Fellow Since 2001
This profile was prepared when Shamsun Nahar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Shamsun has built a program to identify entrepreneurial potential in poor urban women. She develops that potential through a training program that focuses on the business skills and non-business-related core competencies of successful entrepreneurs. She then links the developing entrepreneurs with the formal credit sector, where they obtain loans to expand their business activities. In this way, they create a livelihood for themselves and provide employment to other poor residents.Shamsun's training program is unique in Bangladesh. Unlike training programs run by local citizen organizations, which usually focus more on the enterprise than on the individual, it emphasizes the person and taps into her core competencies. Shamsun's approach differs from entrepreneurship training programs operated by most development organizations, which have generally targeted educated, middle-class, and higher income groups.