The official launch of the Sri Lanka@100 platform. From left: USAID Mission Director Reed J. Aeschliman, SL@100 CoFounder and Stax MD Dr. Kumudu Gunasekera, SL@100 Co-Founder and Stax MD Ruwindhu Peiris, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz – Pic by Lasantha Kumara
Sri Lanka@100, a private sector-led initiative focused on the growth of mid-market enterprises – funded by the US Government’s international development agency, USAID, and administered by Stax – was launched yesterday.
Gracing the occasion were US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz and State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya.
Stax Managing Director and Co-Founder of SL@100 Dr. Kumudu Gunasekara said that the purpose of the initiative was to enable Sri Lanka to become a high-income country within 100 years of independence (by 2048) — with equitable and inclusive growth fuelled by the value creation of mid-market firms. The Platform will, in particular, support businesses in underserved segments.
Explaining the rationale behind setting up this platform, Dr. Gunasekara said: “While we may have been born in a developing country, we don’t have to continue to live in one. We are incredibly resilient as a people, as a nation. Our SME owners and entrepreneurs have weathered many storms to stay afloat. This platform is about helping them to now really power full steam ahead with ambitious growth plans, and about taking Sri Lanka’s development to the next level.”
Ambassador Teplitz echoed this commitment to economic development driven by the private sector. She noted that US companies have invested over $ 300 million in Sri Lanka over the past several decades, and expressed hope that this platform would generate more opportunities for mutually beneficial trade and investments between the two countries.
“You – the entrepreneurs, the business and government leaders expanding the impact and profitability of medium-sized businesses – are the engine that will power Sri Lanka’s prosperity, and the United States is investing in your drive and potential,” said Ambassador Teplitz.
State Minister Balasuriya too expressed similar sentiments on the importance of supporting medium-scale businesses that have the power to recharge Sri Lanka’s economy. “Programs such as Sri Lanka@100 help businesses fulfil their potential in an increasingly competitive environment, and will play a large part in the economy’s post-COVID recovery,” he added.
Mid-sized firms in Sri Lanka face many challenges when preparing for the next stage of growth—such as dependency on a small domestic market for revenue, limited access to high quality business development services, and lack of access to varied forms of capital. The SL@100 platform is designed to help mid-market companies address such issues by providing high-calibre advisory services in areas like strategy, marketing, accounting and finance, legal, and technology/data services.
The SL@100 platform is building an ecosystem of trusted vendors and partners who can provide such services and also bring innovative ideas to the table to help mid-market firms grow. Further, the ecosystem will include general business interest organisations such as industry bodies, banks, chambers, state-affiliated organisations, and training/ professional skill building institutions.
Sri Lanka@100 is now accepting applications from mid-sized firms that are seeking support for rapid growth. You can find the eligibility criteria, application process, and deadlines on the SL@100 website (www.srilanka100.lk) and via Facebook (srilanka.at.100) or LinkedIn (srilanka100). If your organisation is interested in joining the SL@100 ecosystem, you can find out more by calling +94-771-638-128, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.