Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Sri Lanka

October 13, 2020

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up a large part of Sri Lanka’s economy, with over one million SMEs accounting for approximately 75 percent of all businesses. These are found in all sectors of the economy and are estimated to contribute about 45 percent of total employment in Sri Lanka. Women’s ownership of formal small and medium-sized enterprises is low, at around 25 percent of all SMEs, and most women business-owners struggle to transition away from informal micro-scale businesses, in part due to limited access to finance and lower business capacity of women entrepreneurs.

This report presents a snapshot of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on SMEs across Sri Lanka, with a focus on the different impacts experienced by women-owned and managed businesses (WSME), as compared to those owned by men (MSME) and those owned jointly by a woman and a man (JSME).