In a one of a kind collaboration; Hatch, the award winning co-working space, start-up incubator and accelerator is partnering with HDFC Bank as their official banker, to give its community of startups access to an exclusive loan facility, the benefits of which will support these startups in strategically growing their business in the face of Sri Lanka’s challenging economic climate.
Accounting for 90% of all businesses, providing 45% of employment and contributing towards 52% of Sri Lanka’s GDP – Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) are the backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy. With a large majority of the local population living in rural areas where MSME’s are a major source of employment and income generation, they are critical to alleviating poverty. Supporting the survival and growth of local MSME’s must be a strategic priority in Sri Lanka’s recovery plan to ensure growth and development of the local economy and society.
Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank is a specialized bank registered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. HDFC is a semi-governmental institution listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the General Treasury holds 51% shareholding through the National Housing Development Authority. HDFC Bank is the Premier financial partner for low and middle income individuals in ensuring sustainable housing and living standards with an island wide network of 39 branches. Whilst Housing Finance is the core business, HDFC Bank goes beyond housing rudiments, helping homeowners with household requirements, education and Development Finance, financing for micro and small entrepreneurs, Leasing and Gold loans intended to support and uplift Sri Lankans in leading a better life.
Hatch has run several Incubator and Accelerator programs since its inception in late 2018 and has many more in the pipeline for 2023 aimed at driving local entrepreneurship across the island. These programs are aligned with Hatch’s belief that entrepreneurs are the catalyst for economic development, collaboration drives innovation and that everyone, regardless of background, should be given the opportunity to create a meaningful impact in the world. Starting with just 28 start-ups, in four years Hatch has supported over 500 start-ups. Of these, they have incubated and accelerated 37% of them through programs and 33% of the founders are women-led or focused businesses.
Programs addressing barriers faced by women in entrepreneurship through mentorship, business development, and investor matching have always been a key pillar for Hatch, starting with the Kickass program in 2020. In September 2021 the AccelerateHer program was launched and is now one of Hatch’s core programs. As part of the outreach done for AccelerateHer, the Hatch team along with subject matter experts traveled from Colombo, to Galle, Kandy, Batticaloa and Jaffna to run immersive 3-day boot camps covering key areas in business and entrepreneurship. Hatch programs aimed at developing female entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka have produced over 50 alumni from across the country who are now part of the Hatch ecosystem and will therefore have access to this loan facility.
This collaboration between Hatch and HDFC allows both parties to leverage their existing strengths to support and develop the local Sri Lankan economy by driving entrepreneurship.