Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka – Ruchirani Munasinghe's story

Video | 19 May 2020

Ruchirani Munasinghe cultivates guava in Anuradhapura district, North-Central Sri Lanka. Ruchirani attended a training program conducted by ADB and obtained financing from ADB's Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Line of Credit project and by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). With this support, Ruchirani was able to expand her cultivation area, adopt better agricultural practices, create employment, and increase her guava production.  

Transcript

I wanted to start a business of my own. This area is conducive for guava cultivation.

I rented two acres of land and started guava cultivation.

Anuradhapura district, North-Central Sri Lanka

Only 46.7% 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).

Woman Entrepreneur tells her story

I received advice from the agricultural instructor of the area.

The agricultural instructor advised me to attend a training program by the Asian Development Bank.

ADB’s training program invited bank officials. I learned a lot about management there.

After the training I went to several banks with my business proposal to borrow. I wasn’t afraid to negotiate.

Ruchirani obtained a loan and grant under the ADB project through the Regional Development Bank.

I received Rs.800,000/- 30% of it was a grant.

I expanded the cultivation by another 2 acres and adopted better agricultural practices.

Initially I had 2 employees. Now I have 6 female employees.

I also have 2 men who are permanent employees.

Now, I also supply fruit to the Colombo Economic Centre.

Exporters of Guava also purchase from me.

Motivated by her early success, Ruchirani plans to penetrate export markets …

… and generate more employment in her local community.

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.