The 'Mahapola' concept introduced by the late Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali (P.C) in 1980, was initially only a Trade Fair, organized by the Ministry of Trade & Shipping for the primary purpose of channeling the benefit of the open economy to the rural community to create an educated society with the aim of alleviating poverty.

Recognizing the importance of systematic administration for the income of the Mahapola Exhibitions, late Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali created a scholarship trust by way of the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund Act No.66 of 1981 to provide Scholarship for the underprivileged youth to complete their higher education and creation of equal opportunities through the development of facilities for higher education. The fund granted Mahapola scholarship for 422 university students for the first time in 1981.

Then one of the main successful program implemented under Mahapola concept was Mahapola concept was Mahapola Exhibition and Trade Fair has given many socio-economic benefits to the Sri Lanka, particularly to rural and semi urban folks by way of creating opportunities to sell domestically produce goods at trade stalls. To buy BOI factory permissible products and fun and entertainment activities not reach at village level at low cost. These seven-day trade fairs gave the small-scale entrepreneurs the space and opportunity to sell their products. Obtaining knowledge and experienced of industries and products, services offered by various Government and Non-Government Institutions at their door steps.

The Trade Fair and the educated exhibition were organized in rural schools and the income generated from the sale of the entrance tickets were utilized to provide infrastructure development to these schools. During the 1980-2000 period, people started to show their attractiveness and interest in Mahapola Trade Fair greatly, however since the beginning of the 21st century, it was reduced. Exhibitions do not receive a surplus income result Mahapola Exhibition and Trade Fair was nonexistence for last few years.