Lessons Learned in Enterprise Development from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island nation off the coast of India and has a population of over 20 million. Sri Lanka’s 26-year ethnic civil war devastated its Northern and Eastern provinces and left the country with stark economic imbalances. As the country moves past its contentious history, the ability of ethnic Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors, and Sinhalese to peacefully integrate both politically and economically is vital to Sri Lanka’s journey toward self-reliance.
In 2011, two years after the civil war ended, the USAID Sri Lanka BIZ+ project, implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37 (formerly Land O’Lakes International Development), began working with communities most affected by the war. The project introduced and enhanced livelihood and job opportunities across the country to promote economic vitality through support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). BIZ+ partnered with SMEs across Sri Lanka and expanded to work with additional businesses and focus on new geographic regions.
The USAID BIZ+ program in Sri Lanka helped small and medium-sized businesses sustainably and effectively accelerate and grow. This work created over 8,000 jobs and leveraged over $22 million in private sector investment. But moreover, it created ripple effects in the communities of small businesses.
We're proud to present our Enterprise Development Report, focused on the collaborations, learnings, and adaptations of the 8-year USAID Sri Lanka BIZ+ program to support small and medium-sized businesses to create lasting change.