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Sri Lanka@100 to help accelerate expansion of seven mid-market firms with U.S. support

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Funded by the United States, Sri Lanka@100 (SL@100) selected its first round of seven high-potential companies to receive cutting-edge business advisory services to accelerate their growth. SL@100, a private sector-led platform focused on the growth of mid-sized firm, will equip the seven companies with skills to optimize operations, increase profitability, and expand markets.  

“These seven firms are the first of many that the United States will support on their journey to rapid growth,” said U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Reed Aeschliman. “By helping Sri Lanka’s mid-market firms access the business services they need to thrive, SL@100 is fueling a transformation in Sri Lanka’s economy.” 

Stax Managing Director and SL@100 co-founder Dr. Kumudu Gunasekera added that “Sri Lanka’s growth is very much dependent on SMEs and their ability to accelerate their growth trajectory. I am very excited and encouraged by the quality of the firms that applied and their hunger to grow beyond our shores.”

Launched in September 2020, SL@100 promotes equitable and inclusive economic growth in support of Sri Lanka’s journey to become a high-income country within 100 years of independence. This initiative brings together advisors, investors, trade groups, and business development service providers to strengthen the capacity of mid-market firms in areas such as marketing, operations, financial management, exports, and access to capital. 

SL@100 will run two selection cycles per year to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) scale up operations. Co-founder of SL@100 & Stax Managing Director Ruwindhu Peiris commented on the impressive pitches these companies made, noting that he is “excited to be partnering with these companies that reflect the soul of Sri Lanka’s ingenuity and the hunger to rise to our full potential.”

The seven companies selected represent a wide range of goods and services from throughout Sri Lanka, including (in no particular order):

•DD Atukorala, a nearly 100-year-old business in Kegalle that grew and diversified from a bakery into restaurants and fashion stores;

•Industrial Stainless-Steel Fabrications, which supplies sophisticated process machinery to global markets including India, Nigeria, and Turkey;

•InsureMe, a one-stop destination to purchase any kind of insurance, which was selected for the 2020 Stanford Seed Transformation Program;

•Lanka Spice, the manufacturer and retailer of the McCurrie brand of spices and value-added jar products that is currently exported to Australia, Europe, Middle East, and North America;

•Randeepa Agrarian, an agricultural equipment provider based in Polonnaruwa, which has been certified as a Great Place to Work;

•Saaraketha Holdings, the first ecommerce platform for ‘farm-to-table’ fresh produce delivery in Sri Lanka that now links over 2,500 local farmers to non-conventional markets globally; and 

•UHE Exports, the manufacturer of Halpé Tea packaged in organic teabags from the tea leaf itself, which exports fair-trade tea and herbal products.

SL@100 is accepting applications for Round 2 at www.srilanka100.lk through Friday, February 19, 2021. 



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CBSL and IFC launch National Financial Inclusion Strategy

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Sri Lanka’s first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) aunched recently, aims to make financial services more accessible, efficient, and affordable for all households and businesses in the country.

The NFIS is a joint effort led by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka—with technical and financial assistance from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group—under the IFC-DFAT Women in Work program. The development of this strategy was a multi-stakeholder effort supported by the government of Sri Lanka.

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy symbolizes our country’s commitment towards a better and inclusive Sri Lanka that will benefit all individuals and enterprises. I believe this strategy will complement the Government’s efforts to minimize the provincial income disparities, urban-rural inequalities, and to promote inclusive growth,” said Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

“More importantly, this strategy prioritizes future generations, having identified financial literacy as a key pillar. The proposal to strengthen the national curriculum in this area is a positive step. Investing in the education of our younger generation is the most significant investment we can make as a nation, as this will be a particularly helpful approach to the systematic correction of the financial habits of Sri Lankans,” the Prime Minister said.

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HNB – Havelock City partnership offers exclusive Ezy Pay Home Loans facility

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HNB PLC has partnered with Havelock City mixed-use development project to offer prospective homeowners of state-ofthe-art luxury apartments in Stratford and Melford Towers (Phase 3 – COC certified) and Peterson and Edmonton Towers (Phase 4) with the exclusive Ezy Pay Home Loans facility.

The partnership is set to offer customers the unprecedented opportunity to make a payment of only 20% and immediately occupy the limited units available in Phase 3 of the project or invest in apartments available in Phase 4, scheduled to be completed by May 2021. Further, Havelock City will take on the customer’s interest payment for one year.

“We have witnessed an increase in the demand for apartments and are aware that there is a limited stock of units available in the heart of Colombo. Therefore, we hope that this partnership with Havelock City will offer our customers looking to invest in a home of their own the facility to either move into an apartment immediately or invest in a home of their dreams,” HNB Head of Personal Financial Services, Kanchana Karunagama said.

Prospective homeowners can make use the bank’s flexible repayment options, such as the Step-up facility, which offers a repayment option in line with the customers evolving income. Customers can also obtain a maximum repayment period of 25 years for the loan facility for an attractive interest rate starting from just 7%.

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DPL lends a hand to children in Monaragala Rubber Farming Communities

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As part of its ongoing efforts to empower and uplift the livelihood of its farmer co-operative societies, Dipped Products PLC (DPL) distributed school bags to the children of 1,500 smallholder rubber farmers for the 10th consecutive year, under its flagship Firstlight CSR project.

This year’s distribution recorded the largest donation of school bags, which was nearly a two-fold increase from the previous year, bringing the total value of the distribution up to nearly Rs. 1 million.

Taking place at the Pinwatta Bodimalu Viharaya in Medagama, Monaragala, this latest distribution marks the Company’s continued efforts to support the smallholder rubber farming communities, by ensuring that their essential needs are looked after.

“Especially in this time of economic uncertainty, with the nation facing significant challenges and hardships, it is truly touching to see the positive impact which we continue to have on the underprivileged smallholder rubber farming communities. We believe that programmes like Firstlight hold the key to enhancing the livelihoods of our 1500-strong rubber farmers, providing them with an improved quality of life, whilst paving the way to open up new opportunities and a brighter future. This is why, with the enthusiastic response we have received over the years, we have now also expanded this school bag distribution to include the District of Kegalle,” Dipped Products Deputy Managing Director, Pushpika Janadheera said.

 

 

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