By: Tharushi Peris
Union Bank reaffirms its commitment to fostering women-led businesses and supporting the vital Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in Sri Lanka.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a pivotal role in Sri Lanka's economic landscape, acting as a cornerstone of the nation's socio-economic development. This diverse sector not only significantly contributes to the country's GDP but also serves as a primary source of employment. For more than a quarter of a century, Union Bank has been dedicated to providing essential services to support and nurture SMEs throughout Sri Lanka. In addition to fostering the development and expansion of SME businesses spanning various industries, the bank takes immense pride in championing Female Entrepreneurship. Union Bank has been a driving force behind continuously improving and expanding its services to bolster women-led businesses and empower women entrepreneurs.
Among the comprehensive financial solutions offered to this sector, the bank has established an SME credit line that places a special emphasis on providing grants to women entrepreneurs. Through this credit line, women entrepreneurs are assured a 10% grant, with selected sectors having the opportunity to receive up to 25% of the loan amount. Janaka Edirisinghe, Chief Manager of Development Financing and Business Revival / Rehabilitation at Union Bank, commented, “Union Bank is deeply committed to supporting and empowering women in entrepreneurship. The bank has introduced a range of support initiatives, including funding, advisory services, and skill development programs. We are delighted to see that over 60% of participants in our SME workshops are women entrepreneurs, demonstrating their keen interest in Union Bank's SME Credit Line.”
In addition to grants, Union Bank's support initiatives grant women entrepreneurs access to opportunities for enhancing their knowledge, skills, and business sustainability know-how. The sector faces considerable challenges in securing financial backing due to limited access to funding sources. Nevertheless, Union Bank remains steadfast in its commitment to providing funding to this sector. In the past year, significant funding has been distributed, and the bank is actively planning to introduce several additional support initiatives to further encourage and empower women entrepreneurs.