The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes SMEs as the backbone of the economy, as it accounts for more than 75% of the total number of enterprises, provides 45% of the employment and contributes to 52% of the Gross Domestic Production (GDP).
After the successful implementation of the Phase – 1 of SME Development (2012 - 2016), German Ministry of Economic Corporation & Development (BMZ) and Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance has agreed on a follow on module of the programme. The goal of the new phase of the SME Programme (2017- 2018) is to increase the competitiveness, inclusiveness and environmental sustainability of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka, as well as in other secondary growth centres. The programme has four (04) activity fields: Policies and Institutional Framework conditions; Access to Finance; Access to Technology and Markets; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Regarding Policies and Institutional Framework Conditions. the previous phase of the SME Programme has been engaged in several policy discussions in order to shape an enabling environment for SMEs. Its contribution to the SME Policy Framework as well as to the Quality Policy was key elements of the programme’s activities. In order to strengthen these achievements, new module intends to assist the development of the SME Development – Action Plan, with the Ministry of Industries and Commerce and other stakeholders. More over supporting the implementation of “Enabling Environment” pillar of the SME Policy Framework and address the issue of business intelligence, competitiveness and investment promotion (with special focus to target regions) shall be the main areas to be focused.
In February 2017, Economica Vietnam experts joined hands with colleagues from Como Consult (Germany) to support the project in conducting pre-feasibility assessment of how the new phase of SME Development could work and stay engaged with the Ministry of Industries and Commerce to support the execution of SME - Enabling Environment activities which shall be in line with the program indicators. The team also supported planning workshop and operationalization of the activities of the SME Development new program (2017-2018) as per the program indicators.