Lack of entrepreneurs and startups, laments Harsha | Sunday Observer

Lack of entrepreneurs and startups, laments Harsha

The number of startups and entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka are at a dismal low with less than 3% of Sri Lanka’s working population being entrepreneurs, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva said. Pointing out that entrepreneurship is crucial for a country’s prosperity and entrepreneurs who set up small and medium enterprises are the true engines of growth, the Minister said the government aspires to create jobs of high value, high skills and high pay.

“Sri Lanka’s data does not paint a rosy picture about entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. The Department of Census and Statistics suggest that only 2.8% or roughly 230,000 of Sri Lankan working population are employers,” the State Minister asserted.

Speaking at the launch of Sri Lanka’s first integrated entrepreneurship platform, Venture Frontier Lanka last week, Dr. de Silva said that in comparison, 27.5% of Thailand’s adult population or approximately 13 million are owner managers of established businesses making it the second most entrepreneurial country in the world. Vietnam has a business ownership rate of 19.6%, Brazil 16.9%, Indonesia 15.3% and even Bangladesh, a country that opened up recently had 11.6%, he said.

“Considering the population of these countries, the level of entrepreneurial activity in these economies is staggering,” de Silva highlighted.

Therefore, the State Minister emphasised that the country’s young population has to change their mindset from seeking risk free jobs in the public sector and be ‘job creators’ as opposed to ‘job seekers’.

“Most startups will fail but there is so much to learn from failure. Failure is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a badge of honour if anything,” he said. 

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