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History

History

WCIC is said to be the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.

WCIC, founded in1985 is considered the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.The WCIC’s priority was to harness women’s economic power in the country gaining recognition and improving their lives while stimulating the socio-economic growth.

In its history, WCIC has to its credit many innovative projects such as the Agromart Foundation, Training Course for Women Migrant Workers, Poverty Alleviation Through Entrepreneurship Development, SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council, South Asian Women’s Economic Network which links leading women’s organizations in South Asia, the Women’s Entrepreneur Awards, Capacity Building Workshops, Financial Literary Programs, Women in Business Trade Fairs, Business English, Empowering War Widows through Chick Farming , Micro Credit Projects, Empowering differently-abled women through training in beauty culture among several others.

WCIC is aligned to organizations such as Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and NCE, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Labour Relations & Foreign Employment, Ministry of Industries, Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Customs, Employer’s Federation of Ceylon, Society for Corporate Social Responsibility, International Labour Organization (ILO), Project SMED, Sri Lanka Business Development Centre (SLBDC), Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre, etc.

WCIC, founded in 1985 is considered the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.The WCIC’s priority was to harness women’s economic power in the country gaining recognition and improving their lives while stimulating the socio-economic growth.

1985
1985

WCIC: The Dawn of a New Venture

Inauguration of the World’s First Trade Chamber Exclusively for Women

1998
1998

WCIC commences the WCIC Women Entrepreneur Awards

2001
2001

Inauguration of SAARC Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) 

The SAARC Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) is primarily dedicated to fostering and promoting entrepreneurial spirit among women. It aims to facilitate their professional and personal growth through networking, education, and training. In doing so, it serves as a driving force for community development.

2007
2007

WCIC’s Digital Presence Expands with New Website Launch

2009
2009

Milestone Achieved with the Conduct of the First Annual General Meeting

2012
2012

Establishes Vocational Centre for Differently Abled Girls at Nuffield School, Jaffna

2013
2013

Implements Micro Credit Project in Mannar District, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs to Enhance Cottage Industries

2017
2017

SCWEC marks the transition of leadership from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, with Rifa Musthapha appointed as the new SWEC Chair.

2018
2018

Rifa Mustapha hosted the SAFA Women Entrepreneur Awards in Sri Lanka, collaborating with WCIC

2018/19
2018/19

Adoption of the re-vamped strategic direction of the WCIC

2020
2020

Relaunch of the new identity of the WCIC

2020
2020

Launch of the Women Leadership Forum - Unlocking Her Power

2020
2020

Diriyakathakata - ILO funded training for SME's by WCIC

2021 April/ March
2021 April/ March

Commencement of Digital Training Academy with IFC, Supporting Women in Business to Thrive

2021
2021

Women Leadership Forum 2021 - Choose to Challenge

2022
2022

Women Leadership Forum 2022 - Break the Bias for a Better tomorrow

September, 2022
September, 2022

Launch of WCIC PRATHIBHABHISHEKA - WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2022

2023
2023

Women Leadership Forum 2023 - Empowered Women Empower Sri Lanka

Feb/Oct 2023
Feb/Oct 2023

Launches first provincial group of women entrepreneurs in Northern Province

WCIC is said to be the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.

WCIC, founded in1985 is considered the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.The WCIC’s priority was to harness women’s economic power in the country gaining recognition and improving their lives while stimulating the socio-economic growth.

In its history, WCIC has to its credit many innovative projects such as the Agromart Foundation, Training Course for Women Migrant Workers, Poverty Alleviation Through Entrepreneurship Development, SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council, South Asian Women’s Economic Network which links leading women’s organizations in South Asia, the Women’s Entrepreneur Awards, Capacity Building Workshops, Financial Literary Programs, Women in Business Trade Fairs, Business English, Empowering War Widows through Chick Farming , Micro Credit Projects, Empowering differently-abled women through training in beauty culture among several others.

WCIC is aligned to organizations such as Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and NCE, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Labour Relations & Foreign Employment, Ministry of Industries, Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Customs, Employer’s Federation of Ceylon, Society for Corporate Social Responsibility, International Labour Organization (ILO), Project SMED, Sri Lanka Business Development Centre (SLBDC), Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre, etc.

WCIC, founded in 1985 is considered the first women-only trade chamber to be set up anywhere in the world. The Founder Chairperson was Chloe de Soysa.The WCIC’s priority was to harness women’s economic power in the country gaining recognition and improving their lives while stimulating the socio-economic growth.

1985
1985

WCIC: The Dawn of a New Venture

Inauguration of the World’s First Trade Chamber Exclusively for Women

1998
1998

WCIC commences the WCIC Women Entrepreneur Awards

2001
2001

Inauguration of SAARC Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) 

The SAARC Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) is primarily dedicated to fostering and promoting entrepreneurial spirit among women. It aims to facilitate their professional and personal growth through networking, education, and training. In doing so, it serves as a driving force for community development.

