Mar 04, Colombo: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka in collaboration with SDB Bank launched the third initiative to support the small and medium size entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Western Province on February 28 2021 at Grand Monarch, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte with the participation of Manil Jayesinghe, President CA Sri Lanka, Lakshman Abeysekara, Chairman SDB Bank as well as the SME Task Force established by CA Sri Lanka for this purpose and Thilak Piyadigama CEO of SDB Bank.
This program was launched previously in Southern and Central provinces in December 2020 and in January 2021 respectively.
This is a unique program where volunteers of CA Sri Lanka and AAT Sri Lanka engage in a process of mentoring the selected SMEs of the SDB Bank over a period of time by visiting their business places and guiding them with necessary skills.
The intention of the program is to uplift the capacities including financial literacy and the business acumen of the SMEs spread throughout the country so that on one hand they can deal with the financial institutions effectively and on the other hand they can get the skills and advice needed to take their businesses to the next level.
It is expected that with an independent voluntary professional playing the role of the mentor, the bank can depend to a great extent on the mentor in the process of converting from security-based lending to cash flow based lending which is a much-needed phenomenon in developing the Sri Lankan economy to the next level.
Mr. Lakshman Abeysekara, elaborating on the way forward of development of SME sector in Sri Lanka said that it was their intention to create a SME Academy to support the SMEs ongoing basis and to create a credit guarantee support system to step in when the SMEs do not have sufficient security to provide at the time of sourcing of loans. He invited USAID who was represented by Jude Fernando and Juan Forero at the event to join hands with CA Sri Lanka in this endeavor.
CA Sri Lanka President Manil Jayasinghe expressed his enthusiasm to bring modern Agriculture practices and technology though the mentoring program to develop rural Agriculture based communities. SDB bank being the apex bank of cooperative sector is the ideal platform to reach rural Agriculture based communities. Sanasa movement has 8000 rural Thrift and Credit societies consisting of one million members. Thilak Piyadigama CEO of SDB Bank is committed to provide technology and other necessary support.
Sunil Rathnayake, CEO/ Managing Director of Teleview, a professional engineer turned entrepreneur and creative person in art, joined as a media support partner at the event and also would connect markets of mentees both local and international.
After the ceremony entrepreneurs were introduced to the mentors in the presence of the respective bank managers. It is planned to launch this program in all provinces of Sri Lanka and to support at least 500 deserved SMEs.