Nimali (25) and her business, Nimali Chips and Fibre Mill, have been hailed as pioneers. Within a year she has created an environmentally-friendly enterprise producing and exporting coir for mattresses and coir piths and, more uniquely, making coconut husk chips which is a new industry for Sri Lanka’s rural district of Hambantota’s Ambalantota.
Nimali, who comes from an impoverished background, was determined to overcome traditional ideas about women in Sri Lanka. However, a failed coir business venture and a lack of collateral meant that banks rejected her loan requests. With the help of YBI member Youth Business Sri Lanka (YBSL), Nimali’s new business has turned a loan of $781 into an enterprise with a projected turnover of over $39,000.
Nimali’s business, which employs people from underprivileged communities, is earning a reputation for its quality products and timely deliveries. She is also doing community outreach. Due to the jobs and industry she has generated, local govern
ment has repaired the roads – positively impacting the lives of more than 100 families.