Today, Sri Lankan small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate in an extraordinary business environment. They need to rethink, reinvent and rebuild processes to survive and thrive in international markets.
Good Life X (GLX) works with startups and SMEs fostering ethical and sustainable business ideas for a better and more secure tomorrow. Working in key sectors such as food, agriculture, wellness, travel, design, and energy, the program provides expertise, greater access to innovative tech solutions, novel strategies and international market intelligence, to enable these companies scale up and achieve new capabilities.
Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic rages and changes lives on a daily basis, Sri Lankan SMEs have to adapt to overcome many challenges, and be well-poised to drive growth in international markets.
As part of GLX, the ‘GLX Garage’ business development program launched in September, aims to empower founder-entrepreneurs who are deeply rooted in building sustainable companies.
GLX Garage is uniquely designed to supports these SMEs creating an enabling environment for them to innovate and reframe their short term and long-term goals. It also helps them transform their companies and expand their customer base both at home and abroad.
GLX’s global partner network has been instrumental in leading and driving the program developing a bespoke strategy exclusive for each of the selected entities.
GoodLife X Director Randhula de Silva said, “It is truly empowering to be able to extend the work we do through GLX into the SME sector and help build resilience during the height of a global pandemic. It has been an invigorating and encouraging start with the quality of applications extremely high. We want to support these companies make an innovative turn and have a great commercial impact by accessing international markets while driving sustainable economic development in Sri Lanka at the same time.”
The first pilot cohort comprises SMEs with a keen focus on sustainability and innovation seeking to leapfrog to new markets:
Target Agriculture: An exporter of organic and fair trade certified fruit products aims to provide better quality, safer products for customers, while empowering rural farming communities.
House of Lonali: Upcycles and transforms redundant textiles from large manufacturers into original clothes and lifestyle products preventing waste reaching landfills.
Worga Naturals: Produces healthy and organic food using fresh and certified organic materials with state-of-the-art-technology, striving to be Sri Lanka’s best organic food processing company.
Serendipol: Aims to be world’s foremost supplier of certified fair trade, organic and regenerative coconuts delivering reliable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible source of raw material for food and body care products.
Ceylon Exports and Trading: Internationally certified manufacturer and exporter of organic and vegan food products in addition to possessing a sustainable and ethical value chain brand.
The program received a large number of applications and a rigorous screening process was conducted by a pool of global experts joining from Germany, the US, and Hong Kong.
GLX Garage Program Director Nio Liyanage said, “The program was designed bottom-up to propel SMEs based on challenges and opportunities faced in the new economic and business landscape. Following highly customised plans and goals scoped out for each company, they undergo an intensive combination of business refinement, access to international experts and partners, accelerating customer adoption, and integration into target markets.”
The GLX Garage program also assists the companies to identify the right partners, driving dialogue and linking them to potential international and local counterparts. As a future activity, GLX Garage hopes to create spotlight exposure points to highlight the companies on the global stage.
The GLX Garage program for SMEs was launched as a COVID response initiative of Noah Foundation in Germany with the support of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).