U.S. Initiative Empowers Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka

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Dennis Wesner, Deputy Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Economic Growth, reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.

USAID, in partnership with the Women’s Development Federation (WDF), celebrated the successful conclusion of the “Capacity Building Programme on Trade and Market Access for Women Entrepreneurs” by honouring forty resilient women entrepreneurs from southern districts of Sri Lanka. These entrepreneurs, hailing from Hambantota, Galle, Matara, and Monaragala, underwent a year-long training and mentorship journey facilitated by USAID and WDF, empowering them with essential skills to effectively manage their micro and small businesses.

The programme equipped these women with insights into expanding their market reach and accessing domestic and international trade opportunities. By supporting women-led and women-owned enterprises, the initiative stands as a significant milestone in driving socio-economic development in the region.

One of the inspiring success stories from the programme is that of H.G. Neelika Prasanthi, the owner of Kavishka Products in Hungama, Hambantota. Prasanthi expressed her commitment to leveraging the skills acquired through the initiative to propel her toy-making business forward. She plans to invest in technology to increase production capacity, and has implemented proper bookkeeping practices to ensure financial sustainability.

The program’s curriculum, tailored to address the unique needs and challenges of aspiring entrepreneurs, received praise for its transformative impact. The initiative, supported by USAID’s Partnership for Accelerating Results in Trade, National Expenditure, and Revenue (PARTNER) initiative and WDF, underscores a shared commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth and empowering women in Sri Lanka’s SME sector.

Dennis Wesner reiterated the United States’ dedication to supporting women entrepreneurs, emphasising their pivotal role in advancing Sri Lanka’s economic agenda. Sriyani Mangalika, Managing Director of WDF, commended the perseverance and dedication of these women entrepreneurs, acknowledging their role as catalysts for positive change in their communities.