How Wasantha scaled her small business
Wasantha is 49 years old, and owns and runs an agri-processing and trading business with her husband out of her home in Sri Lanka. She has two teenage daughters, both in school. She first met VisionFund over 10 years ago, just after the family had been through a financial crisis and were facing a life of poverty.
Looking for a way to earn a stable income to support her family, she spotted a market opportunity and started her business buying bulk grain, processing and repackaging for resale at a tiny scale at home and with handwritten labels. Little by little, the business grew, but soon microfinance loans were too small and she was unable to capitalise on opportunities to grow her business.
With two SGB loans (of approximately AUD 8,000 and AUD 15,000 respectively) as well as business coaching support, Wasantha was empowered to expand her business, using her loans to take advantage of market opportunities to purchase stock to sell in the off season, and business has boomed. She now has eight full time women employees, two storerooms, a packaging room and a machinery shed.
She has also set up a unique business model, using poor and disadvantaged women in her community as distributors. The women buy packaged grain and seed and sell the products for a profit. This allows these women to earn a decent income while still managing their households. She understands the impact this has on the livelihoods of her distributors, and would rather continue to support them than sell direct to markets and homes which might generate higher financial returns but jeopardise the incomes of these women.