Youth Business Sri Lanka launches new website and mentoring manual

Thursday, 11 September 2014 01:55 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Senuri De Silva Youth Business Sri Lanka (YBSL) took the initiative to empower young Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to move to the next level with the launch of a new website last Wednesday. The website will provide a wider reach within the country for the organisation which was incorporated within the auspices of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce since 2007, and will also increase the accessibility to a wealth of knowledge and experience from the many business leaders who volunteer their expertise to the YBSL. It can be reached at YBSL, which is modelled after Youth Business International (YBI), provides young entrepreneurs from many regions the necessary support in mentoring, acquiring funds and setting up their businesses. The work carried out by the YBSL most significantly contributes to the national development by providing a feasible solution to the youth unemployment rate which, according to YBSL Chairman Samantha Ranatunga, is currently at about 30%. Such a statistic cannot be ignored if the country is to reach its ambitious targets for economic growth. He noted: “A program of this magnitude can play significant role in addressing some of the problems that this country has and take the country to that economic targets that all of us envisage that we should have.” YBSL Past Chairman Dr. Anura Ekanayake stressed on the importance of empowering the youth when it comes to maintaining social balance, saying: “Youth unemployment is an enormous destabilising factor for society in its entirety. If you look at the Arab Spring where there was a range of uprising and political upheavals, some of which is still not settled, one common factor was youth unemployment. We are tired of conflict. We have had several youth uprisings and a civil war. That is the reason why we are thought that promoting entrepreneurship in areas outside the metropolis is of critical importance for the nation.” He also spoke on how the public sector may not be able to create enough jobs to accommodate these young job seekers in their full capacity: “When you look at the overall situation in Sri Lanka we cannot think of any possibility of expanding State sector employment anymore because we have one of the largest public services in the whole world. For every 14 to 15 Sri Lankan citizens (including newborn babies), we have a public servant. It’s no wonder we have a budget deficit of high single digits. A lot of the macro economic problems of the country are resulting from this budget deficit so the unemployment issue can’t be solved by providing public sector jobs for people.” He further pointed out that when mentoring young entrepreneurs, focus should be placed on more sustainable business practices such as value addition instead of simply engaging in “trading activities”. Pix by Lasantha Kumara