In Sri Lanka, there was a time when significant commitment was made to human development. This was especially true when it came the nation’s highly skilled and literate workforce. These characteristics set Sri Lanka apart from other countries in the region. Sri Lanka has seen steady economic growth over the years and significant improvements to its infrastructure. The nation is known for its quality tea, apparels production, and other export-level goods, which has been growing steadily since the 1970s.
The output of small and medium businesses (SMEs) and entrepreneurs is another aspect of the nation’s contribution to economic growth. SMEs are a key part of our economy’s growth, when compared to blue-chip companies or other powerful conglomerates in Sri Lanka. These SMEs are also largely run by ambitious entrepreneurs from the more rural areas of the country.
Sri Lanka is currently facing the worst financial crisis. It is these small and medium-sized businesses that are suffering the most when it comes economic stability in the country. We are currently in an economic crisis. It will take some time before things improve. The inflation rate is increasing slowly. We must also remember that we could have moved ahead if we had fully supported and embraced our home-grown businesses.
Our farmers are the ones who need the most support to ensure that they can produce food for us. Sri Lanka is currently facing unprecedented times. This is a situation that no one expected to happen at such a rapid pace. But, there are signs of resilience and much room for improvement if the SME sector is given enough attention. The strength of rural entities is what has been shown to be the driving force behind the local economy. It is therefore only right to move forward and encourage rural entrepreneurship in this age.
The world, and Sri Lanka specifically, has been subject to a variety of problems over the years that eventually had an impact on our current economic situation. It is important to design a strategy that allows for a crisis management approach. Even though times can be difficult, SME sectors could rebound with creativity and an open mind.
Online platforms are important
One example is the actions that small businesses took when the covid-19 lockdown was in effect, not only in Sri Lanka but across the globe. Many businesses who had never used online platforms to their advantage eventually embraced them and became more innovative in their business strategies. It was reported that 79% did not consider the need to be online before C-19.
C-19 changed that idea quickly. As our country is now in deep trouble due to another economic crisis, it is crucial that we find ways to improve the rural economy.
It would be a good idea to allow them to transition to ecommerce platforms in order for them continue to bring about this level of change. These platforms should be available to entrepreneurs and SMEs who want to enter the e-commerce market. Online portals would allow SMEs to promote their products and attract customers. These platforms could also provide them with an incentive to feel empowered and to be more open to global demand.
It is also important to learn the steps required to produce products that meet international standards. This will help them to improve their businesses, their employees, and their communities.
Rural entrepreneurs must overcome many obstacles in order to establish enough income to be able to retire. They lack the necessary technical and business management skills to succeed, as well as sufficient capital to invest.
Empower micro and home-based businesses
State and private Business Development Services (BDSs), can be seen as support systems and ideal networking entities. This allows entrepreneurs to come together in one safe space, and then market themselves locally and globally. Both private and state BDSs need to be focused on the vision of eliminating poverty through the empowerment of micro- and home-based businesses.
This case, the main goal should be to make the idle population productive by empowering micro and home-based businesses. These enterprises will help to secure a living through efficient procurement, create lucrative national and international markets, and provide training and development opportunities.
There are other support systems that should be considered. For rural entrepreneurs, they need to encourage them to start their own businesses and be able keep going without having to deal with bureaucratic obstacles that sometimes arise.
It is crucial that there are consistent systems in place so that local chambers can strengthen marketing channels for rural entrepreneurs. They also conduct regular programs that would allow these entrepreneurs to expose their products and services to local customers, such as trade fairs.
Training them on the principles behind quality standards, adding value to their products by using technical knowledge etc. However, these rural entrepreneurs have also been found to be prone to incompetence. This is largely responsible for the low profit generation.
Incompetence can be seen from the management, technical, and entrepreneurial sides. This leads to other problems that occur when the entrepreneur’s personal view of things is also affected. A lack of knowledge and training in how to deal with these elements can lead to problems that eventually lead to breakdowns. These issues can also be caused by external factors, which in turn leads to lower productivity and ultimately, lower profits. It is important to meet training requirements promptly. If we want to see this level change not only accepted but carried forward for future generations, consistency is essential.
We are now in a state of uncertainty. The only way to move forward is to continue looking for innovative and practical solutions. It is important to focus on empowering micro- and small-sized businesses by advancing their development through practical processes that will lead to growth.
MSMEs would also benefit
This should be the main responsibility of both state and private sector BDSs. We must ensure that the SME sector is supported and rural entrepreneurs are supported in times of crisis. This will help us to find sustainable solutions. These solutions can also help to boost post-crisis economic development.
MSMEs will, on the other side, benefit greatly from any supportive efforts, especially in relation to national policy. The national policy should focus on helping MSMEs, and the national budget should also include a mechanism that, particularly during times of crisis like the current situation, will support them in gaining new markets locally and regionally.
A national mission is needed to promote foreign exchange. If the goal is to move them forward, these MSMEs must feel empowered and given these incentives. If we want to end this crisis, these feats can be made sustainable.
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