- 6-month mentor program costing Rs. 67 m to help local craftspeople to develop brands
By Divya Thotawatte
In a bid to increase the marketability of local crafts, the National Crafts Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is developing new brands targeting the global market, NCCSL Chairman Heshani Bogollagama said.
The program, launched in collaboration with the Export Development Board (EDB), will help local craftsmen develop new global-level branding, Bogollagama told Daily FT.
“‘Shilpa Saviya’ is a six-month entrepreneurship and mentorship program to strengthen craftspeople as entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. We hope to help local craftsmen to develop brand names by teaming up with design mentors from the National Design Centre and the University of Moratuwa,” Bogollagama told Daily FT on the sidelines of Shilpa Abhimani 2018.
“This initiative was brought forward by Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen to address the marketing issue that is faced by the craftsmen of Sri Lanka today.
We intend to help craftsmen produce high value products which will support the standards of the global markets,” she added.
Only 30 craftsmen out of 26,000 craftsmen from around the island were registered with the National Craft Council, and the program will be selected through a special competition since it was an exclusive platform where mentors will help craftsmen introduce brand names, Bogollagama said. The participants will be selected through Shilpa Abhimani 2018, she said.
The ‘Shilpa Saviya’ program launched last year will be implemented in a much larger scale this year with funding of over Rs. 67 million from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
She also stated that the Shilpa Abhimani 2018 Presidential Awards Handicraft Competition and Exhibition, which was inaugurated earlier this week by Bathiudeen, was more successful with a much bigger participation than last year. “This year, over 4,000 craftsmen have taken part in the competition and exhibition with 8,100 crafts brought forward at the exhibition.”
The participating handicraftsmen have been provided with 110 stalls at the exhibition, which will conclude tomorrow. These trade stalls have been set with a view to facilitate them to sell their products directly to the customers in order to resolve the market issue faced by craftsmen in selling their products.
These trade stalls will include stands selling products such as batik, lace, embroidery, patchwork, silver, jewellery, brassware, lacquer, clay ornamentals, musical instruments, Dumbara designs, reed and grass creations, cane and bamboo products, masks, handlooms, wood carvings, and domestic food items.
Shilpa Abhimani 2018 features 1,418 creations which won awards at provincial competitions. These creations were adjudicated under 57 streams by a national judge panel consisting of professors, doctors, and lecturers. Two outstanding creations among these were selected for the ‘Golden Award’ under traditional and non-traditional categories while 21 other artefacts selected under each sector were awarded with Silver awards and national first, second, and third merit certificates.