A partnership to pilot the expansion of a low-cost digital payment acceptance platform for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in rural and semi-urban Sri Lanka.
Micro, small and medium businesses (MSME) make a significant contribution to economic development in Sri Lanka accounting for more than 90% of businesses, 45% of employment and 52% of GDP. The majority of these MSMEs are informal businesses, reliant on daily sales and lack planning and management skills. The services of these MSMEs are provided through physical stores that accept cash payments only. During COVID-19 many of these businesses lost daily sales income due to government restrictions on movement and shop closures. Online businesses have seen demand increase during the pandemic, but this is limited to Colombo and other urban parts of Western Province. MSMEs in rural areas are at a disadvantage as they lack an online presence and are unable to monetise the growing demand for online services.
About the initiative
This initiative aims to develop and pilot the expansion of Webxpay services for around 400 MSMEs in the Gampaha, Kandy and Galle districts in Sri Lanka. Webxpay will identify MSME customers, conduct training and provide the guidance and support required for the integration of the platform into their businesses. Research will be conducted into the MSME’s experience of using Webxpay to understand the gender and social impact. A marketing strategy will be developed and implemented to attract women-led businesses and other rural businesses to the platform.
MSMEs will have access to a safe and convenient way to accept card and mobile phone banking payments from domestic and international consumers. This will help to increase MSMEs incomes by reaching existing and new customers, all whilst strengthening their financial and digital literacy. Webxpay will support the MSMEs to formally register, develop their online business and plan promotions to sustain the business. MSMEs will be able to track online sales, generate payment links, and maintain a database of their customers on the platform.
The aim is more consistent incomes for MSMEs during restrictions and increased incomes as the economy recovers from COVID-19 and enters the digital age. If the initial pilot is successful, the partners will expand the initiative to more women-led and rural businesses in Sri Lanka.
Key contributions from partners
- Webxpay is supporting the expertise in digital payments, including information technology, human resources and linkages with local banks. Webxpay will also use its various channels to attract merchants and to train and support them on the use of the platform.
- Australian Government is providing catalytic funding, gender expertise to strengthen social and commercial impacts, connection to an extensive network, support to capture and report social impact, safeguards standards and practices, national and global recognition.
Hear from Webxpay
“WEBXPAY is excited to partner with BPP and the Australian Government to roll out a digital payment solution to Micro, Small and Medium Businesses in Sri Lanka. WEBXPAY commenced its journey in the payment service industry way back in 2015 with its motto being “The Face of Change in Sri Lanka”. Today WEBXPAY is proud to have helped “Change” the way Micro, Small and Medium businesses conducted their businesses by helping them to be part of the digitalization process in Sri Lanka.
This partnership with BPP will enable WEBXPAY to make further inroads toward its common objective of enabling Micro, Small and Medium businesses to go digital, with special focus on entrepreneurs in economically challenged areas, with an added emphasis to empower women entrepreneurs.”
Omar Sahib, Founder and CEO of Webxpay.
This partnership was selected through the BPP’s 2020 Call for Partnerships