Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Land O’Lakes, Volunteers for Economic Growth (VEGA) heads the VEGA/BIZ+ program, whose goal is to generate additional income, expand investment opportunities and improve livelihoods. VEGA/BIZ+ is providing $8 million in grants to new and existing enterprises and is supporting commercially viable investments that result in strengthening institutional capacity, increasing productivity, raising employment and enhancing incomes of vulnerable populations. The grants are decreasing investment risk, while providing critical technical input for enterprises that otherwise might avoid investing in post-conflict regions of Sri Lanka. The investment grants also prioritize indigenous enterprises from the economically lagging regions, as well as those that create equitable jobs for women and ethnic minorities.
By establishing Public Private Alliances (PPAs) with small and medium-size Sri Lankan enterprises, BIZ+ is also attracting and making key investments that result in job creation and economic growth in former conflict zones in the North, East and North Central areas. Capacity building assistance involves financial support services, Business Development Services and technical assistance in areas related to marketing, improved operations and production processes, sustainable environmental practices and occupational safety.