SDB bank (SANASA Development Bank PLC), a pioneering financial institution founded on supporting the grass-roots levels of Sri Lanka recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) to further extend its support to the Micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. The MOU primarily aims to encourage and guide prospective entrepreneurs in the rural communities while further uplifting existing business players in the Micro, small and medium enterprises.
National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), an institution established under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce currently serves the MSME sector with 235 development officers attached to the Divisional secretariats, to elevate Sri Lankan Enterprises to be an integral part of the economy. Identifying the role micro, small and medium enterprises play in developing the economy of a country and the importance of empowering citizens to be self-employed, NEDA has been actively involved in creating awareness among the rural communities about the boundless opportunities unveiled through entrepreneurial initiatives. NEDA works with entrepreneurs to assist them in executing their business ideas and supports the progress of the business through continuous guidance and monitoring.
While commenting on the MOU signed with SANASA Development Bank PLC, Omar Kamil – Chairman of NEDA said, “This new partnership will certainly add value to the work being carried out by NEDA currently as we now stand as a consolidated business development service provider to the prospective entrepreneurs in the country. We selected SDB as our partner in this instance as we identified them as an entity that spoke the same language as us. Being a financial institution extremely receptive to the needs of the grass roots of our country, their goals aptly complement our vision. Moreover, as we both intend to widen the scope of the SME sector in the country, it was easy to venture into this business partnership and lay out our objectives”.
He further added, “There are a range of services we will be extending to the MSME sector through this MOU. In addition to the financial support that will be provided inclusive of concessionary loan schemes with simplified terms and conditions, we will also collaboratively help the prospective entrepreneurs in rural communities with compiling business plans, business registrations and monitoring the progress of the business with constant guidance and training.
Our key objectives specifically include development plans for women, war widows and graduates. We plan to launch knowledge sharing trainings and capacity building programs for women and war widows to empower them to be self-sufficient and independent.
NEDA has been conducting a graduate entrepreneurship program since year 2014, where 100 second year students are selected every year and granted the necessary financial support and guidance to execute their business idea. Our partnership with SDB bank will strengthen this program further and help more graduates to venture into the MSME sector, which will considerably reduce the country’s unemployment rate and contribute to the progress of our economy.
We are also working collaboratively with SDB bank on an incubator technology transfer center in the Wayamba University which will facilitate the research process required to test an innovative business idea. The necessary research equipment has been carefully chosen based on the industries in demand in the surrounding areas to optimize effectiveness of this project.
I strongly believe this collaboration between NEDA and SDB bank has the potential to reach greater heights in empowering the rural communities and uplifting the MSME sector by sharing our strengths and working in synergy.”