EFC supports advancement of a global entrepreneurship ecosystem

Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2017 which is held from 13 to 19 November this year is celebrating 10 years of unleashing ideas and creating one global entrepreneurship ecosystem through its events and activities. 

Since its launch in 2008, GEW has grown to engage nearly 10 million people each year in more than 170 countries. Marking the GEW each November, scores of events and competitions throughout the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and investors. 

Powered by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship of the USA, this initiative is supported by several world leaders and a network of 20,000 partner organisations, hosting 35,000 events, with 10 million participants.

Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe asserts that the EFC will support the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) as well as events to celebrate ‘GEW 2017’, as the GEN’s objectives fall within EFC’s agenda of advancing sustainable enterprises.  “Innovation and entrepreneurship are very much part of the ‘green tech’ move that is driving Industry Revolution 4.0. Youth are at the forefront of this initiative and deserve all the support to succeed. The EFC also believes in networking and partnerships: therefore, we consider it important for us to play a supportive role in the advancement of a global entrepreneurship eco system. This year we are supporting two main events organised by Sri Lanka’s Green University – the National School of Business Management and the National Human Resource Development Council, respectively,” he noted.

Encouraging Sri Lanka’s network of regional/district chambers of commerce, traders associations and rural tourism associations to join the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) exposing them to global best practices, and creating a Sri Lankan entrepreneurial ecosystem will be a significant catalyst for enhanced entrepreneurship, observes Suresh de Mel, Head of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Sri Lanka and Council Member, Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC). 

“Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and SMEs need to change their mindset from being merely competitive to being more collaborative, being more inclusive as opposed to being exclusive,” remarks De Mel, who urges a mindset shift from a ‘government job’ to an ‘entrepreneurial culture’ especially in a local setting. 

The Global Entrepreneurship Week which celebrates the ‘opportunity gap’, ‘sense of common purpose’, ‘aspiration models’ and ‘youth bulge’ at global level, becomes even more decisive nationally this year in the backdrop of the 2018 Budget proposals for entrepreneurship. 

“This Budget has given recognition to entrepreneurship and SMEs better than ever before. I believe it is up to the entrepreneurs and SMEs to derive the best out of the incentives offered in the Budget, and for the Government to implement the proposals in a practical manner, so that those intended can derive the benefits,” asserts GEN’s local chief. 

A robust celebration of local entrepreneurship and the local work force is perceived by De Mel as a forceful tool of changing negative mindsets “Unfortunately much of our entrepreneurial people and productive labour have gone overseas.  A collective and powerful effort by the Government and the private sector will be necessary to make the required change to reverse the trend.”

A positive and a vibrant entrepreneurial culture can only be achieved by formal enterprises points out the EFC Council Member, who notes that local SMEs are vastly informal. This, he attributes to the informal startup stage of most SMEs focused on avoiding Government taxes and statutory labour entitlements. 

“When these SMEs are ready to scale up, the barriers due to back tax and labor department penalties force them to continue informally and stay below the radar. This creates a black economy, encourages corruption, and poses a huge challenge for good governance in the country.”  

Taxes, regulations and compliance must go hand in hand with awareness building at the grass roots, asserts the EFC Council Member, who encourages the EFC to spearhead the move.