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Sri Lanka senior citizens get support to get into business

EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s Expolanka group said it had started a microfinance program project in collaboration with HelpAge Sri Lanka (HASL) to fund senior citizens to embark on entrepreneurship projects of their own.

The project aims to help senior citizens be self-employed, independent and continue making an economic contribution at a time the island’s society was aging, the statement said.

“If senior citizens are not contributing to the national economy, the growth of Gross Domestic Product will slow down,” it said.

Sri Lanka’s labour force will continue to grow for another two decades and is projected to shrink thereafter.

“Population ageing will also significantly change the age composition of the labour force, with the share of workers younger than 30 years significantly shrinking and the share of workers older than 50 years strongly increasing.”

In order to establish a sustainable eco-system of entrepreneurship by senior citizens, the project includes forming senior citizen committees and training them on starting self-employment activities, accounting, advocacy and lobbying.

 “Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the Asia that has the fastest ageing population,” said Paddy Weerasekera, Head of Marketing, Corporate Communications and CSR at Expolanka.

“This increasing proportion of senior citizens will make significant economic and social changes in the country. If no proactive action is taken to cope up with such changes, there will be unprecedented results leading to a significant destruction of the social fabric that has been maintained.”

Samantha Liyanawaduge, Executive Director of HASL said there are large numbers of potential senior entrepreneurs who can still run a self-employment in a sustainable manner, but currently inactive due to difficulties in accessing for required capital.

“Income generated by senior citizens will not only make them less dependent on their family members, but will also help their families, particularly the lives of their grandchildren.”





(Colombo/July 16, 2015)

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