SMEs employ 45% of the workforce | Sunday Observer

SMEs employ 45% of the workforce

A large number of SMEs do not have access to funds, technology and the know-how to expand their enterprises and export to the global market. (File photo: Lake House Media Library
A large number of SMEs do not have access to funds, technology and the know-how to expand their enterprises and export to the global market. (File photo: Lake House Media Library

Micro, small and medium sector enterprises have benefited immensely from the Euro 8 million European Union (EU) funded trade related assistance project to boost competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s SMEs, in expanding exports to the EU and other global markets, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Additional Secretary M.A. Thajudeen said.

He told the launch of the Enterprise Management System (EMS) for the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) last week in Colombo that the Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) portal, set up by the Department of Commerce under the EU project, provides information to SMEs on markets, products and services enabling them to build market linkages.

Sri Lanka has over 1,000 SMEs of which a large number do not have access to funds, technology and the know-how to expand their enterprises and export to the global market.

SMEs are the backbone of the economy contributing over 50% of the country’s GDP and provide employment to around 45% of the workforce. The Enterprise Management System will be a centrally managed depository of data on SMEs linking the 270 offices of NEDA across the country.

“SMEs account for around 60 percent of the enterprises in the country. Developing the sector will help alleviate rural poverty, a goal of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” Thajudeen said.

NEDA Chairman Dakshitha Bogollagama said the launch of the EMS by NEDA took place at an appropriate time when every sphere of activity across the globe is being transformed by technology which has taken the world by storm. “We need to keep pace with this phenomenal growth if enterprises are to survive and sustain businesses,” Bogollagama said adding that NEDA has received over 8,500 entries to the EMS.

The system will help NEDA offices to reach out to enterprises and entrepreneurs. It will help standardise registration, track and follow meetings, access market tools, Business Plans, loans and services. Minister of Trade and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said the national policy frame- work of the government aims at developing the SME sector through technology transfer, a key challenge to drive growth in the sector.

NEDA was set up in 2006 to be a facilitator and incubator for enterprise development in Sri Lanka and create markets for SMEs under the government’s national policy for SME development. 

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