Sri Lanka’s first accelerator program tailored for the country’s female

founders, AccelerateHER, which recently held its finale event ‘Demo Day’. 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 in effectively taking their business towards global markets.

The event which took place on 23 June 2022, was held at the Hatch premises and

featured female founders in industries that included tourism, baby and mother care,

sustainable fashion and food. These six founders spent the last 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.

Aside 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 IslandMom, 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.

AccelerateHER’s women entrepreneurs benefited from Hatch’s mentors and experts

who have deep industry, investment, and entrepreneurship knowledge from having

worked across all stages of a startup. This collective experience, together with that of

Hatch’s growing list of female alumni, is aimed at helping these female founders overcome gender-specific nuances that prevent women from succeeding in business

through peer-to-peer learning, to become investor-ready.

The program allows a selected number of women entrepreneurs and their startups to

take part in the three-month initiative, giving them the opportunity to collaborate and

co-create together with the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem while also enhancing their knowledge and uplifting their businesses.

“Global studies show that businesses with women founders raise more money and build

better results. Yet, women often dismiss entrepreneurship as an option due to its impact on

their family lives and its high risk. However, these six talented women entrepreneurs have

demonstrated that despite harsh economic conditions, with hard work and creativity you can

exceed your wildest expectations for yourself. We hope that AccelerateHer continues to be

an important catalyst for higher female labour force participation in Sri Lanka” – Brindha

Selvadurai, CEO and Co-Founder of Hatch.

According to the Program Director for the accelerator program, Minuri Adasuriya, these

female founders are a great example of what is possible with a true entrepreneurial

mindset, being agile, pivoting and resilience to overcome the challenges we have today.

“In three short months, our AccelerateHER female founders secured 17 partnerships

both strategic and retail partnerships worth well over 20 million Rupees. 5 out of the 6

teams doubled their product lines and increased quantities by 100%. 70% of teams

doubled their sales and revenue and 90% expanded their teams, making them

employers for the first time ever and creating jobs in the economy,” said Adasuriya at

the event.

The event also confirmed that Hatch will further conduct island-wide boot camps in

2022, from August to November. These boot camps will be an extension of the 2 year

AccelerateHER programs, with modules covering key stages of business development

and empowering female entrepreneurs.

A major focus of these bootcamps will be placed on supporting women-owned

businesses that are economically and sustainably viable. The boot camps will take

place in areas such as Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Kurunegala, Batticaloa, and Jaffna.

For more information about the program and upcoming boot camps, visit

https://www.accelerateher.asia/accelerateher-bootcamp

ENDS

Photo Caption- AccelerateHer entrepreneurs with Hatch Programs Team

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