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Sunlight Partners with SEDD to Uplift SMEs through ‘Manudam Viyamana’

Invests Rs. 5 million towards upliftment of the SME garment sector

 From left to right: Gayan Rupasinghe; Sudheera Jayarathna; Wijekoon; Hon. Namal Rajapaksha; Hajar Alafifi; Sharmila Bandara; Channa Tennakoon; Munazza Rafeek; Kanchana Smenai Perera

Unilever Sri Lanka, under its flagship brand Sunlight, has entered a partnership with the Small Enterprises Development Division (SEDD) of the Ministry of Youth & Sports, and Singer Fashion Academy, to help uplift the economic stability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the garment sector, through its ‘Manudam Viyamana’ initiative.

The programme signifies Sunlight’s unwavering commitment to continue upholding the growth of SMEs who have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges. Complimentary online workshops will be conducted with an expert lecture panel from the Singer Fashion Academy on business fundamentals, targeting 10,000 entrepreneurs. Of the registered programme participants, 250 individuals will be awarded a cash grant, which they may use to uplift the standards of their business. Those interested in participating in this workshop may register by logging into the following website - www.manudamviyamana.lk

To mark the inception of this collaboration, a media conference was held at the Duncan White Auditorium, Ministry of Sports, in the presence of Chief Guest, Hon. Namal Rajapaksa - Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development; Sudheera Jayarathne - Director of the Small Enterprises Development Division; Sharmila Bandara - Marketing Director, Homecare, Foods & Refreshments and Water of Unilever Sri Lanka; and other dignitaries.

Expressing his thoughts on the ‘Manudam Viyamana’ programme, Hon. Namal Rajapaksa– Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development said, “Small and Medium Enterprises make up the backbone of our economy. It is through empowering the entrepreneurs of these businesses, that we will be able to empower and develop the overall economy of Sri Lanka. However, the prevailing pandemic has deeply affected countless SMEs across the island. As the government of Sri Lanka, we’re constantly working towards revitalizing these businesses. At the same time, I extend my gratitude to the ‘Manudam Viyamana’ programme of Unilever Sri Lanka, for implementing this plan of action towards empowering SMEs, which I firmly believe is a great opportunity, especially for those who have felt the biggest impact of the pandemic in the past two years. As the Ministry and Minister of Youth and Sports, we will continuously offer our utmost contribution towards making this wonderful initiative a success.”

Sudheera Jayarathne – Director of the Small Enterprises Development Division stated, “We are pleased to see Sunlight coming forward to support the SME sector which makes up a large part of Sri Lanka’s economy, with 1 million SMEs accounting for 75% of all businesses. We have noticed a significant skills gap within the garment SME industry and are confident that these workshops, which are freely and easily accessible, will assist these entrepreneurs in gaining much needed knowledge to propel them forward in their journey of growing their business.”

Introduced in Sri Lanka 135 years ago, Sunlight has won the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans and is the market leader in the laundry category. The brand’s 'Manudam Viyamana' purpose platform was launched with the objective of strengthening bonds amongst diverse communities in the country. Inspired by the resilience and compassion of Sri Lankans around the island who continue to exemplify the power of collective action, the brand will contribute Rs.1/= from each Sunlight Powder Limited Edition Pack towards the ‘Manudam Viyamana fund. These funds will be used to support the initiative, thereby allowing everyone to do their part in helping these SMEs in the garment industry, get back on their feet.

* From left to right: Gayan Rupasinghe - Category Head – Fabric Care, Unilever Sri Lanka; Sudheera Jayarathna - Director, Small Enterprise Development Division;
Anuradha Wijekoon - Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports; Hon. Namal Rajapaksha - Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development; Hajar Alafifi - Chairperson & Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka; Sharmila Bandara - Marketing Director - Homecare, Foods & Refreshments and Water, Unilever Sri Lanka; Channa Tennakoon - Head of Media & Activation, Unilever Sri Lanka; Munazza Rafeek - Category Head of Household Cleaners & Water, Unilever Sri Lanka; and Kanchana Smenai Perera - Assistant Manager, Singer Fashion Academy; take part in the handing over of the cheque worth Rs. 5 million as a stepping stone in the right direction towards empowering SMEs in Sri Lanka

Read the press release in Sinhala (PDF 149KB)

Read the press release in Tamil (PDF 190KB)