Solutions for social challenges and surplus for greater impact
Two of the most significant challenges that continue to hinder economic growth and social empowerment for marginalised communities are sustainable livelihood generation and market access. Over 75% of small farmers in Bangladesh earn less than USD 2 per day.
BRAC Social Enterprises lie at the intersection of business and traditional non-profit. They equip individuals - microentrepreneurs, farmers and producers - with the tools they need to fully participate in the economy, and establish linkages across value chains to ensure market viability.
Social enterprises act as a catalyst for change in identifying social, economic and environmental problems, and providing equitable and scalable solutions that address unmet needs. They ensure better conditions for producers, continuously offering innovations across the value chain, while keeping the social mission at the core.
BRAC’s social enterprises sustain themselves financially and reinvest their surpluses back to BRAC’s development projects to further accelerate social impact.
SHYAMOLI BISWAS OHONA
I bought my mother a purse with my first salary. The smile it brought to her face was priceless. I knew that no matter how expensive a gift she received later, nothing would compare.
It was back in 2008 when I was doing my honours and came upon a job opening at Aarong. I applied immediately and was hired as a sales associate. Many of my friends and relatives asked discouragingly why I wanted to become a shopkeeper. I wanted to do more besides studying. The part-time work allowed me to pay for my tuition fees and my daily expenses. I could have asked my parents for help but I did not have the heart to. I knew they would sacrifice their own needs for mine.
With the guidance and training that I received at work, I was quickly able to grow professionally. I was promoted to floor manager while pursuing my masters. It was during the same time that I lost my father. He was my best friend, and it was unbearable. My mother was my biggest motivator, encouraging me to keep going.
I worked hard to earn every promotion, eventually landing my current position as the outlet manager. I won’t say I have been successful yet. I want Aarong to have a global footprint, and I want to grow with it. I dream of becoming the COO one day. I wish my father was alive to see me today. We can all get hurt and stop when things happen or people criticise us, or we can soothe our bruises and move on. It’s always our own choice.
Harnesses the skills of 65,000 artisans across Bangladesh through a vast network of rural production centres and independent producers. Aarong is one of the country’s largest lifestyle retail chains.
Provides insemination services to over 600,000 cattle farmers to boost productivity and optimise on gains made by introducing higher quality cow breeds. BRAC Artificial Insemination offers its services through more than 2,200 trained service providers across the country.
Processes and supplies high quality dressed chicken and value-added frozen food products to a range of clients, from restaurants to retailers. BRAC Chicken processes around 8 metric tonnes of raw chicken and 2 metric tonnes of ready-to-cook frozen products every day.
Operates proper storage facilities for harvested yields of potato farmers to ensure that none of their hard work goes to waste. BRAC Cold Storage ensures freshness not only by storing produce, but also by integrating farmers with the potato processing industry.
Ensures fair prices and greater market access for over 50,000 dairy farmers across Bangladesh, as well as access to high quality dairy products for urban consumers. BRAC Dairy is the third largest milk processor in the country, collecting and processing 122,000 litres of milk on average every day.
Leverages the potential of Bangladesh’s water bodies to boost national fish production. BRAC Fisheries is one of the country’s leading suppliers of fish spawn, prawn larvae and fingerlings, in addition to supplying food fish, and operating 15 hatcheries across 10 locations nationwide.
Provides access to high quality seedlings in order to promote tree plantation across the country. BRAC Nursery has been awarded first prize in the National Tree Fair’s NGO Category for the last nine years, and currently operates 15 nurseries that are located across Bangladesh.
Provides flexible packaging material for food items, processed edibles and agricultural inputs. BRAC Printing Pack produces around 1,024 metric tonnes of packaging materials per month.
Recycles waste paper to make paper and paper products, such as envelopes, gift boxes and photo frames. BRAC Recycled Handmade Paper recycles approximately 60 metric tonnes of waste paper each year.
Provides a steady supply of iodised salt to help curb iodine deficiency in rural populations across the country. BRAC Salt is able to reach approximately 1.7 million people through 137 salt dealers and around 40,000 community health workers.
Processes, produces and markets high quality seeds through an extensive network of farmers, dealers and retailers across Bangladesh. BRAC Seed and Agro is the largest private sector seed producer in the country, operating 22 production centres and employing 7,500 contract farmers.
Produces over 1.1 million safe and affordable sanitary napkins to allow women living in rural and suburban areas to attend work and school regularly, as well as more than 84,000 delivery kits to facilitate safer births. BRAC Sanitary Napkin and Delivery Kit creates income generating opportunities for almost 40,000 community health workers.
Promotes silk production through 19 production centres across Bangladesh by engaging rural women in every step of the silk making process. BRAC Silk promotes traditional silk reeling and spinning practices by supporting 35,000 village women to engage in individual ‘charka’ spinning within their homes. BRAC Silk produces over 1 million yards of silk every year, which are sold through Aarong and trade fairs.