To Boost Entrepreneurship Islandwide: SDB Bank, CA SL enter into partnership
The landmark tie-up between SDB bank and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) was set in motion last month, with a entrepreneurship development and business mentorship session, bringing together SDB Bank’s SME and Co-op customers from the Galle region plus officials from both organisations.
An industry-first collaborative effort, it was formalised through an MoU in November and aims to boost the island’s SME and Co-op sectors and thereby support national economic development through a suite of dedicated financial and business acumen solutions plus active professional mentorship.
The initiative’s launch in Galle involved many SME participants selected from regional SDB Bank branches, along with a group of the bank’s regional co-op society customers.
Speaking at the inaugural event in Galle, SDB bank Chairman Lakshman Abeysekera said, ‘It is heartening to see the eager participation of SME and co-operative customers from SDB bank, and how motivated they are to make full use of this one-of-a-kind business development and professional mentorship opportunity.’
During the session, participants were offered practical knowledge and guidance on topics ranging from accounting, business planning, and management, to recruitment, HR and taxation. Additionally, they were given professional advice on areas such as expansion and diversification, exposing them to business practices and models that would help them scale business gradually.
SDB bank CEO Thilak Piyadigama added, ‘As the apex bank of the co-operative sector and a leading partner of national development, this collaborative development and mentorship effort between SDB bank and CA Sri Lanka represents an industry landmark for us, as it will help foster high-potential, business-savvy SMEs in strengthening our national economy’.
At the kickoff event in Galle, considerable time was spent to identify constraints and obstacles experienced by these SME and Co-op customers. Parallel to such group knowledge sharing sessions to be held routinely, one-on-one meetings with individual participants will now commence in addressing their specific issues to guide them closely on business processes. The programme will be similarly launched across other SDB bank regions and branches, on a staggered basis.
CA Sri Lanka President Manil Jayesinghe stated, ‘Today’s event is of great importance to not only the participants but to the entire country, as SMEs contribute to over 50% of our national GDP, and the support we will extend to them together with SDB bank, both in accessing finances or the management of their businesses, will help them grow and overcome obstacles faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately uplifting our country and the national economy’.
Additionally, a range of opportunities will be made available to SDB bank’s SME-sector customers through this programme, from access to new markets, and technology updates, to exploring innovative business avenues. It is expected that agreements between CA Sri Lanka and Government organisations including the UGC, EDB and the National Enterprise Development Authority will aid these efforts.