DFCC Bank’s SME skill development programmes benefit over 50,000 Entrepreneurs
July 8, 2013
DFCC Bank, an important strategic partner to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and a pioneer in developing industries, has been implementing a strategic plan to develop skills of SMEs across the country. The project, which runs under the theme of ‘Unleash your potential’ has been conducted for over two decades and has benefitted more than 50,000 small and medium sized entrepreneurs especially in the outstations where opportunities for skill development in key business related areas are limited.
SMEs form an important strategic sector in promoting economic growth, social development and reducing poverty especially in areas outside the Western Province. These enterprises, mostly family owned or run by an enterprising person, are fragile economic entities and their sustainability is threatened at every turn, hence the risks run high in financing this category. The SME sector in Sri Lanka represents the largest portion of the local economy and plays a vital role in employment generation in rural areas.
Despite its importance to the country’s economy, the sector has been fraught with a high failure rate and hence their inability to raise finances for sustenance. The reason is of course that most SMEs lack formal grooming in business disciplines. Often they suffer from a general lack of business direction and improper management in key areas of business operations such as strategy formulation, production, marketing, leadership, finance and personnel management. Financial management and the accounting records maintained tend to be inappropriate for profit measurement and efficient control of other resources employed in the business.
DFCC’s skill development programmes are organized through the dedicated SME units of the Bank located across the country. After identifying the most critical training needs of each district, the workshops are conducted targeting entrepreneurs who have the potential to grow and play a wider role in the country’s economy. Special attention is paid to districts which are under-developed and lack proper training opportunities.
The programmes are conducted at no charge to entrepreneurs and are open to all who are keen to develop their skills. Some of the areas covered are,
- Training in fundamentals of entrepreneurship, their practical application in business development and experience sharing.
- Organisational and Financial management training (budgeting, cost control, pricing strategies, analyzing financial statements)
- Customer care
- Human Resource Management
- Marketing in a competitive environment
- Selling skills
- Managing change
- Leadership and motivation
- Other topics include; business taxation, value added taxes (VAT), tax incentives, tax planning and survival of SMEs in an open economic system
DFCC’s Senior Vice President for Branch Banking, Mr. Dharmasiri Wickramathilake says, “Last year we focused a lot on the North and East. Getting new industries and businesses started in these areas are very critical to building the local economies. Employment generation is key to making these areas stable. Therefore we conducted several SME skill development programmes in these areas in 2012 and will continue to do so this year as well.” He also added, “The programmes also help motivate people to start their own businesses with better knowledge and direction. To encourage SMEs to start up and expand, we are also offering loan facilities at a very attractive 9% interest rate under a special loan scheme (SMILE III).”
DFCC Bank’s long term commitment to help develop this sector extends well beyond financing. The Bank has a track record of having developed SMEs to become some of the big and best businesses of today.