Strong support from ADB to gender specific SME projects

11 September 2019 - 47   - 0

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka through its Micro, Small and Medium (SME) enterprises Line of Credit Project supported by the Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

By Quintus Perera

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka through its Micro, Small and Medium (SME) enterprises Line of Credit Project supported by the Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

This was stated at the Kingsbury Hotel on Tuesday during a Forum and Panel Discussion organised by the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC).

Takuya Hosino, Finance Sector Specialist, ADB, addressing the Forum, said that the bank has been supporting the Government in promoting women’s entrepreneurship and towards the success of this project in 2018 ADB has pumped USD 12.6 million through We-Fi which helps gender related impact of the project.

He said that the grant will help ADB ensure that more women-owned or led SMEs gave access to finance, training and mentorship opportunities. Also, it would strengthen the technical capacity of a wide range of stakeholders, including the government, banks, and chambers of commerce and SMEs.

The key targets, he said would include, more than 600 women-owned or led SMEs accessing finance; 700 women accessing the online networking platform and personalized business development training; government agencies and chambers of commerce introducing gender action plans, while partnering banks introduce new policies and banking practices to reach out to women SMEs and rigorous impact evaluation to be carried out and results disseminated.

Chathuri Ranasinghe, Chairperson, WCIC, said that they were happy to note that in the ‘Strategy 2030’ the ADB with the vision – prosperous inclusive resilient sustainable Asia and Pacific – is extending to support women’s economic empowerment, with the expectation that 75 per cent of all ADB projects will promote gender equality.  

She emphasized that the Forum endorses that philosophy and is another step in that direction. Along with ADB she indicated that there are seven other partners, including: Bank of Ceylon, Crowdisland, NDB Zephyr and Colombo Stock Exchange.

She asserted that one objective is to work towards increasing the female participation in the workforce from 36 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020 and generate support to enhance their knowledge, skills and competencies.  

They strive to be the voice for women entrepreneurs and professions in an attempt to elevate the performance of the ‘Women entrepreneurs’ to greater heights and enhance their contribution to the economy, Ms. Ranasinghe stressed.  

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