National Symposium on understanding the challenges experienced by women engaged in micro, small and medium enterprises in Sri Lanka and identifying key policy recommendations

Chrysalis together with the Ministry of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance,
Self-Employment, Business Development and the European Union in Sri Lanka, hosted a two-day National Symposium to convene diverse stakeholders to revisit Sri Lanka’s Policy on SMEs in order to identify and define a way forward to address the challenges experienced by women engaged in micro, small and medium enterprises. The main objectives of the National Symposium were: to facilitate a national dialogue with Women Entrepreneurs, State Institutions, Private Sector, Banking Sector, Civil Society and Academia to identify and understand specific implications faced by women in the MSME sector in Sri Lanka; and to develop actionable policy recommendations to revise the National SME policy drafted in 2016. The two-day Symposium took place with strict health guidelines in-place to minimize the risk of Covid-19 and saw the participation of many stakeholders including women entrepreneurs.

In addition to plenary sessions, group work was carried out to formulate recommendations for the public and private sector on five thematic areas: An enabling environment, access to finance, access to market, competitiveness and entrepreneurial culture and promoting norm change.

According to responses to the question posed via ‘Mentimeter’ to 46 respondents, on the most decisive problems faced by entrepreneurs, nearly half of the respondents (46%) stated that ‘entrepreneurial culture and promoting norm change’ is the most decisive problem faced by women entrepreneurs. 20% of the respondents identified policy and regulatory environment as the most decisive problem. A lesser number stated access to market, access to finance and improving competitiveness of MSMEs as the most decisive challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs.

Once we have synthesized the recommendations against the thematic focus areas, Chrysalis will work closely with the relevant Ministries to make an official presentation of the compiled policy papers to subject Ministries, relevant institutions and private and CSO partners. Chrysalis remains committed to closely accompanying the entire process.