2007
2007

WCIC’s Digital Presence Expands with New Website Launch

2009
2009

Milestone Achieved with the Conduct of the First Annual General Meeting

2012
2012

Establishes Vocational Centre for Differently Abled Girls at Nuffield School, Jaffna

WCIC set up a vocational Centre for the differently abled girls of Nuffield School for the Deaf and Blind, Jaffna, who successfully completed the training in Beauty Culture and Hairdressing techniques. 

2013
2013

Implements Micro Credit Project in Mannar District, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs to Enhance Cottage Industries

A micro credit project was implemented in the Mannar District by providing loans to small scale women entrepreneurs to upgrade their cottage industries. 

2017
2017

SCWEC marks the transition of leadership from Pakistan to Sri Lanka

2017
2017

WCIC unveils its refreshed logo and brand

2018
2018

Rifa Mustapha hosted the SAFA Women Entrepreneur Awards in Sri Lanka, collaborating with WCIC

2018/19
2018/19

Creation of the Strategic Direction for the WCIC

2020
2020

Relaunch of the new identity of the WCIC

2020
2020

Relaunch of the Women Leadership program - Unlocking Her Power

2020
2020

Diriyakathakata - ILO funded training for SME's by WCIC

2020
2020

Revamped newsletter commences

2021
2021

Women Leadership Forum - Choose to Challenge

2022
2022

Women Leadership Forum - Break the Bias for a Better tomorrow

September, 2022
September, 2022

Re Launch of WCIC PRATHIBHABHISHEKA - WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2022

December 7th, 2022
December 7th, 2022

Commences Training Academy with IFC, Supporting Women in Business to Thrive

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in collaboration with Women's Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) commenced a Training Academy Supporting #Womeninbiz to thrive.

2023
2023

Women Leadership Forum - Empowered Women Empower Sri Lanka

April 26th, 2023
April 26th, 2023

Launches first provincial group of women entrepreneurs in Northern Province

A new group of women entrepreneurs was formed in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, with the support of WCIC and OAV Miriam Herger and Kimora Klug. Jaruza Jayachandran, a local entrepreneur and WCIC member, will lead the group.

Founder Members

Founder Members

First Governing Board - 1985

  • Chloe de Soysa
  • Beula Munasinghe
  • Karuna de Silva
  • Lakshmi S Wijeratne
  • Carmel Goonathilleke
  • Maya Senanayake
  • Priyani Tennekoon
  • Ranjanie Manuelpillai
  • Nirmala de Mel
  • Ms. Lakshmi G.Perera

Original Founder Members whose financial contribution as membership fee enabled the WCIC to set up a fund which was then supported by Asia Foundation & United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • Joan Forbes
  • Mano Muthukrishna
  • Ramola Sivasundaram
  • Janet Balasuriya
  • Nalini Ellawala
  • Barbara Sansoni
  • Nayomi Fernando
  • Chandra Madanayake
  • Surangani Gunasinghe
  • Pushpa Padmaperuma
  • Chole De Soysa                  1985 / 1986
  • Beulah Moonesinghe         1986 / 1988
  • Nirmala De Mel                  1988 / 1991
  • Maya Senanyake               1991 / 1992
  • Ranee Ratnayake              1992 / 1993
  • Manel Thirmavithana         1993 / 1994
  • Suriyakanthi Mellawa         1994 / 1995
  • Janaki Gunawardena         1995 / 1996
  • SitaYahampath                   1996 / 1998
  • Yvette De Silva                    1998 / 2001
  • Daya Jayaratne                 2001 / 2002
  • Indira Kulatilake                  2002 / 2005
  • Rezani Aziz                          2005 / 2006
  • Ramya Weerakoon            2006 / 2009
  • Vidyani Hettigoda              2009 / 2012
  • Saroshi Dubash                  2012 / 2014
  • Rifa Musthapha                  2014 / 2017
  • Chathuri Ranasinghe         2017 / 2020
  • Indrani Fernando               2020 / 2021
  • Chole De Soysa                  1985 / 1986
  • Beulah Moonesinghe         1986 / 1988
  • Nirmala De Mel                  1988 / 1991
  • Maya Senanyake               1991 / 1992
  • Ranee Ratnayake              1992 / 1993
  • Manel Thirmavithana         1993 / 1994
  • Suriyakanthi Mellawa         1994 / 1995
  • Janaki Gunawardena         1995 / 1996
  • SitaYahampath                   1996 / 1998
  • Yvette De Silva                    1998 / 2001
  • Daya Jayaratne                 2001 / 2002
  • Indira Kulatilake                  2002 / 2005
  • Rezani Aziz                          2005 / 2006
  • Ramya Weerakoon            2006 / 2009
  • Vidyani Hettigoda              2009 / 2012
  • Saroshi Dubash                  2012 / 2014
  • Rifa Musthapha                  2014 / 2017
  • Chathuri Ranasinghe         2017 / 2020
  • Indrani Fernando               2020 / 2021

