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WCIC national awards will help SL women entrepreneurs to enter global markets: chairperson

This time poised to select the ‘Best of the Region’ from each province

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Prathibhabisheka National Awards to be bestowed on outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC region will be recognised globally, Anoji De Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka (WCIC) told The Island Financial Review.

She made this comment as WCIC is gearing to showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka – The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022, powered by DFCC ALOKA.

“The award is a national award and hence will be recognized globally. This will definitely help the women to market their products to global buyers. The Chamber at present also has an MOU with WEConnect where we recommend women who are able to sell in the global market to register. We also hope to recommend our winners and other high potential women who apply for the awards to register giving them the opportunity to access global markets directly,” she explained.

“As a country we have gone through so many changes over the last 4 years and therefore, we felt we need to re-look at our concept and ensure that the winners of our award are those that have the potential to be global entrepreneurs,” she noted.

“Women Entrepreneurs have the ability to help our economy grow in a sustainable manner. They build companies that are built on a set of values and they create diverse and inclusive working environments. However, as a country we do little to help these women to grow and scale. To us, this is not just an award ceremony. Through the Judging process and after we include all these women into our network and then work with them to be more successful. Some of our past winners include, Abans Pastonjee, Lakmini Wijesundra, Yoland Aluwihare, Sandra Wanduragala, Indrani Fernando, Nayana Karunaratne and Ramya Weerakoon,” Chairperson of WCIC said.

“WCIC Prathibhabisheka – Women Entrepreneur Award 2022- powered by DFCC ALOKA is to be held in January 2023. Acceptance of applications for the competition is underway under the categories – startup, micro, small, medium and large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22.

“Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With a view to identifying and promoting regional women entrepreneurs, WCIC encourages applications from all the provinces in the country in order to select the ‘Best of the Region’ from each province.”

“The participants will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Startup, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur and Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the ‘Women Entrepreneur of the Year-2022’.

“The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka (WCIC) was established in 1985 by a group of visionary women with the main objective of facilitating the inclusion of women in mainstream business activity. WCIC is the first women-only trade chamber in Sri Lanka and is also considered the first in the world. The vision of the WCIC is to be “A voice and platform for the empowerment of women as powerful nation builders by participating in and transforming the economic growth of the nation”.

When asked if the entry requirement of financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply, the chairperson said, “We have a startup category which is under 5 years where they can submit unaudited documents for consideration. These women can apply under this category. We believe they should keep proper records beyond this as otherwise they will not be able to scale and grow.”

The entry kit can be downloaded from www.wcicsl.lk and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story.

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