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Hatch’s ‘AccelerateHER’ demo day spotlights ‘Female Entrepreneurship Excellence ‘

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Hatch, with funding support from the U.S. Department of State, recently concluded its Demo Day for AccelerateHER, Sri Lanka’s trailblazing accelerator program tailored for female entrepreneurs.

The program marked the graduation of seven female founders, who showed remarkable progress and business acceleration throughout the 3-month program.

AccelerateHER program manager for Hatch Ruvanara Tillekeratne, stated, “witnessing the growth and transformation of these entrepreneurs has been truly inspiring and we owe this success to our partners and well-wishers, especially the U.S. Department of State, for whole heartedly supporting this program.”

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung stated, “Innovative new startups are going to fuel the economy, helping improve the lives of families, communities across the nation and you are providing real life examples of female leadership that will inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.”

“The United States is committed to supporting your endeavors, fostering entrepreneurship, and empowering women in business.”

Founder of Lak Nature Lakmini Weerakkody, stated, “My journey began when I came across a newspaper article on the excessive wastage of fresh produce in Sri Lanka. This inspired me to take action and find a way to utilize and minimize this waste.”

‘Lak Nature’ is a business that manufactures a variety of preservative-free, all-natural, ready-to-prepare food by utilizing the abundant supply of fruits and vegetables in Sri Lanka.

Another such enterprise at Demo Day was ‘Star Mushrooms’, a company that produces a range of value-added mushroom-based products.

Partner of Star Mushrooms Nimesha Perera, stated, “The lack of vegan options for meat substitutes in the Sri Lankan market inspired my mother to establish Star Mushrooms nearly two decades ago. Recently, I joined as a partner, aiming to expand our business and bridge the void in nutritional vegan alternatives for food products in Sri Lanka.”

Agro Feed, a social enterprise from the Northern Province was another graduating startup specializing in transforming fish waste into poultry feed, showcasing an innovative approach to resource utilization.

Arupriya, the founder of Agrofeed stated, “The improper disposal of fish waste can cause significant pollution and environmental damage. To tackle this problem, I took the initiative to convert fish waste into valuable poultry feed. Even with my parents’ support in managing the business, it’s still challenging since I am also a student, and I must strike a balance between my academic commitments and running a business.”

Achinthya Neligama, Co-founder of Ingrow said, “The reason behind launching this enterprise was my personal struggle with gluten intolerance and the limited availability of suitable options in Sri Lanka. As a result, I began developing gluten-free products, and over time, we expanded our offerings to include products catering to diabetic individuals as well.”

‘INGROW’, is a healthy food manufacturing business providing gluten-free and natural food solutions.

Apart from the above businesses, Demo Day also featured other innovative and inspiring enterprises such as Nue Body Basics an artisan brand that formulates natural skin and personal care products, Barbet Apparel, an artisanal, ethical, and gender-neutral children’s clothing brand made with 100% cotton hand block printed fabric from Rajasthan and The Makers Global an ed-tech company that provides fun and engaging STEM activities for kids.

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