Fostering SMEs: Learning from the German experience

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By 2017-05-25

Together with the Pathfinder Foundation, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) 'Social and Economic Governance Programme Asia' (SOPAS) organized a bilateral expert Roundtable Conference titled 'Social Market Economy in South Asia: Germans Experience of Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises' in Colombo yesterday.

The conference aims at exploring ways and means of how the German experience could serve as an impetus for Sri Lanka's sustainable development and a thriving economy. Based in Japan, SOPAS is a regional sector programme of KAS, covering the entire Asia-Pacific region organizing conferences, workshops and seminars for experts from Asia and Europe. The goal is to establish a stronger dialogue and a continuous exchange of views on current challenges, risks and opportunities of multilateral cooperation between Asia and Europe.

Resident representative Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Japan Office, Thomas Awe made the welcome remarks. Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael Dohmen and Pathfinder Foundation Chairman, Bernard Goonetilleke made the opening remarks.

The keynote address was delivered by Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy who said the Government recognizes the importance of internationalization and will facilitate and support SMEs to access the local and export market. He emphasized that the challenge was to have improved product quality, packaging, branding and market information to enable SMEs to access.

At the conference, internationally renowned German and Sri Lankan experts presented their views and comments over how to develop this sector with how to strengthen the capacity and skills of the officials of the Banks and financial institution with SME focused business plan.

The other topics elaborated at the conference included 'An Introductory Overview of the German Social Market Economy as a Model for South Asia' by Prof. Rolf Langhammer, 'A Concise Examination of the Discourse about Social Market Economy and the Role of SMEs in Sri Lanka' by Prof. Sirimal Abeyratne, 'Policies to Facilitate SME Growth in the Sectors of Taxation and Banking' by Prof. Andre Schmidt, 'Entrepreneurial Women in Sri Lanka: Challenges and Way Forward' by Dilesha Perera, 'How may MSMEs be Better Served by Public Utilities'by Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, 'The Significance of Vocational and Dual Education Systems for SMEs in Germany' by Dr. Michael Zibrowius and 'Growth and Competitiveness of Sri Lankan SMEs' by Anushka Wijesinha.

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