A welcome boost for the emerging Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Monaragala District

The One Stop Business Service Center in Monaragala was ceremonially opened on Monday the 26th of October, by Mr. Thorsten Bargfrede, Deputy Head, European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives and Ms. Ashika Gunasena, Chief Executive Officer, Chrysalis. The event was held under the patronage of Hon. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self-Employment and Business Development and Hon. Shasheendra Rajapaksa, State Minister of Paddy and Cereals, Organic Food, Vegetables, Fruits, Chilies, Onions and Potatoes, Seed Production and High-Tech Agriculture.

The Business Service Center model was conceptualized and presented to the Ministry by the Enterprise Project funded by the European Union in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and implemented by Chrysalis with technical, legal and administrative support from officials of the former Ministry of Industries and Commerce. It was supported by many state, private sector and other key stakeholders that provided conceptual clarity, technology and regulatory support. The Center is expected to provide a conducive environment for over 18,000 MSMEs in the district to access regulatory, business growth technical advice and links to state and private sector resources and services. The Business centre will ensure service delivery is devoid of many administrative inefficiencies that significantly impact the SME sector in Sri Lanka – including specific challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

The Business Service Center is housed within the Monaragala District Secretariat, and the staff required to manage the center will be facilitated by the District Secretariat. Service provision organizations operating at district level will work closely with the Center and provide their services based on the need. The Center will be equipped with a web portal which will be linked to business development service providers, Regulatory Authorities and Financial Institutes and Banks.

Speaking on the European Union’s contribution to the MSME sector in Sri Lanka, Mr. Thorston Bargfrede, Deputy Head – European Union said “Supporting small businesses is really important. There is no development without small businesses,”.

The Business Service Center will help to establish links with appropriate government organizations and facilitate their approvals through a single e-window. Further, the Center will assist individual enterprises to obtain required services from service providers on technology improvement, product improvement, quality control, skills development and market access. The center will also possess a data base on marketing, demand and supply in the local and international markets.

An SME owner expressed much hope that this Center will facilitate many services for them. “We waste a lot of time going up and down trying to get registration, business approvals etc . This also results in business losses as we have to close our shops when we go out. So, we really hope this center will ease the process for us”.

 The BSC is a first in Sri Lanka, including the e-business registration. Based on its success Chrysalis will support the establishment of BCSs in other districts within its current programme and support the government to replicate it across the country in line with the country’s SME policy and to create demand services offered by the BSC.

One-stop-shops to register and provide services for micro, small and medium enterprises – Article in the Daily Ft 18th June 2020

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