In an effort to facilitate opportunities for Sri Lankan female-led entrepreneurship, globally diversified conglomerate Expolanka partnered with Sarvodaya to launch the ‘Sabrina Yusoof Women’s Empowerment Initiative.
The project primarily aims to fund low-income female entrepreneurs to establish and enhance their own business ventures, enabling more Sri Lankan women to gain financial independence, by generating their own stable, sustainable incomes.
The initiative will aim to offer selected MSMEs in the Colombo district with access to a grant in order to empower their businesses, and help them adapt to the emerging ‘new normal’. A total of Rs. 24 million has been allocated for the project.
The official launch of the project took place during a special ceremony attended by senior representatives from both organizations including Expolanka Group CEO, Hanif Yusoof accompanied with several board members together with Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement President, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne.
“The development of our nation can only truly start to take place when our nation’s women are fully empowered. With Sabrina Yusoof Women’s Empowerment Initiative, we aim to carefully target financial assistance, advice and technical support to women-led MSMEs that have the potential to grow, and create a positive ripple effect across society. In turn, these businesses can create more opportunities for Sri Lankan women to grow, and achieve their own financial independence. We believe this is the path to enriching our nation, and we are excited to be working with a partner as impactful as Sarvodaya, in order to help Project Empower reach its fullest potential,” Expolanka Group CEO, Hanif Yusoof stated.
The engagement will also see to the appointment of a joint committee, consisting of members from Exploanka and Sarvodaya to track the progress of these businesses and allocate additional funding as they progress.
The first batch of business partners were selected based on their Business Enterprise / Idea, the challenges they faced and the financial requirements thereon. The partners were operating in a range of industries from food, handicraft, garments, tailoring, footwear, stationary to beauty care and ornamental fish.
Commenting on the program, Sarvodaya President, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne said, “Our engagement with Expolanka aims to provide holistic support that will create an enabling environment for female-led enterprises to revive and thrive. This will be accomplished through the delivery of financial resources, as well as technical support that will help these ventures to adapt and build resilience in a post-COVID environment. Our vast infrastructure and competencies will be well augmented by Expolanka’s support, and passion for delivering success on this project”.
The launch of the project will be the first in a series of engagements that will be commissioned by the ‘Sabrina Yusoof Women’s Empowerment Initiative’ in order to catalyze opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
Project Empower was first initiated by the late Sabrina Yusoof, Head of Sustainability at Expolanka, who worked with tireless commitment, love and passion towards creating a more prosperous and inclusive Sri Lanka. These initiatives are dedicated in her memory, in honour and celebration of her life and in accordance with her vision.
Expolanka as an organization has always been in the forefront in supporting important socially driven, sustainable, entrepreneurship programs which is at the core of its Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives.