The Lankan Angel Network (LAN) recently hosted a Mentor Networking Night at Colombo’s newest hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, for the Sri Lankan leg of WeScale, a USAID-led program for Women Entrepreneurs (WEs) in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Designed to support Women Entrepreneurs in scaling their tech-focused and -enabled businesses to the next level, WeScale is coordinated by the South Asia Regional Digital Initiative (SARDI), which is a part of USAID’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP). Its partners include DAI and Accelerating Asia, along with LAN, Bangladesh Angels, India Accelerator and SAFAL.
According to LAN Chairperson Chandi Dharmaratne, “Now is the time for Sri Lanka’s Women Entrepreneurs to take charge and help steer our economy to a brighter tomorrow. It is widely believed that, by increasing women’s economic participation in the workplace, Sri Lanka could potentially add up to US$ 20 billion to its GDP by 2025. So, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we as mentors plan to support the efforts of Sri Lanka’s WeScale participants at next month’s WeScale+ regional program. We also expect that LAN’s partnership in WeScale, and other, similar programs, will lead to a significant growth in job creation for our country.”
Comprising an overall 12-week virtual program for women entrepreneurs, WeScale in Sri Lanka also features a 4-week intensive session where its Sri Lankan founders can take advantage of multiple opportu n i t i e s t o i n t e r a c t w i t h b u d d i n g a n d e s t a b l i s h e d i n v e s t o r s .
P a r t i c i p a t i n g i n W e S c a l e S r i L a n k a a r e : R u w i n i J a y a r a t h n e , f r o m R u w i n i J a y a r a t h n e
J e w e l r y ( J e w e l r y ) ; D h a n u s h k a K a r u n a r a t h n e , f r o m C e y l o n D h e e A y u r v e d a P v t L t d ( B e a u t y C a r e ) ; A c h i n t h y a N e l i g a m a , from INGROW Holdings Pvt Ltd (Food Manufacturing); Draupadie Wickramasinghe, from Maja, a New Story (Fashion); Upeka Premathilaka, from Ample (Fashion);
Dinu Kadahetti, from Enhanzer Pvt Ltd (ERP Solutions); Thanuki Idangodage, from Body Doc Fitness & Wellness Pavilion (Fitness); Nabeela Yaseen, from Stoned Jewelry (Jewelry); Shanika Sandeepani, from AGC Innovate Pvt Ltd (Construction); Pulani Ranasinghe, from Loons Lab (Software); Afrah Saldin, from The Saree Library (Fashion); Safiya Sideek, from Elements by Safiya (Gifting); Nishu Gunawardana, from Nehemiah Consultants (PR); and Tharini Dasanayaka, from Cesova Pvt Ltd (Software).
The most recent activity in this program was the Mentor Networking Night, which was held at the end of February 2023. This event entailed an evening of connecting and networking between WeScale participants and the program’s local mentors; affording the mentees the chance to ask specific questions related to scaling up their businesses, so that they could work towards becoming pitch- and investor-ready.
Next, WeScale mentees have the opportunity to participate in the Investor Night, which will be hosted by LAN and is scheduled for March 20, 2023. During this upcoming forum, Women Entrepreneurs will benefit from direct access to a number of decision-makers in the Angel Investor and Venture Capital space, with the chance to pitch their business ideas and future plans to this highly sought after group.
Picture caption: Mentors and Mentees at the LAN-hosted WeScale Mentor Night