EDB commemorates International Women’s Day with Export Marketplace program for women entrepreneurs

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The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) organised an Export Marketplace (Product Pitching) program coinciding with the International Women’s Day with the objective of enhancing the export market penetration ability of export-potential women entrepreneurs registered under ‘EDB Women Cell’ on 8 March, at the Auditorium of Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI). 

Former EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and during her speech, she emphasised the importance of Government agencies including the EDB carrying out a sustained effort to nurture and encourage women entrepreneurs to achieve their potential. Addressing the event, EDB Chairman Suresh de Mel stated that the EDB as a Government organisation is committed to empower Sri Lankan women entrepreneurs in the global market. “The EDB has identified three areas to develop Women Entrepreneurship – Capacity Development, Products Development and Market Development – these are the main components women entrepreneurs need to be equipped with to be successful in the international market,” he observed.

There are more than 850 women entrepreneurs island-wide registered under the ‘EDB Women Cell’. Having analysed their profiles, it was identified that there are some economic, social and physical barriers for them to enter the international market. Although they encounter several difficulties, they have failed to identify the bottlenecks which hinder them to enter the international market. Therefore, it is important to guide them to find international market opportunities by introducing a marketplace which connects different providers of services that are critical to developing products for export. 

This marketplace mechanism supports strengthening the quality of the product, develop capabilities of new and existing exporters and aims to validate the relevance of climate smart practices and technologies for firms to reinforce their resilience and value proposition to more sophisticated buyer markets.

The EDB organised Export Marketplace programs targeting export potential women entrepreneurs, from 2018 to 2020, coinciding with the International Women’s Day. In each programme, the best three entrepreneurs who presented the best marketing strategies were selected and cash awards were granted to obtain the services that are considered as key to expanding their business internationally. They have been successful in developing their businesses to suit the international markets. 

Prior to the final program on 8 March, a one-day ‘Knowledge Sharing Workshop’ on product pitching and developing a marketing plan was conducted for the selected women entrepreneurs on 4 March, by the EDB Coaching Team.

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