By Zahara Zuhair
With the aim of supporting and assisting social entrepreneurs interested in starting up businesses that address environmental issues, Lanka Social Ventures (LSV), with an investment of Rs. 1.5 million inaugurated an accelerator programme for green businesses.
The six month programme (May – October) focuses on supporting 12 innovative start-ups.
“We identify their business and develop a plan for them. We make their investment ready after six months. After six months, we have a similar event for finance,” Dr. Lalith Welamadage a member of the expert panel said at an event held for the entrepreneurs to pitch their business proposals to a panel of experts.
As the entrepreneurs were presenting their proposals, it was stressed that policies should be brought in for this kind of ventures to sustain and also the need for having more discussions on this subject.
Some of the other issues highlighted were; lack of mentoring to make their businesses sustainable, the need for a national policy for recycling, certification issues when it comes to branding their products, their lack of knowledge in marketing and promoting and mainly obtaining finance assistance for their ventures.
University of Peradeniya Professor. Ben Basnayake said that this programme will help the recycling sector and the greening concept. “It has to come from the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Healthy life is more important. That is the social value we have to develop.
That comes with these kind of programmes,” he said. In this proramme, participating entrepreneurs will be supported by business coaches and mentors with local and foreign experts in order to make their ideas a reality.
Some of the ideas that will be supported in the accelerator programme will be; recycling and reusing of waste, plastic recycling, sustainable packaging, organic food production, used fabric plant pots, healthy food café, online store for eco-products and handmade greeting cards.
The business proposals presented were on an online platform to sell used books and an online library, a web-based online system to register and supply eco-friendly products, producing paper bags and paper products, producing organic food, innovative solutions for maintaining a garden in a limited space using fabrics and usable stuff etc.
Welamadadge said that this is their first environment-related programme and already they have ventured in to four other programmes such as agri business, women entrepreneurship and their main focus is Social Enterprise (SEs). He said they started in 2015 and already have helped over 50 enterprises in the country.
LSV is a social enterprise registered as a public company in
They assist committed individuals and groups with bright business ideas to develop and transform their ideas into successful and financially-sustainable enterprises.