SME Access to Finance Program

The program on “SME Access to Finance” was successfully organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), representing the Confederation of Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) as a focal point in Sri Lanka with the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) & International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Sri Lanka & with the assistance of the Confederation of Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) at Taj Samudra, Colombo on March 26th 2011.

The welcome remarks, on behalf of FCCISL were delivered by Mr. Tissa Jayaweera, President and the welcome remarks on behalf of CACCI were also delivered by a representative of FCCISL. Keynote address on SME Sector and its Policy was delivered by Mr. L.G. Perera, Consultant, DFCC Vardhana Bank.

In the background where economic and social importance of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector has been well recognized, this program was attended by 40 participants representing the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs, Bank Officials, Advisors and Consultants & Public and Private Officials assisting the SMEs. The program was conducted in both English & Sinhala languages and the methodology consisted of presentations and structured discussions. The participants highly evaluated the importance and usefulness of this capacity enhancement program.

One of the critical elements for SME survival and growth is access to finance. Surveys have revealed that SMEs have difficulty in borrowing from formal channels of credit in view of their inability to present bankable proposals due to limited knowledge and skills in financial management and operational governance. Many financial providers consider SME financing as a high risk activity that generates high transaction costs and/or low returns on investment.

Moreover, SMEs need to meet the challenge of adapting to changing financial environment and increasing complexity and extent of financial reporting. Improvement of access to finance of Small and Medium Enterprises is crucial in fostering entrepreneurship, competition, innovation and growth.

In this context, the objective of this program was to provide SMEs and Officials assisting SMEs with an overview of the required knowledge and skills in financial management, and introduces new technology that would help them organize and systematize their business processes, which help them enhance their financial and operational efficiency, and consequently their bankability resulting sustainability and competitiveness.

Six foreign professional speakers made very comprehensive and practical presentations followed by discussions during this timely one-day program, namely Ms. Corazon D. Conde Senior Vice President, Head of the SME Department, Development Bank of the Philippines, Ms. Arlene S Orencia ,Senior Assistant Vice President – Head, Account Management Unit, Corporate Banking, Development Bank of the Philippines. Mr. Eka Mardlarti, Sales Director and Mr. Scot Sproule, Director of EStorm Technologies Pte Ltd, Cecille M Ibarra, Head of Training and Advocacy Unit of the Association Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) Consulting (AC) and Mr. Dinesh Fernandopullai, Managing Director and CEO of Synapsys.

Five resource persons from Sri Lanka Mr. K H S Jayantha, Deputy Director, Industrial Development Board, Mr. Thusitha Nakandala, Senior Manager Development Banking, Sampath Bank, Mr. Thushara Asuramanna, Manager – Risk, SME, National Development Bank, Mr Chandima Alwis, Branch Manager, National Development Bank and Mr. Wickrama Narayana, Chief Manager – SME Development Unit, People’s Bank facilitated SME participants in Sinhala language and presented their experiences on these subject areas in the Sri Lankan context.

The subject areas covered during this program include Business Planning (Roadmap for the business to convince banks that the planned activities and transactions for which they are borrowing will yield adequate returns that will enable the business to repay the loan – Business Model , Marketing Plan, Technical Plan, Organizational Plan, Financial Plan) Financial Management for SMEs (Tools and techniques to help SMEs prepare, maintain and analyze financial statements required by banks- Accounting for Non-Accountants Basic Record Keeping, Preparation of basic Financial Statements) Web –Based Operational Management (Operational technology to enhance the financial and operational efficiency of SMEs Success – SME Customer Relationship Management Tool, “Green” Data Center Services & Live Demonstration), Mobile Banking Platform – MBANK & SME Lending & Best Practices in the Philippines (Basic concepts & principles on risk based lending to SMEs and a walk through on the process of applying for a SME loan in the Philippine setting., Overview on Risk based SME Lending Principles, Guidelines for SMEs on How to Approach Lenders)

At the end of the program certificates were awarded to participants by Ms. Corazon D. Conde – Senior Vice President – Head of the SME Department, Development Bank of the Philippines, Mr. Tissa Jayaweera, President & Dr Thusitha Tennakoon, Secretary General of FCCISL.