Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Chairperson Rifa Musthapha (extreme left) announcing the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ in the presence of (from left) Indrani Fernando (WCIC), Rozy Laxana (Dialog Axiata), Renuka Fernando (WCIC) and Shazna Muzammil (WCIC)
The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) once again will lend voice to amplify the good work that women in businesses are doing in the country when it hosts the prestigious ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ in August this year.
The premier national awards programme will celebrate the achievements of the most successful within the inspiring group of women entrepreneurs across various sectors. The ceremony will take place on August 5 this year with President Maithripala Sirisena as the chief guest.
The main sponsor is Dialog Axiata, the others are Brandix, Ceylinco Life, Expolanka Holdings, MTV/MBC Channels (Pvt.) Ltd, Wijeya Newspapers and Fairway Holdings. Now in its ninth year, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards has recognized over 135 such outstanding women so far, all having demonstrated excellence in their areas of business — from economic growth to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors.
“We’re honoured to shine a spotlight on them,” expressed WCIC Chairperson Rifa Musthapha. ‘Ignite…Influence….Change’ will be this year’s theme, with awards being given to high achievers in the micro, small, medium and large categories. In addition to the four standard categories, this year WCIC will introduce three special categories namely – ‘Woman Exporter of the Year’, ‘Most Promising Young Entrepreneur’, ‘Best Female Start-Up Enterprise’, thereby expanding the horizon of the awards to accommodate an unrecognized segment of the market.
The pinnacle award of the gala ceremony will be the crowning of the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’, past winners of which have gone on to greater heights with the honour and exposure gained from it. Musthapha commenting on the awards said, “The collective impact of our country’s women entrepreneurs can never be overstated.
This celebration of achievement pays tribute to exceptional entrepreneurs who have achieved recognizable success by building and leading an entrepreneurial venture that has made a significant impact on the economy and the community.
This visionary woman entrepreneur is an inspirational leader and role model for women in business.” Musthapha went on to note that 80 percent of Sri Lanka’s economy is supported by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), of which only 10 percent are women SMEs.
“How can any country expect to progress economically if half of its population is not contributing towards the prosperity,” she queried. “Women entrepreneurs are an under-tapped force that can rekindle economic expansion.” “The past nine years reflects a turning point in the field of women entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka,” said WCIC Awards Committee Chairperson Illanga Karunaratne. “The awards have continuously spotlighted successful and replicable models and created a positive impact on other women aspirants.
We believe that in pioneering these awards, we have created role models among women who have further excelled in business, social and community initiatives.” Applications will be available at the WCIC secretariat and could be downloaded from their website www.wcicsl.lk . Closing date for applications is June 20, 2016. An esteemed and independent panel of judges will evaluate the applications.
The WCIC, a non-profit organisation of professional women and women in business and management was started in 1985 to promote the special interests of women entrepreneurs with the objective of incorporating them into the mainstream of business activity in the country. WCIC is the first women-only trade chamber to be set up in Sri Lanka in 1985 and the first in the world. The vision of the WCIC is to help rural and urban women develop their entrepreneurial skills and to enable them to enter the mainstream of business activity in the country. In keeping with this vision, the WCICs has launched a programme which aims at increasing a woman’s capacity to engage in entrepreneurial activities by enabling them to receive the knowledge required to manage and plan their finances, grow their business, enhance their credit facilities, get bank loans and to obtain information on taxation, and company registration.
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