Seva Finance Assists Micro-Enterprise to Grow
Salaried or wage-paying jobs are scarce in many rural parts of eastern Sri Lanka. Most citizens earn their living through self employment, creating and operating small and medium size enterprises (SME). Sevalanka’s sister organisation Seva Finance provides financial services and supports SMEs to increase productivity and grow into businesses.
“We fulfil the investment needs of micro-entrepreneurs in the low income sector throughout the district, by providing low-income families with small loans to invest in their micro-enterprises. We motivate CBO members and support them to create their own jobs, increase their income, build assets, and increase their family’s well-being”, says Mr. Jayantha Bandara, Credit Manger of Sewa Finance in Trincomalee.
Seva Finance Trincomalee started its credit scheme of lending to strong CBOs in 2006. The team is currently working with 37 CBOs including those in the fishing community, agro farmers and micro-entrepreneurs. So far they have disbursed and recovered over Rs. 152 million in loans with a recovery rate of 97%, and over the past four years many CBOs have made significant impact on their villages and the loan recipients have been able to improve their businesses, homes and lives.
“Our loans are designed to reach the working poor. Our beneficiaries, 90% of whom are women, have shown a significant improvement to their finances. We work closely with our clients and support them build their businesses so they can earn more and become a part of their village’s development. In addition to loans, we train them on basic day-to-day management of small business, financial record-keeping, networking, and identifying practical marketing opportunities”, says Jayantha Bandara.
Ms. T. Sathyadevi, an active member of Kovil Adi Village Development Society, used her microfinance loan to expand her ornamental plants business. With an initial loan of Rs. 30,000 (US$ 250) she was able to expand her business and start a small stall. “I have been able to employ another person and my income has increased as neighbouring villagers come to my stall to buy plants. With my income and a second loan of Rs. 50,000 (US$ 430) from Seva Finance I was able to start another plant stall in the Anuradhapura town centre. Now I’m happy and optimistic about my future”, says Sathyadevi.
Ms. W. Padmawathi, a member of ‘Dilena Tharu Women’s Society’ of Kanthale had a dream of starting her own business and helping her family to overcome their prevailing economic problems. Padmawathi and other CBO members attended a fourteen-day comprehensive training session facilitated by Sewalanka on the production of leather goods. She saw a business opportunity for leather products in her small village of Kanthale. Padmawathi’s business idea was first discussed with her CBO and then with the Trincomalee Seva Finance team. Together they developed a business plan and she received an initial loan of Rs. 25,000 ($220) to start her leather shoe business.
“With the financial support of Sewa Finance and training I received from Sevalanka, I was able to buy leather, glue, thread and tools to start my business. I make quality leather shoes for children and youth. With my income, I have paid back my initial loan and I’m investing Rs. 40,000 (US$ 350) in the second round to start my own stall in the village centre’, says Padmawathi.
Ms. Sathyadevi and Ms. Padmawathi are just two successful entrepreneurs among many others who were encouraged by Seva Finance Trincomalee to contribute to their village’s development while creating a sustainable future for themselves and their families.