People’s Bank empowers SMEs | Sunday Observer

People’s Bank empowers SMEs

Ananthya Beach Hotel
Ananthya Beach Hotel

The government expects the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector to be the backbone of the economy. However, the lack of capital or the difficulty in accessing capital due to the cost of capital and the requirement of collateral have been impediments in the development of SMEs and start ups. Debt capital has always been an issue for many entrepreneurs. Therefore, they lag behind on new investments and expansions.

‘Enterprising Sri Lanka’ focuses on access to finance with low cost of funding with fixed terms enabling entrepreneurs to take a long term view in their investments. While People’s Bank empowers such entrepreneurs in nurturing through a dedicated customer relationship management model.

One of the main proposals of the budget, ‘Enterprising Sri Lanka’ is already in operation. Among the initiatives under the programme, loans with interest concessions are the key proposal. There are more than 15 such loans schemes with different categories of interest subsidies. People’s Bank with its enormous strengths and competencies, and being the ‘Service brand of the year’ for12 consecutive years, happily joins the Government in implementing these schemes across the country .

People’s Bank, being the pioneer in SME Lending since its inception in 1961, has assisted Micro and SMEs not only facilitating debt capital, but also inculcating savings habits, developing financial discipline, establishing good governance and improving managerial competencies of the targeted SMEs. The strategy of the Bank is to develop and maintain a very strong customer relationship through a dedicated branch network across the country. This endeavor very well backed up by the dedicated SME centres established covering all administrative districts in the country. The role of the SME centre is to identify, nurture and develop potential business customers whose contribution to the GDP is immense and essential. Despite the risk in startups, the Bank has the passion of identifying and nurturing them almost like an incubator.

The advantages of getting into a relationship with the Bank are many. Among them are the availability of credit facilities, flexible terms and conditions, competitive or concessional rates of interests, structuring facilities on the need basis of customers, no hidden charges, latest state art of technology for banking transactions, very efficient foreign trade and trade finance facilities. The bank has digitalized most of its operations for virtual banking.

The bank has proven evidence of some young enthusiastic and energetic entrepreneurs identified from all corners of the country.

Having been identified at micro levels, they were methodically upgraded in their businesses through meticulous customer relationship management.

The sole proprietor of Orian Terra Lak Steel in Habarana, P.G. Chaminda was employed in a steel factory in South Korea. Upon his return, he started a small scale steel door assembling plant. He was then approached by our Habarana Branch and scaled up to a medium size steel door manufacturer with latest technology, supplying job opportunities for more than 25 employees. This factory is environment friendly and saves a lot of trees since the product is a substitute for wood based doors. His competitive advantage is to be the pioneer in adapting to latest technology.

Gayan Jayawickrama is a young entrepreneur who owns two tourist hotels - Ananthaya Beach Hotel and Ananya Beach Hotel in Tangalle. He started his first hotel with People’s Bank financing and then elevated same into high quality service orientation focused only on foreigners. People’s Bank’s first Jaya Isura Loan was granted to him for the construction of the second hotel which is now very successfully operated.

Sole proprietor Deshakthi E Solutions D. Sampath Perera is a young entrepreneur who has initiated a totally environmental friendly polythene factory in Dankotuwa. He recycles used polythene to manufacture bio-degradable polythene as a solution for the crying polythene issue of the country. The bank was able to assist him procure plant and machinery on comfortable terms and conditions. The bank continuously helps this young entrepreneur in scaling up his business.

Managing Director of Malindu Dairies Pvt Ltd, Manjula Nishantha is a young entrepreneur who won the award ‘Eco Friendly Entrepreneur of Southern Province – 2018’. He started his business with Rs. 5000 from the People’s Bank in 1992. His is a popular dairy brand in the Southern Province today.

His factory procures 4000 liters of fresh milk a day from the farmers in the area for processing and has provided more than 220 employment opportunities. He has gradually diversified into other businesses like processing spices and bakery products.