USAID funded programme in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna city to uplift SME sector
Ada Derana: Sri Lanka@100, a private sector-led business development platform supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted a capacity building workshop in Jaffna in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam (CCIY) and NDB Bank on understanding the customer and improving customer centricity.
Around 30 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) attended the workshop held on March 29th that included a core session on ‘Understanding the Customer’, along with sessions focusing on changes in customer perceptions and strategies that companies need to adopt to retain customers in a more competitive and challenging environment, conducted by Dhanushka Wijeyapala and Priyandan Francis from Stax.
CCIY Vice Chairman K. Vignesh highlighted its ongoing member support to understand the customer-centric mindset, stating: “Most businesses spend more time and effort to improve their sales and profits, ignoring their customers and their needs. The past two years have thrown a spotlight on how fragile the business landscape is. However, it also showed how organizations can sustain their businesses if they adopt a customer-centric mindset.”
Sri Lanka@100 Senior Advisor Dhanushka Wijeyapala, who led the workshop, said, “Our training today is based on curated content to share knowledge and industry best practices that can enable these firms to become consumer-centric organizations. This reflects our commitment towards uplifting the growth of the broader SME ecosystem in our country as we embark on the post-COVID road to recovery.”
NDB Bank, Sri Lanka@100’s banking partner, also conducted a session on financial literacy and practical aspects SMEs need to focus on to become more resilient. Sri Lanka@100 was launched in 2020 with support from USAID. This initiative works with high potential mid-market firms to enhance internal operations, access new markets, and attract capital to help Sri Lanka become a high-income country within 100 years of independence.
Sri Lanka’s Northern Province is fast becoming a hotbed for business/investment opportunities. With much support being received for the uplifting of the SME sector in the area, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka’s north. The country’s economy is on an overall expansion with the ongoing development programme and the positioning of the country as a growing business destination in the region. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as concessions enjoyed by the country have also helped boost Sri Lanka’s business potential. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore confidently explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern Province.
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