Small & Growing Businesses – Nishanthi’s story

Small & Growing Businesses – Nishanthi’s story


In Sri Lanka’s rural north west, Nishanthi
struggled to earn enough to help sustain her family. When I was working for someone else, for one bundle, I was paid just 60 Rupee. I said
to my husband, I am tired of doing this. Bring some coir for me and I will comb at home. Coir is the processed coconut husk fibres
used to make products such as brushes and mats. Realising the business potential, Nishanthi decided to take
a risk and buy the combing station she had laboured at for several years. With the assistance of World Vision’s microfinance arm, VisionFund, Nishanthi took out the
small loans she need for continued success. By this time my combing business had increased and I had lots of people working for me. My husband was bedridden for about a year, and I went through the worst time of my life. I started losing employees because I couldn’t provide them with work, I couldn’t run the
operation and it started crashing down. With income falling, and leases to pay on
vehicles, Nishanthi was forced to give up the lorry’s and to sell businesses assets. Nishanthi’s entrepreneurial spirit couldn’t
be held back and she could see how to grow the business again. But the family faced one big problem. Wherever I went to get a loan, they would
look at my records, see I had sold the three vehicles, and because of my bad financials,
they were not able to give me a loan. It was at this that time Vision Fund approached Nishanthi and told her about the project. Which was helping entrepreneurs who had outgrown micro finance. This innovating programming approach specifically targets smalls and growing businesses that have outgrown micro finance and which traditional banks won’t lend to. Due to geographical remoteness, lack of collateral or poor financial record keeping. Under the project, Nishanthi was loaned the 600,000 Rupees she needed to rebuild her business. Nishanthi also receives monthly one on one business coaching to ensure she has her the knowledge and understanding to continue her business success. I think it’s amazing the fact that along with the loan they also support training, and financial
training – business training, and that really strengthens and stabilises their economy. With seed funding from the Australian Government, this project supports the growth of over 170
small and growing businesses and the 1,000 people they employ. It is estimated over four thousand people,
many of whom are women and children have been impacted through the program. And over the next 5 years, the SGB Finance
program will enable three and a half thousand small and growing businesses across 12 countries
to access finance and technical support. This provision of 20 million dollars of loans will support 21,000 jobs and generate up to 200 million dollars of economic value. Other than the business owner, there are so many others who are working who would have
been staying at home… .. if they didn’t have this work. And at the end of day to see supporting the well being of children. I think that’s core. Supported by this project these small and growing businesses are driving employment and inclusive economic development in their communities. Nishanthi’s business now processes two and a half tonnes of coir per week. And exports internationally. I knew I had the skill. I knew how to do this business. What was missing was money.

2 Comments

  1. Dan Stewart says:

    lol im first to comment nice vid tho

  2. Hiranga Goonawardena says:

    Awesome! Great work!!

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