Virtual Institute Knowledge System

VI for Technologies for SMEs and Rural Enterprises

VI for Technologies for SMEs and Rural Enterprises

 

Introduction

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been identified as an important strategic sector for promoting economic growth and social development of Sri Lanka. Over the years, SMEs have gained wide recognition as a major source of employment, income generation, poverty alleviation and regional development. Having understood the positive impact of SMEs development and economic growth, successive governments in Sri Lanka have taken various steps to develop this vital sector. However, when analyzing the present contribution of this sector to the national economy, it seems that it has not yet produced desired results when compared with the other developed and developing countries in the region. It is important to note that there are vast opportunities for Sri Lanka to develop this sector, thereby harnessing the benefits deriving from it.

With the advent of the open economy, however, these SMEs in Sri Lanka were gradually put into the acid test in the market place, where they were compelled to compete with imports. The influx of foreign goods which are manufactured using automated processes and advanced manufacturing technology to give standardized and consistent quality at minimum cost has increased the competition in the local market as well as in the export markets. In the absence of industrial automation technology inputs, particularly through mechatronics, the local SME sector is facing a huge challenge in meeting this competition. In this scenario, many local SMEs are fighting for survival, not to mention remaining profitable. The advanced technologies have an important role in strengthening the competitiveness of our SMEs. It is a well-known fact that new basic technologies will not only lead to fundamental changes in their level of technological capability, but a new SME will emerge and existing ones will change their profile rather than enhancing their level of technological capability. Therefore, special programmes to develop technologies particularly to this sector and to take that technology to the villages and SMEs are essential for Sri Lanka.

COSTI has established the VI for Technologies for SMEs and Rural Enterprises with the following goal:

“To establish an efficient system to facilitate STI intervention for the SMEs and Rural Enterprises to contribute towards increasing the per capita GDP in an equitable manner by increasing the productivity and the profitability of the SMEs and Rural Enterprises in Sri Lanka.”

The Objectives of the VI are to:

• Generate a platform for the stakeholders in the existing network to identify the gaps in the current STI intervention system;

• Analyse the value chain process of the major SMEs and Rural Enterprises in Sri Lanka

• Cluster SMEs for easy STI intervention;

• Develop a mechanism to promote linkages among R&D institutions, universities, and SMEs and Rural Enterprises

• Facilitate to create a comprehensive database on SMEs including STI and all the other business supportive information.

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