan size BDT 116,500 for Apprenticeship trainee
o   Reduced service charge for Agrosor-RAISE loan: 18% (declining method)

Master Craftsperson (MCP) for Apprenticeship Program under the RAISE Project:

7000 MCPs will be eligible for receiving inclusive finance at reduced service charge of 18% to expand their business. The average loan size will be BDT 129,600 per MCP. Each MCP will also receive a stipend of BDT 1,500 per month per apprentice hosted.

The selection criteria for the MCPs are as follows:

  • Age: minimum 25 years
  • Have minimum 5 years of relevant experience
  • Have a Junior School Certificate (JSC)
  • 1 to 3 apprentices can work together in the enterprise
  • The working environment has to be hygienic and decent
  • Enterprise type: listed trade under this project
  • Willingness and capacity to follow project guidelines (Gender policy, OHS guideline, social & environmental guideline & GRM policy)


Loan Disbursement

Up to 31 December 2023, PKSF has disbursed BDT 911.2 crore (9112 million) under this project to RAISE project implementing POs in order to provide COVID-affected micro-entrepreneurs and young micro-entrepreneurs access to inclusive finance.

Within this time period, the POs have disbursed BDT 500 crore among 49,822 COVID-affected micro-entrepreneurs and BDT 282.00 crore among 23,238 young micro-entrepreneurs. 

Capacity Enhancement of COVID-19 Affected Micro-entrepreneurs

The project is providing ‘Risk Management and Business Continuity (RMBC)’ training to COVID-19 affected micro-entrepreneurs to develop their capacity to overcome the impact of various unexpected disasters and mitigate the damage to the microenterprises. Till 31 December 2023, the project has developed the capacity of 49,710 micro-entrepreneurs.

The micro-entrepreneurs get to learn about entrepreneurship development, risk management, income-expenditure calculation, and developing business plan through various games and group exercises. Entrepreneurs are applying the knowledge they've gained to recognize potential risks in managing their enterprises, thereby ensuring the continuity of their businesses.

Community Outreach Activities

The POs are conducting outreach activities such as courtyard meetings, meetings at marketplaces, miking, community radio in their respective project areas.

Hands-on Technical Training for Apprentices

In FY 2022-23, 3,500 apprentices have completed hands-on technical training on respective trades under the direct supervision of Master Craftspersons (MCPs). In FY 2023-2024, so far, around 6,075 apprentices have enrolled in the apprenticeship program under the project. Along with technical training, the apprentices also get to learn about the aspects of running a successful enterprise.

Orientation for Master Craftspersons (MCPs)

MCPs are accomplished and thriving entrepreneurs who rank among the top experts in their respective fields. The apprentices receive training under the direct supervision of the MCPs. The project provides a 2-day orientation to the MCPs on how to conduct the training under the apprenticeship program. Till 31 December 2023, the project has provided orientation to 4,480 MCPs.

Capacity Enhancement of Young Micro-entrepreneurs

The project is providing ‘Business Management and Entrepreneurship Development (BMED)’ to young micro-entrepreneurs (YME). Till 31 December 2023, 6,520 YMEs has participated in this training.  

YMEs get to learn about entrepreneurship development, business development, labor management in microenterprise, business planning and financing, and business expansion through different group exercises and games.


Capacity Development of PIU and PO Officials as Trainers

The project has been organized various capacity enhancement programs for the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at PO level as well as for selected officials from the POs’ training pool. So far, more than 500 PIU and PO officials have taken part in these capacity building activities.

The project provided Training of Trainer (ToT) on BMED, orientation on RAISE Project Implementation, Financial Management, Life-skills Development, and Apprenticeship Program.

Visit of FID Secretary

Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah, Secretary, Financial Institutions Department, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh visited the field-level interventions of the RAISE project in Feni on 24 December 2023.

During the visit, Mr. Salim Ullah interacted with the young micro-entrepreneurs, COVID-19 affected micro-entrepreneurs, apprentices and master craftspersons under the Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE) project.

He visited young workers who have completed apprenticeship in ‘Mobile Phone Servicing’ and ‘Graphic Design and Multimedia’ under the RAISE project at their new workplace. He also visited a poultry farm under the MFCE Project. Resource Integration Centre (RIC), Sagarika Samaj Unnayan Sangstha, and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), three of the Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF are implementing the abovementioned projects in Feni.

News link:

TOT on Business Management and Entrepreneurship Development (BMED)

The ToT program on Business Management and Entrepreneurship Development (BMED) started from 02 December 2023. In order to effectively implement this training program at the grassroots and considering its long-term impacts, a series of 3-day ToT workshops was organized for 454 officials in 17 batches at the regional level. These sessions involved active participation of 276 Project Implementing Unit’s (PIU’s) officials from 69 Partner Organizations (POs) as well as 178 selected officials from the training pool of these POs.

News link:

RAISE Coordination Meeting 

A Coordination Meeting was held on 18 October 2023 with the participation of Project Implementation Unit (PIU) officials of the RAISE project POs. PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Md. Fazlul Kader presided over the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Dilip Kumar Chakravorty, Project Coordinator, RAISE and General Manager (Program) gave a brief presentation on the RAISE project. Besides, Mr. Golam Gilane, Manager (Program) and Deputy Project Coordinator gave a presentation on formulation of a uniform ‘Community Outreach Plan’ for selection of target project participants. In this meeting, various sessions, detailed discussions and group exercises were conducted on guidelines for conducting the apprenticeship programs, capacity enhancement program for young entrepreneurs, data collection and management for implementation of case management systems, etc. In this meeting, all the officials of RAISE Project Management Unit of PKSF were present.

