Sri Lanka is at a unique stage in its history, as the country moves forward following a 25-year ethnic conflict that negatively impacted the domestic economy. Propelled by economic disparities among ethnic groups, the conflict decimated the country’s infrastructure, government institutions, business enterprises and productive assets, particularly in the former conflict affected regions.
Through the generous support of the American people through USAID, VEGA was awarded $17.6 million to lead the VEGA/BIZ+ program with Land O’Lakes in Sri Lanka, with project offices located in Batticaloa, Vavuniya, and Colombo.
VEGA/BIZ+ is a four-year economic growth program working to stimulate economic growth, job creation, and increased household incomes in the under-developed areas of Sri Lanka by providing the country’s small and medium-sized businesses with the technical know-how and financial resources they need to succeed. VEGA/BIZ+ will provide investment grants to new and existing enterprises, requiring the enterprise recipient’s 1:1 match. Each enterprise also receives strategic technical assistance to strengthen institutional capacity in addition to financial support.
Through the successful implementation of VEGA/BIZ+, Land O’Lakes will create 5,000 jobs, resulting in $4 million of annual income for vulnerable households in Sri Lanka’s North, East, and North Central Provinces. BIZ+ will provide $8 million in grants to enterprises, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, to enterprises. In addition, Land O’Lakes will secure another $2.63 million in cost share and will leverage another $13 million from grant recipients and program partners.