Case Study

Indigenous Microcredit and Enterprise Establishment: A Sri Lankan Case Study

Enterprise devlopement and micro credit: what linkages?

The paper reports on Sarvodaya the largest Southern-based non-governmental organisation operating in Sri Lanka, which seeks to assist economic and social development in a sustainable manner. It evaluates one of its many programmes, known as SEEDS (Sarvodaya Economic Enterprises Division), which provides credit to the rural poor members of society to establish micro-enterprises. Specifically, a primary research was undertaken over a ten week period in mid-1999 using semi-structured interviews and Participant Rural Appraisal (PRA) to establish how entrepreneurs see wealth (and what they aspire to), and to obtain detailed information on their daily activities and the associated time allocations. The findings show that:

  • A wide variety of traditional and non-traditional enterprises have been established or expanded in rural areas with credit from SEEDS;
  • The self-sustainability of SEEDS-initiated enterprises is considered in terms of the comprehensiveness and usefulness of the enterprise support and training provided,and whether enterprises are dependent upon external factors for survival;
  • Credit recipient enterprises have often substantially improved individual and community wealth, and evidence was found of a limited 'trickle-down effect.

The paper looks at gender issues and concludes that SEEDs enhanced female empowerment and improved self-confidence for successful entrepreneurs.

About this Publication

By Simon, D. & Sear, J.