In keeping with its strong legacy of supporting grassroots entrepreneurs across Sri Lanka, Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF) has continued to shine the light on the country’s entrepreneurs as it celebrated the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). The 12th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is celebrated by 10 million people in over 170 countries around the world.
The primary objective of SDF, through its various business activities, is to contribute towards social and community advancement. The company strives to achieve this objective by supporting micro entrepreneurs and SMEs, and by distributing dividends to its parent SEEDS, which redistributes these funds through community welfare activities through the Sarvodaya Movement.
SDF Micro Loan products have assisted thousands of entrepreneurs and micro businessmen and women to grow their businesses to a sustainable level. Micro Business Loans are offered to micro-scale entrepreneurs to meet working capital requirements and capital expenditure. SDF continues to grow its pioneering Micro Finance services in Sri Lanka through this core product.
Given below are some of the stories of successful entrepreneurial men and women who through sheer determination and hard work have managed to grow their businesses with the support of SDF.
Tailored to succeed: S.M. Chamila Priyanthi Samarakoon of Galenbindunuwewa owned and operated a successful sewing business. However, in order to elevate her business to the next level she needed to purchase several sewing machines but found it extremely difficult to obtain a loan to do so. When she reached out to SDF, they stepped in and provided her with the necessary loan enabling her to purchase all the sewing machines. Today, she has successfully built a loyal customer base by offering them fashionable garments at a reasonable price. She has become the sole breadwinner of her family and is able to support her unemployed husband and two children. As her business is being operated from her home, she is able to look into the various needs of her family conveniently and run a happy home.
Prince of prints: Vinoth is a young, energetic entrepreneur who has been operating a printing shop in Vavuniya for the past five years. He learnt about the printing business while being employed at a well-known printer in the northern region. He is an expert in banner printing, t-shirt printing, sticker cutting and many other areas of the business. SDF provided him a loan to start his business which he utilised to pay the key money for the building where his business was located. He was given a second loan by SDF in 2017 to purchase the necessary equipment for banner printing. Subsequently, he obtained a third loan from SDF to import the equipment required for t-shirt printing. Today, his business is thriving and ‘Mahaas Digital’ has grown rapidly in the northern region. His professional approach, high quality and on-time delivery have helped him obtain a majority of the Government-related orders in the region.
Cementing his legacy: Siripala from Rotawewa, a supervisor at Lakbima Rice Mills, teamed up with his wife and son to start a cement products workshop in his home. His home ornamental products, which include concrete pots, blusters, columns, lamp posts and water tanks, have helped to beautify homes and his business has steadily built a solid reputation in the surrounding areas. Using his initial loan from SDF, Siripala completed his home and then acquired an SDF lease to purchase a vehicle for his business. Having commenced his venture with the efforts of his family, Siripala has been able to grow the business to a point where today he provides employment to four individuals from the area. He has been able to build a happy family life and run a successful workshop.
‘Dairying’ to dream: B.A.D. Kumari Balasuriya was a stay-at-home mother who raised three children from the income generated from her husband who was a driver. With the help of a loan from SDF, she was able commence a dairy products operation where she generates an income of Rs. 32,000 per month. The additional income has helped the family to enhance the children’s educational spending as well as the family’s overall well-being. After the Easter Sunday attacks in April, her husband did not have work for nearly a month. However, thanks to Kumari’s business, the family had sufficient funds to manage till the husband found work again.
With her business being run from home, Kumari has been able to provide stability and a secure environment for the whole family. The income has helped her to carry out renovations to her home. Kumari points out that thanks to SDF’s loan scheme, Sri Lankan women need not look at leaving their families behind and toiling away in foreign lands. She believes that by educating and encouraging women who share a similar plight, they can be convinced to build a thriving business and live happily with their families under one roof.