Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka - Nelum Devi’s story

Video | 5 May 2020

Nelum Devi moved from the private sector to start her own business in Kurunegala district, North Western Sri Lanka for her children. Nelum chose to plant anthuriums for her horticulture business because of its commercial value. Because of the increased demand, Nelum expanded her business with financing from ADB’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Line of Credit project and by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

Transcript

I was working for an insurance company as a manager.

But because of my children, I decided to have a business of my own.

Kurunegala district, North Western Sri Lanka

Only 42.5% of women are employed in the district.

To address this, the government is encouraging female entrepreneurship

But start up and business expansion require capital and know-how

ADB is providing support for both

under its Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Line of Credit project

working alongside the government and 10 commercial banks

and supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

Horticulture is a growing business with domestic and export demand on the rise.

Woman Entrepreneur tells her story

I grew up in an agricultural background, so I wanted to do something related to plants.

I chose anthuriums which have a commercial value.

I obtained a loan of Rs.500,000/- from the NDB and started the business with 300 plants.

There was a demand for these plants in the market, so I decided to expand my business.

I lacked capital. So, I obtained a second loan from NDB and constructed a net house for 2,000 plants.

This financing was provided under the ADB project -  Rs.920,000/- loan and Rs.230,000/- grant. I am so thankful to ADB. It was instrumental in expanding my business.

My profits doubled.

I provided employment to a couple of people.

The increase in my income has benefitted my family.

As a female entrepreneur, I was able to realize my goals as a woman, wife and mother.

With We-Fi support, the ADB project aims to foster a more supportive environment for women entrepreneurs …

… and generate more opportunities for women in Sri Lanka.