People’s Bank recently launched the Peoples’ Spark Entrepreneurship Development Program along with a dedicated loan scheme to provide a pathway for educated, skillful young entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality.
The inauguration ceremony of this unique program was held recently at the Staff Training College and was graced by the presence of Chief Guests People’s Bank Chairman Sujeewa Rajapakse and Chief Executive Officer/General Manager Ranjith Kodituwakku. The Keynote Speaker of the event was Lassana Flora Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Lasantha Malavige.
People’s Spark Entrepreneurship Development Program 2022 is exclusively designed for highly-motivated, dynamic individuals with pragmatic business ideas and the entrepreneurial drive to start and grow their own business venture. The program has been developed in line with the Government’s National policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”. It will be conducted by a highly-experienced panel of veteran lecturers headed by Prof. B. Nishantha, Department of Management & Organization Studies, Faculty of Management and Finance of the University of Colombo. Prof. Nishantha is the Co-Founder of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Unit (IEDU), established at the University of Colombo in 2015 for supporting entrepreneurs.
Expressing his views, People’s Bank Chairman Sujeewa Rajapakse commented, “Sri Lanka has always created young, budding entrepreneurs with promising business ideas who simply lacked the funding and the knowledge to create their own business. Now more than ever, we need these individuals to step forward to build their business, generate employment and contribute towards the rural and national economy. People’s Bank is proud to provide them with a platform to embark on their entrepreneurial journey through the People’s Spark Entrepreneurship Development Program where over 1,500 applications were received by the Bank. After careful evaluation of all applications, the Bank has shortlisted 70 skillful candidates and is currently in the process of conducting the incubation program.”
People’s Bank Chief Executive Officer/General Manager Ranjith Kodituwakku stated, “Global economies are facing numerous challenges primarily triggered by the pandemic but with such difficulties new opportunities also arise. Young entrepreneurs who are able to think outside the box and come up with innovative business ideas have a great chance to capitalize on such opportunities. However, funding and knowledge have always remained a stumbling block for them. Through the People’s Spark Entrepreneurship Development Program, People’s Bank is able to provide them an innovative platform for them to confidently navigate these uncharted waters and build up their businesses.”
The core concept of this program is providing easy access to finance for young graduates and NVQ certificate holders (level five and above) while eradicating collateral barriers. People’s Bank facilitates the participants for enriching their practical knowledge within the business context, through an incubation program which consists of comprehensive training and internship programs. The participants are required to submit a business plan after the incubation period at which point the Bank will consider providing them a start-up loan facility up to Rs. 2.5 million only upon submission of primary documents. After disbursement the Bank will closely monitor all projects for a period of one year to ensure the business operations are carried out in line with the business plan and streamlined, if necessary.
Deputy General Manager (Enterprise Banking) Krishani Narangoda, Assistant General Manager (Development & Micro Finance) U.S Gerty, Assistant General Manager (SME) Wickrama Narayana, Assistant General Manager (Channel Management) T.M.W Chandrakumara, Assistant General Manager (Off Shore Unit & Corporate Banking) D.M.D. Dasanayake, Assistant General Manager (Commercial Credit) P.M Ariyawanse, Assistant General Manager (Commercial Banking) Thushari Hewawasam and Head of Marketing Nalaka Wijayawardana also were present at this event.
People’s Bank is the country’s Premiere Licensed Commercial Bank with Sri Lanka’s largest banking footprint comprised of 742 branches and service centers island-wide. With a history spanning 60 years, the Bank benefits from a staff strength of close to 8,000 who tirelessly and diligently serve more than 14.0 million customers and close to 19.0 million account relationships, which is by far the largest customer base of any financial services provider in the country. Established under the People’s Bank Act No. 29 of 1961, the Bank carries a National Long-Term Rating of “AA- (lka/ Stable)”; by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd.