Projecting the New Look of Microfinancing – Chief Executive Officer of Future Life Investments Limited, Danushka Udugama

Inspired by the legacy generated by Gethalal Victor Rathnayake, one of the key individuals who pioneered in establishing the Microfinance concept. Danushka Udugama, the Chief Executive Officer of Future Life Investments Limited, set his foot in the microfinance industry to attract professional excellence.

Originating from grass root level as a trainee executive, Danushka soared up the ladder swiftly. During his seven years of stay at Ceylinco Grameen, he was able to achieve 16 promotions, including Assistant Manager (MF), Assistant Manager (Welfare), Senior Manager (Shophouse), Regional Manager (Southern Province), Sales Manager (Ceylinco Grameen products) and Senior Manager (Branch Coordination).

Realizing that the Microfinance industry is the way to go, Danushka continued to fully dedicate himself using his heap of experience on the subject. Consequently, in 2010, he joined Commercial Credit Finance PLC as a Manager (microfinance) and was able to work with the lights of Roshan Egodage, another living legend in the industry.

The mere passion and motivation rooted in the core of his heart and competencies he has built over the years once again fast-tracked his career journey. Throughout the escapade, he held positions from AGM Microfinance, AGM Operations, Head of Corporate Planning and Head of all products. Along the way, he made sure to do some radical changes, which some of them required to crack some eggs on his way. While dedicating his soul to Commercial Credit finance, he was prudent enough to obtain his MBA from the Cardiff Metropolitan University, the UK, with excellence.

With time, he realized the microfinance model is running toward ultra-commercialization. Slipping back the true intention of helping people for betterment, he decided to take control of the ship to his hand and start a microfinance business that would serve its true purpose of uplifting, nurturing, and shaping lives for a better future. With that thought, along with three young visionary leaders, Kasun Perera, Sanjaya Jayaweera and Christopher Stewart, Danushka established Future life investments Limited.

The company holds its name to the total sense as they aspire their clients to invest for their future. Going beyond the usual microfinance practices, they have built mutually beneficial relationships among each company’s stakeholders through excellent cooperation.

In 2016, Future Life Investments Limited was established to popularise the integrated approach of microfinance in the industry. It emphasizes the importance of providing credit and a range of development-oriented services to their clients to attack the structural causes of poverty. Today, over 40000 loyal client base has become the company’s biggest asset, with a conglomerate of 275 employees has become the core principle of their success. FLI reached the staggering milestone of a 1 billion-loan portfolio in March 2021 and are planning to increase it up to 2 billion by March 2022. They offer financial and non – financial assistance, including business advisory services to small enterprises, self-employment, and households, especially those who are unserved by the formal financial market. Their microfinancing operation has grown into 28 places based on the purpose to enrich lives through respectful and mutually beneficial relationships. They always promote a win-win culture that ensures any transaction or an agreement to benefit both parties. 

Exploring new dimensions in achieving the company’s vision, the company marked the launch of the first outlet of the “FLI Super” Supermarket chain, on 21th of January 2021, at 81/1, Kurunegala road, Nikaweratiya, to further their positive influence. In addition to that, they have established an IT solution provider, “FLI Solutions”, a professional group of microfinance experts, designers and developers who are dedicated to creating effective, engaging and user-friendly software development, web development, mobile applications, middleware integration etc.

Danushka’s true passion for his trade is reflective of the progress of his organization. He believes that in Sri Lanka, it is hard to qualify for a bank loan as it requires to fulfil several requirements to have traditional financial services. Providing proper financial assistance could potentially contribute to the country’s growth and reduction of poverty. This is where microfinance plays its role to serve those banks that cannot function, which will ultimately contribute favourably to the country’s GDP and solve the macroeconomic issues such as improving GDP, employment, and thereby being a part of reducing poverty. 

Overcoming poor cash flow management, losing control of the finances, lack of proper market, overdependence on a few big customers might drive small businesses into failure. To overcome those weaknesses, the company continues to follow a mechanism with an innovative concept of an internal market that will integrate all the clients to a common avenue and provide a sustainable market. 

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