ECONOMYNEXT – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will hold a trade fair in Sri Lanka this week aiming to promote small businesses in outlying districts of the island.
The three-day ‘Aadhayam 2017: National Trade Fair’ will showcase over 200 entrepreneurs, producer groups and organizations from ten selected districts of the country, a statement said.
“The primary objective of Aadhayam 2017 is to create a favorable platform for Sri Lankan small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to promote them further and enable them to connect with larger markets and expand business partnerships for national and international trade.”
From local artisan crafts to traditional spices, palymyrah, coir, batik as well as traditional food items, ‘Aadhayam 2017’ will bring together diverse local entrepreneurs to celebrate Sri Lankan industries and promote sustainable development and inclusive growth, the UNDP said.
They are from the districts of Ampara, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Monaragala, Mullativu, Puttalam and Vavuniya.
These entrepreneurs and producers have been supported by UNDP in collaboration with the government of Sri Lanka, under the Governance for Local Economic Development programme, through projects funded by Canada, European Union and Norway.
UNDP said it has also partnered with government counterparts at both the local and national level, such as the National Design Centre (NDC), Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and Industrial Services Bureau (ISB) to ensure the sustainability of these producers.
“The aim of UNDP Sri Lanka is to see these SME businesses expand, fostering innovation, employment, skill development and local enterprise,” the agency said. “As SMEs contribute significantly to Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product, this sector has a lot of potential in promoting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.”
Lovita Ramguttee, Country Director, UNDP Sri Lanka said that Sri Lanka aspires to become a higher middle income country, SMEs and entrepreneurs present an important opportunity to develop the existing potential in the country.
“However, it’s no longer enough to simply enable someone to produce more – we also need to make sure their products are competitive and that they have access to national and international markets so entrepreneurs can sustain their businesses,” she said.
The trade fair will be held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (Colombo) on the 14, 15 and 16 of July, 2017 from 10am – 7pm.
(COLOMBO, July 11, 2017)