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CSE and USAID hold issuer Forum in South, educating SMEs on opportunities


The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) collaborated on a forum to provide small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in southern Sri Lanka with insights into opportunities to raise capital through the CSE.

Held recently at the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa, the issuer forum titled “Redefining the Trajectory of Your Business”, provided guidance on exploring effective capital-raising avenues, specifically through listing on the Empower and Diri Savi Boards, which offer dedicated listing platforms for SMEs, focusing on sectors like agribusinesses, livestock, energy
generation, ICT, and tourism-related ventures. Industry experts, investment advisors, CSE representatives, and representatives of USAID’s CATALYZE Sri Lanka Private Sector Development Activity led panel discussions and interactive sessions.

“USAID’s goal for SMEs is to unlock opportunities for growth, innovation, and sustainability, paving the way for economic development that benefits everyone,” said Dennis Wesner, deputy director of USAID’s office of Economic Growth. “Forums like this are important for educating SMEs about the available capital resources.”

Addressing the gathering, Rajeeva Bandaranaike, CEO of CSE, said, “The decision to pursue a listing on the stock exchange marks a significant milestone in the life of any company. Going public is not just about raising capital or enhancing liquidity—it's about unlocking potential, fuelling innovation, and creating value for shareholders, employees, and society at large. It will be a transformative path which starts with a fundamental shift in mindsets.”

Conducting a session on ‘Capital Mobilization through the CSE’, Niroshan De Silva, Assistant Vice President of Research, Capital Alliance Limited, stated, “Sri Lankan SMEs are the backbone of our economy, but many face challenges in accessing growth capital. Listing on the Colombo

Stock Exchange (CSE) provides a unique opportunity to address this very need. By going public, SMEs can tap into new sources of capital, allowing for significant expansion and innovation.”

He went on to say, “The CSE also facilitates price discovery, providing a fair market value for existing investors. Additionally, the listing process fosters good corporate governance practices, building trust and transparency for all stakeholders. In short, a vibrant SME sector on the CSE will benefit not only the businesses themselves, but also the Sri Lankan capital market by
fostering innovation, diversification, and a culture of strong corporate governance.”

The forum featured a panel discussion titled “Journey Towards Listing & Life after Listing” including Jude Fernando, Inclusive Finance Director, PSD; Chamara Dissanayake, Executive Director, Asia Siyaka Commodities Limited; Rajeeva Bandaranaike, CEO, CSE; Niroshan De Silva,
Assistant Vice President, Research, Capital Alliance Limited and with Punyamali Saparamadu, Senior Vice President, Commercial, CSE, serving as the moderator.

The Weligama session follows similar presentations held in Colombo and Jaffna. Attendees reported finding the discussion valuable for its insightful perspectives.

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