Financial Times

IFC-supported Business Cells to help small enterprises grow in Sri Lanka

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the district chambers of commerce in Sri Lanka to establish rural development programmes featuring business cells to help small enterprises become self-sustainable and better equipped to enhance their income.

The initiative is expected to reach more than 25,000 small and medium enterprises over two years.
The business cells will help small businesses explore opportunities, surmount challenges, devise solutions, engage in supply chains with larger companies, strengthen entrepreneurial skills, and improve their ability to access financing, IFC said in a press release.

The business cells, known as Small and Medium Enterprise Development cells, were initiated by IFC Advisory Services in South Asia in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. IFC Advisory Services in Sri Lanka and Maldives is supported by the government of Norway to promote the growth of small and medium enterprises.

“IFC’s experience and partnership in instituting these cells will be invaluable to small businesses by helping them improve their quality of services to their customer base, including larger private sector players,” said Kosala Wickramanayake, President Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka.

The business cells will offer training programmes for entrepreneurs to improve their skills in accessing market information and business development services. Cells are being planned across the southern districts of Galle, Hambantota, Matara, Moneragala, and Ratnapura.

Per Kjellerhaug, IFC Regional Manager, said, “These cells eventually will evolve into one-stop shops for small entrepreneurs imparting business skills to help them grow faster, make business processes more efficient, and boost client satisfaction.”

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