Business Loans from Youth Business Sri Lanka
Youth Business Sri Lanka, a youth assistance programme at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, provided loans to the value of six hundred thousand rupees to eighteen youths from Badulla, Kegalle and Trincomalee, to commence businesses recently. â€œThe total commitment during this initial phase is one million rupeesâ€, a spokesman for the YBSL said. The YBSL programme aims to support enterprising young people, aged between 18-35 years, who have a viable business plan, but do not have collateral or supporting background through a credit facility for business start up. The initial credit assistance is limited to fifty thousand rupees, to be paid back in twelve months. The YBSL also provides these young people with businerss mentoring.
Mr. Upali Nissanka Gunasekara, Mayor of Badulla, speaking at the event, said that it is a continuing problem for the youth in Sri Lanka to get financial assistance for their businesses due to procedural and collateral issues. Youth assistance programmes like YBSL fulfill a valuable service in this regard not only by improving the livelihood of the youth and their families, but also by contributing to the development of regions like Badulla which are considered to be less developed, he added. The Chief Guest of the Kegalle event, Mr. D Abeywickrame, Additional District Secretary of Kegalle, mentioned that as a firm believer of private-public sector partnership for development, this type of initiative from the Chambers are welcome and will receive the support of the government.
The Chairman of the Trincomalee Urban Council, Mr. Gowri Muhundan, pointed out that youth employment is the need of the hour in the context of post conflict Sri Lanka. This kind of credit support to youth to start businesses would make them employment creators and help to eliminate the factors that contribute to conflict.
The specialty of the YBSL credit programme is that loans are given based on the viability of the proposed business. In addition, the enterprising youth are linked to an experienced business person as a mentor.
It is often cited that many small businesses started by youth fail because of the poor business decisions that are taken, mostly in managing finance, said Mr. Sujeewa Ratnakumara, the National Programme Manager of YBSL. The YBSLâ€™s previous experience with the Hambantota Youth Business Programme was that over 80% of the businesses succeeded because of the advice given by a mentor. Mentoring has become very significant, when youth try to tackle modern day complexities of a business start up, and mentors provide this assistance voluntarily, he added. According to YBSL guidelines, the participating Chambers have arranged suitable mentors for the youth who are receiving loans under the YBSL programme.
The credit assistance for the YBSL credit programme is given by International Alert, an INGO working towards empowering youth which supports the YBSL Secretariat. Youth Business Sri Lanka (www.ybsl.lk) is an accredited programme of Youth Business International, a charity dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs.
YBSL is the leadership body for a network of youth business programmes implemented in 38 countries. The YBSL programme fits into the Ceylon Chamber of Commerceâ€™s overall development agenda relating to developing the regions and investing in youth.
Youth Business Sri Lanka was developed in 2007 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce, building on the success of Hambantota Youth Business Trust, which was set up in 1997. To date, the organization has supported over 400 entrepreneurs through funding and its network of 85 mentors.