A series of stakeholder consultations for a new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy for Sri Lanka was concluded this week, ahead of its submission to Cabinet next month.
A cross-section of stakeholders from private sector and Government have provided extensive feedback to finalise this strategy, that aims to boost export competitiveness through innovation, build an ecosystem for growth-oriented startups, and modernise and re-align the R&D sector.
The consultations were held to obtain input and validation on the proposed strategic and operational objectives from key stakeholders in the public research and development sector, the enterprise sector (both large corporates and SMEs), as well as enterprise-supporting institutions.
The process concluded this week with the final consultation session being held with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and SME-support institutions like the National Enterprise Development Authority and the Industrial Development Board, under aegis of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Previous consultation sessions were held with R&D institutions coming under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce member companies, and the startup and investor community.
Innovation and entrepreneurship is now recognised as a vital element in Sri Lanka’s economic transformation to an upper middle-income economy – to create better jobs and to boost global competitiveness. Among the principles at the heart of the forthcoming strategy are enterprise-centricity, actionability, and collaboration. The strategy has identified current challenges through an extensive diagnostic study, and lays out strategy and operational objectives as well as specific, costed initiatives.
Over the last year, the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade has been preparing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy 2018-2022 for Sri Lanka, in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
A high-level Working Group appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers, comprising of private sector representatives and public sector officials, guided the development of the strategy. The World Bank, with funding from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided valuable technical input for the diagnostic study and the strategy design.
The Working Group received valuable submissions and background papers by leaders in the R&D sector, enterprise innovation specialists, venture capital investors, startups, and SME exporters.