Managing Director, Jute Land,Bangladesh
When I started I had only 25 women artisans, and now I have over 500 employees.” Meet Protima Chakraborty, entrepreneur, founder and managing director of Jute Land Bangladesh, a small enterprise in Bangladesh made up of 90% female employees.
In 2010, with a big vision, Protima set out to produce and export traditional and authentic products. With unique skills largely untapped outside Bangladesh, Protima produces stylish and practical reusable bags, home decor and giftware made from sustainable resources, such as 100% cow leather, jutton fabric (a blend of jute and cotton) and bamboo. Her eco-friendly products have had a big impact on environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment and youth employment in her community.
In 2016, another of Protima’s dreams came true. Her company weaved its way to the top and was selected by Trade Facilitation Office Canada (TFO Canada) as one of 60 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to join the Artisan Hub initiative. Under Artisan Hub, Protima promoted her products in sample exhibition road shows in 2016 and 2017 in Canada, and most recently in New York City in 2018. The results? Business is booming for Protima. “My participation in NY Now was a success,” she says. “I got orders from five Canadian and U.S. buyers for over $20,000. I am also waiting for two additional big orders…All my artisans are booked until February 2019.”