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POSTED AT 08:38 AM 29-09-2018

Enterprise Sri Lanka – BOC Thurunu Diriya’ loan recipient shares her story

Image Courtesy: Daily News

Sandali Kulathunga with her plant nursery

Starting a business and driving it to be successful is not an easy task. Every entrepreneur despite being small or big has to face numerous barriers including financial barriers. The ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka, Bank of Ceylon Thurunu Diriya’ loan scheme has given potential small-scale young entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka an opportunity to face those financial problems and reach their dream. This is a story of a ‘Thurunu Diriya’ loan recipient.

SandaliKulathunga is a 24-year-old entrepreneur who operates a plant nursery, Sandali Plant Nursery, in Kimbissa area in Dambulla. She is the middle child and the only daughter in a family of five. 

After finishing her Ordinary Level Examination at Weera Mohan JayamahaMaha Vidyalaya, Dambulla, she followed the National Vocational Qualification Level 4 certificate course in Plant Nursery Development Assistantat Inamaluwa Technical College and a course in Landscaping and Gardening at Matale District Vocational Training Centre, Dambulla. 

From the knowledge she gathered from the above courses, she started a plant nursery on her parents’ four-acre land, facing Trincomalee-Dambulla main road, with the guidance of her father, who is currently working at the Agrarian Services Department. 

Although she had four acres of land for the business, she has been carrying out her business during the past few years on a small scale due to economicdifficulties. She came to know about the ‘Thurunu Diriya’ loan from the Technical College, where she followed the course in plant nursery development. She saw this loan scheme as a great opportunity to expand her business. Therefore, she applied for the loan through the specific procedure.

Since she had all the requirements to receive the loan, she could easily get through the loan application process and receive the loan worth Rs. 500,000 a few weeks ago. She used the loan to expand her plant nursery by buying a water pump to get water from the Dambulla Water Project easily and building a hut to keep plants and a small building for business purposes.  “I could easily get through the process of getting this loan and SEDD was very supportive throughout this process. SEDD also conducted a two-day training program to educate the entrepreneurs on how to conduct a business. This helped us to learn a lot of thingsthat we did not know.”

She appreciated the ‘Thurunu Diriya’ loan scheme and Small Enterprise Development Division.

“My future plan is to expand and develop my business by getting the maximum use of the four acres of the land we own,”she said, explaining her future plans.

The Bank of Ceylon in collaboration with the Policy Development Office (PDO) of the Prime Minister’s Office, theCentral ProgramManagement Unit (CPMU) of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the Small Enterprises Development Division (SEDD) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Project Management and Southern Development implemented the‘ThurunuDiriya’ loan scheme. 

It provides loans without a guarantor and collateral or with lenient guarantor conditions for young entrepreneurswho possess a degree or a recognised vocational certificate and have been in the business for not less than three years. Further details of this loan scheme can be obtained from the Bank of Ceylon branches or the Divisional Secretariats islandwide.