Sri Lanka’s first accelerator program for females AccelerateHER, held its finale event ‘Demo Day’ recently.
The program’s six recent graduates presented their products and services and pitched for the opportunity to receive investment and support from partners in Sri Lanka, USA and other parts of the world to take their business towards global markets.
The event which was held at the Hatch premises recently and featured female founders in industries that included tourism, baby and mother care, sustainable fashion and food.
These six founders spent the past three months going through a rapid and immersive business acceleration program, working with industry mentors, business advisors, and subject matter experts.
When Hatch launched ‘AccelerateHER’ in collaboration with the US Department of State in November 2021, it was intended as an accelerator and gender-based awareness-raising initiative, aimed at developing women entrepreneurs within the country.
“When the US began this partnership with Hatch to start the AccelerateHER program last year, we envisioned that women entrepreneurs would reap the benefits. Their success is now our success, and I can’t think of a better investment”, said US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie J. Chung, on Demo Day.
Apart from the US Department of State, the program was supported by outreach partners, including Diversity collective, Youlead, WEconnect International, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Daily FT, TNL, Arteculate, Echelon, and Chokolaate.
The six founders showcased on Demo Day included Shenuka Umagiliya, Founder of Ba.La.Mu, Sashini Jinasena, Founder of Leo the Label, Bhagya Sandakalum Founder of BlueFish, Shivani Tyronne, Founder of Miris by Island Mom, Lasni Silva, Founder of Lactoboost by Spice Carriage and Tina Lobo, Founder of True by Tina. Hatch provided each of these female founders a platform to access the skills and resources needed to scale their business.
The event also confirmed that Hatch will further conduct islandwide boot camps from next month to November. These boot camps will be an extension of the two-year AccelerateHER programs, with modules covering key stages of business development and empowering female entrepreneurs.
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