Visit of the World Bank’s South Asia Regional Director

Nicole Klingen, the World Bank's South Asia Regional Director for Human Development, visited field-level interventions of the RAISE project in Savar and Dhamrai upazilas of Dhaka on 2 October 2023. She led a WB delegation that visited the RAISE project’s activities being implemented through Society for Development Initiatives (SDI) and Social Upliftment Society (SUS), two of the project-implementing Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF.

They visited the microenterprise of a young micro-entrepreneur. They also visited young workers who have completed apprenticeship under the project at their new workplace. They visited an orientation session of Master Craftspersons under the apprenticeship program and a courtyard meeting under the project’s outreach program. In addition, the delegates interacted with young and pandemic-hit micro-entrepreneurs supported by RAISE. “I am super pleased with what I saw today,” commented Klingen, praising PKSF’s activities in the field. RAISE really helps in the aspect of providing youth with opportunities to make more productive contribution to the economy and society in Bangladesh, she added.

During this visit, she was accompanied by S Amer Ahmed, RAISE Task Team Leader at the WB, Anika Rahman, RAISE Co-Task Team Leader, WB, Dilip Kumar Chakravorty, General Manager (Program) and RAISE Project Coordinator of PKSF, Executive Directors of the two POs and RAISE PMU officials.

News link:


Discussion Meeting on “Development of Microenterprises in Bangladesh: Role of RAISE Project

A discussion meeting titled 'Development of Microenterprises in Bangladesh: Role of RAISE Project' was organized by RAISE project Management Unit on 5 September 2023. Acting Country Director of The World Bank Bangladesh and Bhutan Mr. Souleymane Coulibaly attended the meeting as the Guest of Honour. Chairman of PKSF Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the discussion meeting. Dr. Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF gave the welcome address.

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Visit of the World Bank Vice President

The World Bank’s Vice President (Operations Policy and Country Services) Ed Mountfield visited the field-level interventions of the RAISE project in Shariatpur district on 6 July 2023. He emphasized on the importance of supporting micro-businesses, helping people develop business skills, entrepreneurial outlook, get good jobs that give them dignity and allow them to be included in the development process; adding that the PKSF activities he visited were really impressive. During this visit he was accompanied by, among others, Md Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director, PKSF; Uwimana Basaninyenzi, External Affairs Advisor, the World Bank; S Amer Ahmed, Lead Economist and Program Leader, Task Team Leader (RAISE), the World Bank; Aneeka Rahman, Senior Social Protection Economist, Task Team Leader (RAISE), the World Bank; Dilip Kumar Chakravorty, General Manager (Program) & Project Coordinator, RAISE.

News link:

Discussion Meeting on Financing the Young Micro-entrepreneurs

A meeting was organized by the RAISE project to exchange views on ‘Financing the Young Micro-entrepreneurs’ on 22 March 2023. PKSF’s panel leaders, various project coordinators, senior officials and desk officers of supervising the partner organizations participated in the meeting which was presided over by Md. Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director of PKSF.


The World Bank’s Implementation Support Mission

The World Bank conducted an ‘Implementation Support Mission’ from 20-30 June, 2022. The World Bank’s representatives had meeting with PKSF’s Managing Director Dr. Nomita Halder ndc, Additional Managing Director Md. Fazlul Kader and RAISE Project officials during this mission. Furthermore, the mission visited BASTOB-Initiative for People’s Self Development, one of the POs for the RAISE Project and their microenterprise program located at Atibazar and Kholamora in Keraniganj Upazila, Dhaka, in 23 June to observe the preparation for loan disbursement for the COVID-19 affected micro-entrepreneurs at the field level. Senior Economist & Task Team Leader of the RAISE Project Mr. Syud Amer Ahmed, Senior Social Protection Economist & Co-Task Team Leader Ms. Aneeka Rahman, RAISE Project Coordinator and other officials from the World Bank, RAISE Project as well as PKSF participated in the field visit.


RAISE Project Agreement Signing

The World Bank signed the Financing Agreement with Financial Institutions Division (FID), Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh on 27 October 2021 to finance the RAISE project. On the same day PKSF and The World Bank signed Project Agreement of USD 250 million to implement the RAISE project. On behalf of PKSF, Managing Director Dr. Nomita Halder ndc signed the agreement. Md. Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director of PKSF and other project related PKSF officials were also present.

Later, on 26 January 2022, Subsidiary Loan and Grant Agreement (SLGA) was signed between the FID and PKSF.

RAISE PMU Team Members

PKSF has formed a Project Management Unit (PMU) that is responsible for overall management of the project, capacity development of PIU and POs and monitoring the project activities along with the micro-finance program department of PKSF on a regular basis.




Mobile No



Dilip Kumar Chakravorty

Project Coordinator



Golam Gilane

Deputy Project Coordinator (Enterprise Development)



S M Khaled Mahfuz

Deputy Project Coordinator (Training & Skills Development)



Md. Tarikul Islam

Financial Management Specialist



Quazi Moshrur-Ul-Alam

Program Manager



Anjuman Ara Begum

Program Manager



Md. Faizul Tarique Chowdhury

Program Manager



Md. Faruk Hossain

Program Manager



Billal Hosen

Program Manager



Md. Shahinur Rahman

Environmental Specialist



Md. Dewan Zinnah

Social Development Specialist



Badsha Muhammad Shekander

ICT Specialist



Mahbuba Bintay Ali

MIS Specialist



Md. Jahirul Islam

Program Officer
(Case Management)



Shehreen Saba

Program Officer (Communication & Knowledge Management)



Suma Saha

Accounts Officer



Md. Atiqur Rahman

Assistant Accounts Officer



Anamika Laskar

Assistant Accounts Officer



Sharmin Sultana

Assistant Accounts Officer



Md. Samsuddin Khan

Assistant Officer
(Admin & Logistics)


Partner Organization

Partner Organization List