A series of stakeholder consultations for a new innovation and entrepreneurship strategy for Sri Lanka was concluded this week, ahead of its submission to the cabinet next month.
A cross-section of stakeholders from private sector and government have provided extensive feedback to finalise this strategy that aims to boost export competitiveness through innovation, build an ecosystem for growth-oriented start-ups and modernize and realign the research and development (R&D) sector.
The consultations were held to obtain input and validation on the proposed strategic and operational objectives from key stakeholders in the public R&D sector, enterprise sector (both large corporates and small and medium enterprises (SMEs)), as well as enterprise-supporting institutions.
The process concluded this week with the final consultation session being held with SMEs and SME-support institutions like the National Enterprise Development Authority and Industrial Development Board, under the aegis of the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
The previous consultation sessions were held with R&D institutions coming under the Science, Technology and Research Ministry, with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce member companies and start-up and investor community.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are now recognised as vital elements in Sri Lanka’s economic transformation to an upper-middle-income economy – to create better jobs and to boost global competitiveness.
Among the principles at the heart of the forthcoming strategy are enterprise-centricity, actionability and collaboration.
The strategy has identified the current challenges through an extensive diagnostic study and lays out strategy and operational objectives as well as specific, costed initiatives. Over the last year, the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry has been preparing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy 2018-2022 for Sri Lanka, in partnership with the Science, Technology and Research Ministry, Industry and Commerce Ministry and Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
A high-level working group appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers, comprising of private sector representatives and public sector officials, guided the development of the strategy.
The World Bank, with funding from Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Department, provided valuable technical input for the diagnostic study and the strategy design.
The working group received valuable submissions and background papers by leaders in the R&D sector, enterprise innovation specialists, venture capital investors, start-ups and SME exporters.