United States launches project to help small businesses; increase women’s participation

Dec 10, 2020 (LBO) – The United States launched a new LKR 3.6 billion (USD 19.5million) initiative to help small businesses and economically empower Sri Lankan women.

ThePrivate Sector Development Project, which is funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide technical assistance and financing to small businesses in thetourism, technology, and commercial care industries.

It will also help Sri Lanka weather the economic impact of COVID-19 by providing much-needed financial assistance through which businesses will be able to expand job opportunities forwomen and increase profits thanks to better business practices. Strengthening resilience in theface of the pandemic is a key step toward a post-COVID economic recovery.

“This project demonstrates the United States’ long-term commitment to engage the private sectorin development cooperation that shape market-driven solutions to achieve sustained impacts,”said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Tepltiz. “Most importantly, this timely assistancewill also mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka,” she said.

The initiative will promote innovation and entrepreneurship and provide incentives for SriLankan financial institutions to support under-served communities in rural areas throughout thecountry. Finally, it will encourage businesses to hire more women. Studies show that whenwomen are economically empowered, they reinvest back into their families and communities,which drives economic growth.