The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was granted $12.6 million under We-Fi’s first round of funding for a program on “Enabling an Empowering Business Environment for Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka”. This single, multi-pronged program builds on an existing line of credit channeled via commercial banks in Sri Lanka. It is designed to: (i) facilitate access to finance for up to 616 WSMEs in Colombo and lagging areas of Sri Lanka; (ii) build capacity, provide access to training and mentoring for 250 women entrepreneurs; (iii) support an additional 450 WSMEs through an e-platform; (iv) provide direct investment and advisory support to 10 participating financial institutions to improve gender-inclusive financial products and services to women; and (v) offer technical assistance to government agencies to improve the policy and regulatory environment. It also focuses on data collection and evidence-building on women’s entrepreneurship and includes an impact evaluation. It expects to make a significant dent in reducing Sri Lanka’s gender credit gap, estimated at $350 million.
To date, 314 WSMEs have received grants totaling $2.8 million. Consultations with stakeholders are underway to prepare a Gender Inclusive policy and regulatory framework. 500 women entrepreneurs will begin capacity building training in May 2019. Impact evaluation has been designed and will start implementation alongside grants and training.