Sri Lanka Chamber links with ILO, US to create youth entrepreneurs

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it was partnering with the International Labor Organization and the United States to encourage youth entrepreneurship.

Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has entered in a two-year partnership with ILO’s South Asia Leadership in Entrepreneurship program (SALE) to promote entrepreneurship among youth.

“We see entrepreneurship as the most important catalyst of economic development as it is the entrepreneur who will mobilize other resources to create value,” Manjula de Silva, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Secretary-General and CEO said in a statement.

“Promoting entrepreneurship among the youth and their key influencers such as parents and teachers will go a long way to establish a pipeline of startups.”

Less than 30 percent of Sri Lankan youth view entrepreneurship as an ideal career part, the promoters of the program said in the statement.

The promoters added that Sri Lankans prefer public jobs over entrepreneurship as they view it as high-risk therefore those who take up self-employment are forced to rather than the motivation to take advantage of an opportunity.

“Sri Lanka is yet to capitalize on the full potential of entrepreneurship. This situation is not due to a dearth of innovative ideas, or lack of passion among youth, but rather a result of a less than ideal entrepreneurship eco-system,” Simrin Singh, Country Director for ILO Sri Lanka and the Maldives in a statement.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the need for innovative thinking and an accelerated need for new business solutions and services, especially opportunities in the digital economy. To drive entrepreneurship, we need to ramp-up efforts across the board in providing young people with the necessary access, resources, and skills, alongside shifting mindsets and creating support systems.”

As part of the SALE program, it will introduce a national competition for young entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas, receive the necessary support, and win the ‘Youth Entrepreneur Spark’ (YES) Award.

The SALE program will also introduce entrepreneurship curricula in upper-secondary schools, universities and tertiary academic institutions, amongst other training and mentorships.

As part of the U.S. government’s focus on small business growth in a move to recover its own economy, Phillip Loosli, Economy Chief, U.S. Embassy Colombo said he is pleased to partner with ILO and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to promote entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka to make the economy stronger and more inclusive, especially for women and historically disadvantaged groups. (Colombo/Nov10/2021)

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