Ceylon Chamber of Commerce initiates high-level dialogue to create a dynamic SME sector

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The National SME Forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is all set to be held on 28th June 2021 via the zoom platform under the theme ‘Accelerating economic growth through creation of a dynamic SME sector’. The forum will be inaugurated by Chief Guest, Hon. Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Industries and Commerce and the keynote address will be delivered by Mr. Sujeewa Rajapakshe, Chairman, Peoples’ Bank.

Session 1 will outline the facilitation of access to finance for SMEs as it is a key impediment for both setting up and expansion of SMEs. A key pre-requisite for SME development is having access to finance to invest in modernization, expansion and successful operations. This session will include presentations by Ms. Yvette Fernando, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Mr. Channa Gunawardena CEO of Dankotuwa Porcelain. They will be joined by Mr. P.M K Hettiarachchi Additional Director General, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Jude Fernando, Director, Financial Services, USAID’s Catalyze Sri Lanka (PSD) Project, Mr. Wickrama Narayana, AGM, Peoples Bank for a panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Hasitha Wijesundera Senior Consultant, USAID Partner Project.

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Session 2 will cover the challenges faced by SMEs in accessing suitable markets and promoting business linkages between large enterprises and SMES as well as aces to international markets. The speakers will be Mr. Suresh De Mel, Chairman, Sri Lanka Exports Development Board, Mr. Yasas Hewage, Director/Co-Founder, Dafedil Academy of Business, Marketing and Digital. They will be joined by Ms. Achala Samaradivakara, Co-founder, Good Market, Ms. Selyna Peiris, Director Business Development, Selyn Exports and Mr. Sudheera Jayaratne, Director, Small Enterprise Development Division for a panel discussion. The session will be moderated by Ms. Jayani Rathnayake, Economist, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Session 3 will discuss the adoption of New Technology, Innovation and Digitization, where how the use of digital technology will help enhance performance of SMEs and offer more opportunities. Presentations will be made by Mr. Jayantha De Silva, Secretary, Ministry of Technology, Dr. Sirimal Premakumara, Chairman, Industrial Technology Institute and Mr. Jordi Fornies Director, Emerging Markets APAC Facebook, followed by a panel discussion along with Mr. L. S Naseer Additional Secretary, Industrial Development, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Yasas V. Abeywickrama, Policy Programs Manager, Facebook and Mr. Supun Weerasinghe, Chief Executive Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC,  moderated by Mr. Sameera Jayawardena  Director, Capacity Development, ICTA.

Session 4 will elaborate on the development of talent/skills for accelerated growth of the SME Sector where importance and ways and means of upgrading of managerial skills of SME entrepreneurs will be discussed in detail. This session will focus on strategies and actions for strengthening demand driven technology transfer, training and skills development initiatives focused on SMEs. Presenters will be Mr. Isuru Thilakawardena Deputy General Manager HR / Chief HR Officer, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC and Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri, Former Director, PIM, University of Sri Jayewardenepura followed by a panel discussion including Mr. Udeni Wickremasinghe, Chairman, Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), Dr. Nirmal de Silva, Associate Professor and Management Consultant, and Mr. Gamini Saparamadu, Chairman, Kent Holdings. The session will be moderated by Dr. K.A. Lalithadheera, Director General, TVEC.

Session 5 will deliberate on the Role of Chambers in Regional SME Development where focus will be placed on enhancement of regional growth, encouraging relocation of businesses out of the Western Province, enhancing the capacity & skills of existing businesses in the regions as well as transforming regional SMEs to become an integral part of the supply chain within the Country. The session panelists would be Mr. Manjula De Silva, Secretary General/CEO, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vipula Jayaratne President, Galle District Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jagath Rambukwella President, Sabaragamuwa Province Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Shiran Karunaratne, Founder President, Puttalam District Chamber of Commerce, Mr. K Kuladeepan President, Trincomalee District Chamber of Commerce, Mr. N. Nandarupan Vice President, Chamber of Commerce of Yalpanam and Mr. Mahinda Jayasena, President, Anuradhapura District Chamber of Commerce. The session will be moderated by Mr. Yasura Samarakoon Business Development Manager, Centre for SMEs, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The full day virtual event will be conducted in Sinhala medium as a Zoom Webinar and is now open for registration. The event will also be live streamed via Facebook and interested parties can watch it via Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/Centreforsmes

For more details and participation you may contact yasura@chamber.lk.

The National SME Forum is sponsored by Facebook, Hatton National Bank and Maersk Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

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