ComBank offers certificate course for women entrepreneurs with PIM

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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has launched a ground-breaking certificate course in SME skills development exclusively for women entrepreneurs, in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) affiliated with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

The course will consist of three seven-hours-a-day sessions spread over three months followed by a practical presentation session, the Bank said. The three sessions will be on the topics ‘Business Development for Women Entrepreneurs,’ ‘Finance & Negotiation basics’ and ‘Innovation & Branding.’ On completion of the sessions, participants will be required to present a practical plan on a new product or service complete with relevant costing and plans for marketing. A certificate will be awarded to the participants who complete all three sessions and the presentation, a spokesman said.

The specific areas covered by the course topics would encompass: How to improve business in tough times; How to find new opportunities; How to grow the business in revenue terms; How to plan finances for the business; How to keep basic accounts and statements; Preparation of budgets for the business; How to manage costs; Negotiating and relationship building with suppliers; How to plan new products and services; Moving from a businesswoman to an entrepreneur; and How to promote the business via different channels.

Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently between the Bank and PIM, a pilot course is to be conducted for about 30 – 40 female entrepreneurs from the Inner Colombo and Colombo Metro regions at the Bank’s Training Centre at Colombo 2, the Bank said.

Based on the feedback received on the pilot project and further evaluations and improvements, the Bank said it intends to extend this programme to female entrepreneurs around the country in Sinhala, Tamil and English. A second programme is already planned to be conducted in Tamil for the Bank’s female customers in the North and East.

Although the Bank has been conducting skills development programmes for SMEs continuously for many years, this is the first structured, standardised course it is offering to women entrepreneurs in partnership with a national university reputed for delivering high quality programmes. The expertise offered by PIM and the practical experience opportunities extended to the participants would represent a significant value addition for women entrepreneurs, the Bank added.

Under the terms of the MoU, Commercial Bank will nominate participants for the SME skills development programmes for women entrepreneurs. Thereafter, the PIM will carry out an independent verification of the background of participants and will explain the curriculum individually, to prepare them for the programme.