Accelerating its strong support for the Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) sector in Sri Lanka, Pan Asia Bank partnered with the Institute of Chartered Professional Managers of Sri Lanka’s practical programme titled, ‘We support you to achieve your business goals’ to upskill 500 entrepreneurs from all over the country. The inaugural event was held on 17th January 2024 at the BMICH in Colombo with the participation of hundreds of entrepreneurs at different stages in their journey. On the occasion, the partnership was officially announced by exchanging a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mr Naleen Edirisinghe, CEO of Pan Asia Bank, and Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala, Founder & President of CPM Sri Lanka, after which both addressed the participants and shared their views on SME development and the importance of SMEs to the economy.
The overall programme is designed in a way that the participants are divided into groups based on the business objective and the stage of growth in their entrepreneurial journey. Separate programmes have been designed for each group and will be conducted this year at the CPM Sri Lanka by Dr Ravi Bamunusinghe (PhD), who is the founder of SLSME an entrepreneur, SME business coach and a visiting faculty member of the Postgraduate Institute of Management and University of Sri Jayawardenapura. Pan Asia Bank is synonymous with SME banking and is committed to empowering SMEs to reach their full potential by helping them to overcome economic challenges by providing financial solutions and ongoing technical training by way of SME and financial management workshops.
Explaining Pan Asia Bank’s significant contribution to the growth of SMEs as the backbone of the economy, Nimal R Ratnayake, Assistant General Manager – Branch Credit, provided insights to the participants about the services that the Bank provides to meet their business needs. In its interaction with SMEs, Pan Asia Bank elaborated on how to develop the right character traits to become a successful entrepreneur coupled with a detailed explanation about better financial management and banking, including working capital, asset management, profitability and cash flow, usage of digital payment solutions, and provided practical exposure to assessing the working capital gap and understanding funding requirements.
Participants were also advised about the risks of improper use of credit. Commenting further, Nimal Rathnayake said, “Pan Asia Bank is pleased to partner with CPM Sri Lanka’s valuable SME development programme as SMEs form a critical part of the national economy and need to be empowered with the technical knowledge to enhance their businesses to the next stage of growth. We are proud of our efforts to initiate such valuable and practical opportunities for our SME customer base and to strengthen the SME sector.” Representing CPM Sri Lanka, Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala Founder and President, Mr Gayan Gunawardana, Chairman of CPM Sri Lanka SME Development Committee, Dr. Samantha Rathnayake, the Governing Council Member and Mr. Dilshan Arsakularathna, Director addressed the gathering.
As a Truly Sri Lankan bank, Pan Asia Bank is committed to uplifting the SME business community to ensure their financial sustainability. An active business partner for entrepreneurs, Pan Asia Bank is always at the forefront of supporting the Sri Lankan business community to move forward. As a key initiative, the Bank recently held the latest session in a series of workshops on ‘SMEs and Financial Management to enhance financial literacy to better manage small businesses.’