People’s Bank has introduced ‘People’s Spark,’ an entrepreneurship development program including a dedicated collateral free loan scheme for young graduates and for those who have Level 5 National Vocational Qualifications or above. The program has been developed in line with the Government’s national policy framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.
The objective of the program is to focus on developing entrepreneurship among educated and vocationally trained young people by financing between 100 and 150 start-ups, prioritising agriculture, food and beverage, manufacturing, innovation, tourism and essential services such as health, education and logistics.
The program also aims to transform classroom knowledge into practical business ideas via comprehensive guidance programs and incubation where applicants need to work for three months period under a successful entrepreneur. It also looks to contribute to the local economy by turning local resources in to plausible assets in terms of employment, import substitution and export orientation.
To be eligible for the program, candidates must be aged between 18-35 years of age, a citizen of Sri Lanka, a graduate from a University accepted by the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka or have successfully completed level-5 National Vocational Qualification training or above. Candidates cannot be a defaulter of People’s Bank or any other financial institution, and must be willing to participate in training programmes and internships arranged by People’s Bank on a need basis.
The purpose of the loan scheme is to facilitate investment and permanent working capital in the following eligible sectors, agriculture, manufacturing industries, food and beverages, innovation and technology, essential services and tourism. The maximum loan amount is Rs. 2.5 million per borrower.
The maximum repayment period for an investment loan is seven years which includes a grace period of one year if required. The Working Capital Loan can be repaid in a period of three years with a grace period of six months if required. Any interest on the loans should be serviced within the given grace periods. Loan repayment whether, monthly, once in two months or once in three months, can be arranged based on cash flow patterns of the business.