Sri Lanka’s first accelerator program tailored for the country’s female founders, AccelerateHER, 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 last week 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 the Daily FT, Diversity collective, Youlead, WEconnect International, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, TNL, and Arteculate.
The six founders showcased on Demo Day included Ba.La.Mu Founder Shenuka Umagiliya, Leo the Label Founder Sashini Jinasena, BlueFish Founder Bhagya Sandakalum, Miris by IslandMom Founder Shivani Tyronne, Lactoboost by Spice Carriage Founder Lasni Silva and True by Tina Founder Tina Lobo. Hatch provided each of these female founders a platform to access the skills and resources needed to scale their businesses.
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.