Development expert calls on SL to give chance for new ideas to spearhead development
Sri Lanka should combine entrepreneurship with sustainability in its march to development, says a top international development expert.
The Bailey Institute Founding President Dr. Jennifer G. Bailey, who completed a series of visiting lectures on entrepreneurship at Sri Lankan universities yesterday, called for all stakeholders to focus on what type of change they want to formulate and focus on that.
She insisted that the negative side of change was that it was too large in scope for one person or institution to tackle alone. Therefore, she advocated that it be broken down to what can be coped with and for each solution to be designed in such a way that it would have a spill-over effect that would assist the entire community.
Dr. Bailey drew from the fable of four blind men trying to “see” the elephant and pointed out that the same should be followed for people interested in change. “If you feel the leg and think it’s a tree, then grab it and focus on it,” she insisted, adding that since change was already happening in the north and east, it would be better to implement new ideas there.
“I see a great enthusiasm in Sri Lanka to change and make a difference. This means that there is interest in taking a risk and doing something that hasn’t been tried before. I know that there is a lot of work going on in the north and east and perhaps that is the best place for some of these new ideas to take root,” she noted, emphasising that infusing better planned cities with waste management facilities and other linked sustainable measures would stand in good stead for the future.
Twinning entrepreneurship with sustainability would also give the chance for new companies to set up and forge development. “In the US, waste management, for example, is a US$ 96 million industry and 75% of it is done by the private sector. I understand that there isn’t an official countrywide waste management system in Sri Lanka and that in itself is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to step into.”
She stressed that the best way for entrepreneurs to gain new ideas was to focus on social needs. “The personal computer came into being because Bill Gates wanted everyone to have access to information because he realised that it would