The MoU being signed by Samurdhi Director General Saman Bandara on behalf of the Ministry of Samurdhi and Daraz Sri Lanka Managing Director/ Country Head Rakhil Fernando
Daraz Sri Lanka partnered with the Department of Samurdhi Development to enhance the economic engagement and success of entrepreneurs in rural Sri Lanka. Apart from leading the tech industry with mobile phone brands and other tech-related products, Daraz also works to empower small scale businesses and help grow their potential.
This partnership will train and empower Samurdhi entrepreneurs and small manufacturers to use the versatile Daraz platform – currently host to over 25,000 sellers and over 1.5 million customers – to showcase their products, sell them effectively and engage in projects that will amplify their businesses by connecting them directly to consumers nationwide.
Daraz.lk, owned by the multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group, signed an MoU with the Department of Samurdhi Development on 9 January. In attendance were the Minister of Women and Child Affairs and Social Security and the Minister of Healthcare and Indigenous Medical Services Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, State Minister of Social Security Tharaka Balasuriya and Daraz Managing Director Rakhil Fernando.
"The island is brimming with amazing untapped talent. In every corner of this country, enterprising individuals make fine products and Daraz wants to help them showcase their efforts to all consumers through the process of online shopping in Sri Lanka. Minister Tharaka Balasuriya spearheaded this initiative and reached out to Daraz, as rural development is a key driver in our growth plans for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's more rural regions that give rise to more unique, local and culturally authentic products have been largely overlooked. Daraz saw an opportunity here to uplift these communities, and give them access to thousands of consumers daily. With the help of Minister Balasuriya and the Samurdhi Development Program, Daraz has identified key entrepreneurs who will benefit most from the platform,” stated Fernando.
The first step of the partnership was a workshop for over 300 entrepreneurs from the Samurdhi program, initiating them into the world of digital commerce and exploring the benefits and opportunities available to the products they manufacture. The next step is to take the orientation of local SMEs islandwide, so that no potential seller is limited by where they are located.
In the spirit of empowering Sri Lanka through the independent means afforded by e-commerce, Daraz is also planning a program for women without ready access to the internet but who create exciting products that deserve the exposure of being a part of a nearly one million-strong product base which is visited online by nearly 120,000 people every day.