Mar 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka's National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) is now on a major youth entrepreneur drive-and the latest node in Sri Lanka's grassroots market linkage network to start operations will be serving the small time young farmers and fisher-folk in Northern Province's Mannar District, Minister of Industry and Commerce said.
"We encourage our youth to be not a burden on the public resources" Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Vidatha Resource Centre in Museli, Mannar on Thursday.
The National Enterprise Development Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce works with Vidatha and there are many informal partnerships between Vidatha offices and the NEDA field network, according to the Minister.
Under the youth development vision of the Government NEDA is working on providing one million jobs, with least burden on state resources, according to the Minister.
"We encourage our youth to be not a burden on the public resources and therefore greatly support them to commence in entrepreneurship," the Minister said adding that NEDA is working on serving this aim and its graduate entrepreneurship project the "Upadidharee Vyavasayaka Udaanaya".
Under the project 215 graduates have been introduced to technology based new SME start-ups at a cost of more than Rs 32 million and 13 graduates from the total 215 were from the North.
"The importance in this project is that proposals submitted by youth are evaluated on models of viability and financing potentials. More importantly, the businesses encouraged are new technology based. I encourage graduates of Mannar and Museli area too to join this program. The Vidatha center launched today can help Mannar and Museli youth in farming and fishery sectors to link to main markets using latest technologies," Minister Bathiudeen said.
State Minister of Technology & Research Lakshman Seneviratne said that Vidatha's vision is to empower grassroots. "The Vidatha program started in 2004. It is to boost the rural economy and enhance its contribution to national development," Minister Seneviratne added.
To-date, more than 260 Vidatha Resource Centers (VRC) covering the entire island are in operation representing 80 percent of the total number of DS divisions of the country.