Economic development to increase resistance to disasters
In Sri Lanka, ACTED is providing business development support to 40 existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts of Eastern Sri Lanka. Through these activities, businesses will receive an infusion of capital, business training and mentoring, and increased market access needed to expand their businesses and thus providing a sustainable avenue for improving economic activity within their communities. This projects works towards poverty alleviation, one of the key pillars of the Millennium Development Goals and a major focus of the Convergences 2015 World Forum.
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Mr. Niger was too afraid of the ocean to return to his job as a fisherman. As his family’s merger savings dwindled, Niger’s wife suggested that he establish a small business seasoning and packaging nuts and snacks at their home located away from the coast in Iqbalnagar village of eastern Sri Lanka. Niger established “Five-Star Mixture”, a small business that has grown into a successful business, but one that has not reached its full potential. But with the help of ACTED, this should change shortly.
ACTED will be providing Niger and 39 other existing SMEs in the surrounding communities with business grants of up to 10,000 euros, business trainings, and access to financial services, as a part of a project supported by EuropeAid. Specifically, the SMEs will work with ACTED and its local partner, CEFE, to develop business plans, complete with a value-chain analysis based on recent market surveys. The SMEs will also receive business trainings and mentoring from CEFE, which is an expert in SME business development in Sri Lanka. Additionally, the selected SMEs will benefit from ACTED’s knowledge of the business environment and established connections within the country to make linkages between each other and larger producers and distributors in Sri Lanka.
Another selected SME is “Vinitha Dry Fish Production”, owned and operated by Vinitha, who has over 32 years of experience in the dried fish profession. Her original business was disrupted when Vinitha and her family were displaced by the Sri Lankan civil war. However, after resettling in 2002 she reestablished her company and now has over 15 employees. Vinitha hopes to use ACTED’s market links to expand her shipment of dried fish to farther distribution points. She also hopes to hire more fishermen to increase the supply of fish. By ensuring the sustainability of her business, Vinitha hopes to pass her business onto her sons, who are also engaged in the business.
With the support of ACTED, Niger can improve the production and sustainability of his company, and also meet the needs of his family, save money, and also be able to hire more employees, thereby moving his family farther away from the poverty threshold whilst also providing jobs and other economic benefits for the wider community.
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