Profile of Selima Ahmad

Selima Ahmad, an entrepreneur and business leader, the President and Founder of BWCCI and Vice Chairperson of Nitol-Niloy Group, was elected as the Member of Parliament of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in the 11th National Election held in 2019.

As the pioneer of women chamber of commerce in Bangladesh, Selima Ahmad has been working for private sector development for more than 35 years developing women’s entrepreneurial talents and organizing financial and marketing resources to catalyze the growth of successful women-owned businesses.

Ahmad feels that with the achievements in women empowerment, the developing economies will hugely benefit. The contribution of women entrepreneurs will help to achieving SDG goals. Drawing on her business experience and involvement with several trade organizations, including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Bangladesh Automobile Assemblers and Manufacturers Association, Bangladesh Handicraft Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies, Ahmad convinced and mobilized women entrepreneurs, the government and development partners of the need for the creation of BWCCI.

With her lifelong mission to empower women and deep understanding of business, she focused on developing entrepreneurial talent, organizing financial and marketing resources to enable women get over hurdles and flourish. She founded BWCCI in 2001 which has so far provided entrepreneurship development trainings and product marketing aids to more than 51, 497 women entrepreneurs. Selima Ahmad is the architect of the 1st Women’s National Business Agenda (WNBA) in Bangladesh. Her dynamic advocacy brought two policies for women entrepreneurs which was getting bank loan with low interest and without collateral and more than 15,250 women received bank loans. Her advocacy facilitate $12.5 Million, a separate allocation in the national Budget for the women entrepreneurs.

Ahmad, Vice Chairperson of the Nitol-Niloy Group is the quintessential successful woman. The Nitol-Niloy Group has a strong, diversified profile, which includes a joint venture with TATA Motors of India to trade, assemble, and provide after sales support of vehicles, transport and aviation services, financial institutions, manufacturing of sugar, cement, paper and luggage, real estate development, and sports promotion.

Ahmad is an activist who promotes democracy, gender equality, anticorruption and women entrepreneurship. Her work is recognized not only in Bangladesh but also in the global arena. She has been invited as speaker in many national and international seminars. She also joined several business delegations led by the Government at different times to many countries. She is a Global Ambassador of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW). She is the Key person of the Bangladesh chapter of Women Democracy Network. she is a member of the Executive Committee of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) and Vice Chair of SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC). She acts as a mentor for women in the Cherry Blaire mentoring program and also for many other women around the globe. She mentors and promotes entrepreneurs and Women Chambers all over the world with special focus on SAARC countries. 

She is the former Director of Janata Bank Ltd., Sonali Bank Ltd. and Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd. She was also the Faculty of Entrepreneurship Development (BBA) and EMBA course, of Dhaka University and American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB).

She is one of the Honourable BFP-B Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) Member, Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) Project, Financial Institutions Division (FID) of Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh. She is the member of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Science and Technology, Bangladesh National Parliament. She is the member of Advisory group of a Research Program titled "Moving on the Middle Income Path in the Era of SDGs: Overcoming the Governance Challenges in Bangladesh", Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) from 2017. She is one of the Board Director of Sustainable and renewable Energy Development Authority Ministry of Electricity, Energy and mineral, Government of Bangladesh from 2017.  She is the Expert Panel Committee Member of General Economic Division of Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh from 2017. She is the Governing Body Member of Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) and also Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Government of Bangladesh from 2016. She is also the Advisory Committee Member of National Designated Authority. She is also the Trusty Board Member of Honourable Prime Minister’s Education Welfare Trust, Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh in 2016. She is also the working committee member of Women Entrepreneurship Development working committee-SME Foundation and holds important posts in various national and international organizations.

She obtained graduation and Masters in Business Management from the University of Dhaka and did short courses from USA, Japan, Denmark and Canada. She is a fellow of Stanford University, USA.

She is committed by taking her core values about businesses, family and culture to the community and winner of many national and international awards for contributing to development. She has been awarded with the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award 2014. She received Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award 2013, Islamic Development Bank Prize 2012, Priyadarshini Award 2012, TIAW World of Difference Award 2010 for her accomplishments. Among many others, she has also been awarded with the title of best female entrepreneur in Bangladesh by different organizations and best women achiever, 2005, 06 by Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India. Recently she has been awarded with “2014-2015 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award”. She has been nominated as the "Leadership Champion" by the WORLD BANK GROUP for the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) for the period June 2020 – May 2022 for her lifelong mission to empower women and extra ordinary contribution to promoting women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh.