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Rosmery Matilda – running a plant nursery for profit

Featured Entrepreneur | October 2, 2019

Spreading the Seeds of Growth to Women SMEs in Sri Lanka

Rosmery Matilda loves to grow vegetables, fruits, and flowers in her garden. She joined the Green Lanka Society in Gampaha District, a community-based floriculture society five years ago. As a member of the society she received training on how to start and maintain a plant nursery.

At that time, her husband was the only breadwinner for the family with two children. When her husband was sick and ordered to rest for at least a year by his doctors, Rosmery had to find a job to provide for her family. Equipped with the skills from her training the Green Lanka Society and her passion for gardening Rosmery decided to start a plant nursery business in 2012.

Her initial investment was around SLRs6,000 ($46). She gained more expertise as her business grew. Even after her husband recovered and returned to work, Rosmery continued with her own business. She was able to hire a part time female assistant and purchased a new plot of land next to her home.

She also started selling plants at flower exhibitions in the Gampaha district at higher profits. To boost sales at the exhibitions, Rosmery needed to increase her production and added more varieties of plants in her nursery. To finance the investment Rosmery obtained a loan amounting SLRs800,000 ($4,705) from NDB bank in early 2019 and a SLRs800,000 ($4,705) loan and SLRs200,000 ($1,176) grant from the bank under the ADB-funded SME Line of Credit and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) grant.

She used the proceeds to construct a net house, and purchase flower plants and pots. The investment paid off as she doubled the monthly average sales from 500 plants to 1,000 plants. Rosmery sells flower plants to retail plant sellers who purchase different varieties of flower plants from her weekly. To manage better managed her business she hired another full-time female employee.

“Even with the new investment and staff, I cannot meet the growing demand,” she said. She wants to expand her nursery with more net houses and plant varieties.

Rosmery also keen to share her knowledge about farming techniques to other women who are interested to start a similar business. She has trained 6 women—one of them was her former assistant who has started her own anthurium nursery.

Learn more about ADB’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Line of Credit Project.