Sixty SMEs from the Eastern and Central Provinces joins SME ProLink to strengthen business

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SME Pro-Link, an initiative of the GIZ and CCC and which was launched last year is planning to launch its 2nd phase.

Accordingly, the second “SME ProLink: Unity Through Business” Programme in Trincomalee would be organized in Trincomalee District and would provide opportunities to the participating SMEs and the stakeholders of the Food and Beverage (and related) sector to enhance their social linkages, expand business contacts and strengthen skills and capacities. ProLink is specially designed for Small and Medium scale F&B entrepreneurs and associated stakeholders, who have been in operation for at least 2 years, with a minimum turnover of Rs. 3 Mn per annum and the interest and capacity to supply other regions.

The Sri Lankan-German SME Development Programme, implemented by GIZ in cooperation with Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka, aims to support a cohesive policy framework enabling SMEs to grow in an inclusive and eco-friendly manner. Through a wide range of technical assistance, it helps enhance competitiveness of SMEs through technology transfer, innovation and improved access to finance. The programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany. Realizing the importance of programme of this nature for enhancing overall performance and competitiveness of SMEs, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the premier business chamber in Sri Lanka with 177 years’ service to the business community, has come forward as the main implementing partner of SME ProLink.

GIZ SME Development Programme in partnership with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the District Chambers of Commerce of the Northern Province and Southern Province organized the first SME ProLink Programme in September, 2015 in Matara with the objective of promoting social, cultural and business linkages between SMEs in the Northern and Southern Provinces. The programme titled as ‘SME ProLink ; Unity Through Businesswas highly successful in promoting linkages between SMEs in the South with SMEs in the North and resulted in a number of mutually beneficial business linkages among SMEs in the North and the South.

Both GIZ and CCC strongly believe that the programmes of this nature will help minimize regional disparities in economic development, which has been identified as a serious development challenge by successive governments. This SME linkage programme will not only enhance technical know-how, access to technology, access to markets and new business opportunities for participating SMEs but also strengthen social linkages, which will promote reconciliation among entrepreneurs representing three main communities.

The Sri Lankan-German SME Development Programme, implemented by GIZ in cooperation with Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka, aims to support a cohesive policy framework enabling SMEs to grow in an inclusive and eco-friendly manner. Through a wide range of technical assistance, it helps enhance competitiveness of SMEs through technology transfer, innovation and improved access to finance. The programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany. Realizing the importance of programme of this nature for enhancing overall performance and competitiveness of SMEs, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the premier business chamber in Sri Lanka with 177 years’ service to the business community, has come forward as the main implementing partner of SME ProLink.

In keeping with the tag-line of GIZ SME Development programme, which is to ‘Advise on and facilitate matchmaking between technology and innovation providers and SMEs’, the SME ProLink programme concept is designed to support the SME sector with the participation of various stakeholders connected to it. Through this concept, business and social linkages amongst the participating SMEs and service providers are expected to be strengthened.

SME ProLink 2016, designed as a two day residential SME exchange/linkage programme will be held from 9-11th August 2016 at Hotel Glee in Trincomalee. The programme will consist of technical and knowledge sharing sessions on relevant topics for the development of the sector, promoting linkages between the F & B sector SMEs and corporate businesses and field visits to a food processing factory that have specific learning points and cultural events to promote social and cultural linkages.

The District Chambers of Commerce in Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kandy, Matale and Nuwaraeliya Districts in collaboration with Industrial Development Board (IDB) and National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) created awareness on the programme among SMEs and attracted applications from interested SMEs. After careful review of a large number of applications received, the organizers have selected 31 SMEs from the Eastern Province and 29 SMEs from the Central Province to take part in SME ProLink 2016. These 60 SMEs along with technical service providers such as Sri Lanka Standards Institute, Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), Industrial Development Board, National Enterprise Development Authority and the large scale corporates will meet at one venue to share knowledge and experiences and establish mutually beneficial linkages. Distinguished guests from the host province and GIZ will also grace this occasion.