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EDB Commemorates International Women’s Day by organizing Export Marketplace Programme for Women Entrepreneurs

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Mr.Suresh de Mel -EDB Chairman
Mrs.Indira Malwatte, Former EDB Chairperson

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) organized an Export Marketplace (Product Pitching) programme 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 8th March, 2021, at the Auditorium of Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI).

Indira Malwatte, Former EDB Chairperson, graced the occasion as the chief guest and during her speech, she emphasized 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 organization 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 analyzed 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 organized Export Marketplace Programmes targeting export potential women entrepreneurs, from 2018 to 2020, coinciding with the International Women’s Day. In each programme, the best 3 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 programme on 8th March, 2021, a one-day ‘Knowledge Sharing Workshop’ on product pitching and developing a marketing plan was conducted for the selected women entrepreneurs on 4th March, 2021, by the EDB Coaching Team.