A programme aimed at stimulating growth of the SME sector that will enable entrepreneurs to compete locally as well as internationally through government engagement and support will get underway soon, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
The SMEs identified as an integral part that could contribute much more towards development of country’s economic stability has room for development and improvement provided the correct support and guidance are given, the Minister pointed out.
The Minister announced that from March/April this year, the government plans to set up the SME Authority to give more teeth and functional responsibilities to take this sector to a higher level. Most probably the proposed Authority will replace National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) which also comes under the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
These observations were made by the Minister during a meeting last week with an independent group from the private sector headed by the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) that have teamed up to launch a unique programme to provide a series of development-oriented support solutions to entrepreneurs, a much needed contribution to the industry at this point of time.
The occasion was signing of a MoU between the FCCISL and CH17 Loyalty for a three year development-oriented programme focusing on providing technical, marketing and welfare support within the frame work of the national policy. Sarath Kahapalarachchi the Federation President exchanged documents with Jumar Preena CEO of CH17 Private limited.
Also associated at the meeting was Eranda Fernando Asst. Manager Membership Research FCCISL, Thusitha Suraweera Head of Cards Commercial Bank, Shankar Dharmaratne Head Business Development | Mobile Payments Dialog Digital Services, Tony Johnpillai DGM Banking Cards and Card Solutions Lake House Printing and Publishers, Natalie de Silva Promotions Head MasterCard and Mehraj Sallay Group Director / CMO of Mydeal.lk Group.
The proposed digital programme shall cover facilities such as setting up a Central Digital Registry of SMEs under the FCCISL to manage and promote membership participation, awareness among the membership on the scope and opportunities available for the business development, analytics and profile of each member according to their type of business, scale, income, growth opportunity, future markets, exposure to accounting and marketing process, technological support, welfare and concessionary facilities, recognition, trade ID etc.
Ch17 will also develop a mobile APP for the Federation for instant gathering and sharing of business and market information to all registered members.