Past Chairpersons

1985 / 1986
Chloe De Soysa
1986 / 1988
Beulah Moonesinghe
1988 / 1991
Nirmala De Mel
1991 / 1992
Maya Senanyake
1992 / 1993
Ranee Ratnayake
1993 / 1994
Manel Thirmavithana
1994 / 1995
Suriyakanthi Mellawa
1995 / 1996
Janaki Gunawardena
1996 / 1998
Sita Yahampath
2001 / 2002
Daya Jayaratne
2002 / 2005
Indira Kulatilake
2005 / 2006
Rezani Aziz
2006 / 2009
Ramya Weerakoon
2009 / 2012
Vidyani Hettigoda
2012 / 2014
Saroshi Dubash
2014 / 2017
Rifa Musthapha
2017 / 2020
Chathuri Ranasinghe
2020 / 2021
Indrani Fernando
2021 / 2023
Anoji de Silva

First Governing Board - 1985

  • Chloe de Soysa
  • Beula Munasinghe
  • Karuna de Silva
  • Lakshmi S Wijeratne
  • Carmel Goonathilleke
  • Maya Senanayake
  • Priyani Tennekoon
  • Ranjanie Manuelpillai
  • Nirmala de Mel
  • Ms. Lakshmi G.Perera

Original Founder Members whose financial contribution as membership fee enabled the WCIC to set up a fund which was then supported by Asia Foundation & United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • Joan Forbes
  • Mano Muthukrishna
  • Ramola Sivasundaram
  • Janet Balasuriya
  • Nalini Ellawala
  • Barbara Sansoni
  • Nayomi Fernando
  • Chandra Madanayake
  • Surangani Gunasinghe
  • Pushpa Padmaperuma
  • Chole De Soysa                  1985 / 1986
  • Beulah Moonesinghe         1986 / 1988
  • Nirmala De Mel                  1988 / 1991
  • Maya Senanyake               1991 / 1992
  • Ranee Ratnayake              1992 / 1993
  • Manel Thirmavithana         1993 / 1994
  • Suriyakanthi Mellawa         1994 / 1995
  • Janaki Gunawardena         1995 / 1996
  • SitaYahampath                   1996 / 1998
  • Yvette De Silva                    1998 / 2001
  • Daya Jayaratne                 2001 / 2002
  • Indira Kulatilake                  2002 / 2005
  • Rezani Aziz                          2005 / 2006
  • Ramya Weerakoon            2006 / 2009
  • Vidyani Hettigoda              2009 / 2012
  • Saroshi Dubash                  2012 / 2014
  • Rifa Musthapha                  2014 / 2017
  • Chathuri Ranasinghe         2017 / 2020
  • Indrani Fernando               2020 / 2021
  • Chole De Soysa                  1985 / 1986
  • Beulah Moonesinghe         1986 / 1988
  • Nirmala De Mel                  1988 / 1991
  • Maya Senanyake               1991 / 1992
  • Ranee Ratnayake              1992 / 1993
  • Manel Thirmavithana         1993 / 1994
  • Suriyakanthi Mellawa         1994 / 1995
  • Janaki Gunawardena         1995 / 1996
  • SitaYahampath                   1996 / 1998
  • Yvette De Silva                    1998 / 2001
  • Daya Jayaratne                 2001 / 2002
  • Indira Kulatilake                  2002 / 2005
  • Rezani Aziz                          2005 / 2006
  • Ramya Weerakoon            2006 / 2009
  • Vidyani Hettigoda              2009 / 2012
  • Saroshi Dubash                  2012 / 2014
  • Rifa Musthapha                  2014 / 2017
  • Chathuri Ranasinghe         2017 / 2020
  • Indrani Fernando               2020 / 2021

Past Chairpersons

1985 / 1986
Chloe De Soysa
1986 / 1988
Beulah Moonesinghe
1988 / 1991
Nirmala De Mel
1991 / 1992
Maya Senanyake
1992 / 1993
Ranee Ratnayake
1993 / 1994
Manel Thirmavithana
1994 / 1995
Suriyakanthi Mellawa
1995 / 1996
Janaki Gunawardena
1996 / 1998
Sita Yahampath
2001 / 2002
Daya Jayaratne
2002 / 2005
Indira Kulatilake
2005 / 2006
Rezani Aziz
2006 / 2009
Ramya Weerakoon
2009 / 2012
Vidyani Hettigoda
2012 / 2014
Saroshi Dubash
2014 / 2017
Rifa Musthapha
2017 / 2020
Chathuri Ranasinghe
2020 / 2021
Indrani Fernando
2021 / 2023
Anoji de Silva
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