SDB Uththamavi for female entrepreneurship | Sunday Observer

SDB Uththamavi for female entrepreneurship

Mrs. Delrene Seneviratne
Mrs. Delrene Seneviratne

Women constitute just over half of Sri Lanka’s population, and make a sizable contribution to the national economy.

According to the 2014 census, much of this contribution comes in the form of female entrepreneurship, with over 25% of all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sri Lanka led by women. However, only 6.1% of these women advance to the medium enterprises segment and only 4.6% progress to the large enterprises sector.

Head of Business, SDB Bank Mrs. Delrene Seneviratne said, “‘SDB Uththamavi’ is a total financial solution which focuses on the advancement of female entrepreneurs. We want to increase the percentage of women in the MSME sector who climb up the ladder and reach medium and large sectors. We understand that this cannot be achieved by savings alone.”

The requirement of collateral is waived in ‘Uththamavi’ and replaced with two guarantors acceptable to the Bank.

The loan also gives the option for women entrepreneurs to draw up to 10% of the loan amount after six months of regular servicing of the loan to meet financial needs.

Mrs. Seneviratne went on to explain what makes ‘Uththamavi’ a long term initiative, as opposed to a banking product. “All entrepreneurs go through different cycles in their lives, and for women, this is even more important. Once she has started her business she needs working capital to expand her business, and somebody to guide her on financial and business management.

Once she has the working capital and expands her business, she has to know what to invest in. ‘Uththamavi’ stands by women throughout this whole process, imparting the requisite knowledge.”

A woman over 18 years of age is eligible for an ‘Uththamavi’ loan, provided she owns at least 50% of the business or is the main decision maker. A female entrepreneur carrying on an ethical business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or a company incorporated under the Companies Act will be entitled to financial assistance up to Rs 1 million to meet capital expenditure or working capital needs under the loan scheme.

The assistance could be availed by women up to the age of 60 years provided the age at maturity of the loan tenor does not exceed 65 years.

‘Uththamavi’ also inculcates the saving habit in Sri Lankan women. The savings facility offers a special slab based interest rate and numerous other perks and benefits.