Under the Citi–CCC Rural Economic Empowerment Program, Hatton National Bank provided loan facilities to a group of micro scale businessmen in the Urubokke area of the Matara district to launch new businesses as well as for expansion of businesses.
Thirty-seven entrepreneurs, who were earlier trained under the Empowerment Program on identifying commercially viable business and preparation of business plans for launching new businesses or expansion of businesses as well as on ways and means of sourcing finances from the formal financial sector, were presented loans by HNB Urubokke branch, which has been set up as a Gemi Pubuduwa branch to cater to micro scale entrepreneurs.
Among the entrepreneurs, there were 17 women engaged in micro-scale food processing, running tea and spice nurseries and grocery shops in their locality.
Male entrepreneurs are mainly engaged in tea and cinnamon cultivation and collection of tea leaves and cinnamon quills. Citi Country Officer, Citibank Sri Lanka, Ravin Basnayake, Head of Corporate Affairs, Citibank Sri Lanka, Shanaka Waduge, Senior Assistant Secretary General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Chandra D. Vithanage and , Assistant General Manager, SME and Development Finance of HNB, Jude Fernando were also present.
Senior Assistant Secretary General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra D. Vithanage said program offers much more than micro finance by focusing on providing an integrated package of services.
Assistant General Manager, SME and Development Finance of HNB, Jude Fernando said the HNB has been supporting the rural entrepreneurs through Gemi Pubuduwa program for nearly two decades and is privileged to partner with Citi-CCC Rural Economic Empowerment program, which was funded by Citibank and implemented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.