The MoU was signed by Mr. Saman Bandara – Samurdhi Director General on behalf of the Ministry of Samurdhi and Mr. Rakhil Fernando – Managing Director/ Country Head of Daraz Sri Lanka
Daraz Sri Lanka partnered with the Department of Samurdhi Development to enhance the economic engagement and success of entrepreneurs in rural Sri Lanka. Apart from just leading the tech industry with mobile phone brands and other tech related products, Daraz also works to empower the small scale businesses and help grow their potential
This partnership will train and empower Samurdhi entrepreneurs and small manufacturers to use the versatile Daraz platform - currently host to over 25,000 sellers, and over 1.5 million customers - to showcase their products, sell them effectively and engage in projects that will amplify their businesses by connecting them directly to consumers nationwide.
Daraz.lk, owned by the multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group, and the Department of Samurdhi Development signed an MoU on the 9th of January 2020. In attendance at the signing were Minister of Women & Child Affairs and Social Security and Minister of Healthcare and Indigenous Medical Services, Hon. (Mrs.) Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, M.P., State Minister of Social Security, Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya, M.P. and Managing Director of Daraz, Mr. Rakhil Fernando.
"The island is brimming with amazing untapped talent. In every corner of this country, enterprising individuals make fine products and Daraz wants to help them showcase their efforts to all consumers through the process of online shopping in Sri Lanka. Minister Tharaka Balasuriya spearheaded this initiative and reached out to Daraz as rural development is a key driver in our growth plans for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's more rural regions that give rise to more unique, local and culturally-ownable products have been largely overlooked. Daraz saw an opportunity here to uplift these communities, and give them access to thousands of consumers daily. With the help of Minister Balasuriya and the Samurdhi Development Program, Daraz has identified key entrepreneurs who will benefit the most from the platform,” stated Rakhil Fernando.
The first step of the partnership was a workshop for over 300 entrepreneurs from the Samurdhi programme, initiating them into the world of digital commerce and exploring the benefits and opportunities available to the products they manufacture. The next step is to take the orientation of local SMEs island wide - so that no potential seller is limited by where they are located.
In the spirit of empowering Sri Lanka through the independent means afforded by e-Commerce, Daraz is also planning a programme for women who do not have ready access to the internet, but are currently creating exciting products that deserve the exposure of being a part of a nearly 1-million strong product base and visited online by nearly 120,000 people every day.