‘’Sri Lanka Go Digital’’ Empowers Entrepreneurs with Knowledge on Digitizing SME Sector

‘’Sri Lanka Go Digital”, a Digital Transformation and Adoption Program organised by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has enlightened and empowered around 253 entrepreneurs from regional SMEs with a wealth of knowledge on the importance of embracing digital technologies to uplift their businesses. Conducted for the second consecutive year, this year’s program was carried out together with the Export Development Board (EDB) across the Central and Western Provinces.

Among the participants were about 30 development & regional officers of EDB attached to the regions, with the capability of sending this message across to a wider entrepreneur’s community at the grass roots level. The program exposed the participants to new technologies, also enabling them to identify and meet relevant ICT companies and explore new avenues which can be incorporated into their businesses. IT SME’s were provided with an opportunity to enhance their domestic market and thereby cater to the demands of non-tech industries through the valuable knowledge they gained from the program.

The Sri Lanka Go Digital program is instrumental in bridging national level initiatives of the government, building digital economic and National Exports strategies region-wise to promote digital transformation of SME’s, in turn enhancing national exports. The program also acts as a platform for regional development through digitization and links the regional businesses with global organizations by enabling local IT companies to reach global standards whilst remaining on par with the latest trends of technology.  The program will also support the digitizing of businesses across all regions and act as a catalyst for the digital transformation of SME’s in the country and also complements with ICTA’s conceptualized and managed LEAP Sri Lanka program, which works on sourcing, building the capacity and scaling up of regional SME digital solution providers.

The ‘’Sri Lanka Go Digital’’ program which was conducted in 2018 was also rolled out  across four regions, covering the Eastern, Southern, North-Western and Northern provinces and had helped equip 520 entrepreneurs with much needed knowledge on how to apply digital technologies into their work approach. A highlight of the program was the great level of interest shown by female participants, where about 115 female participants took part and were mentored by industry experts. Over 15 differently-abled individuals too were present at the program and were also educated on these new trends in digital technologies and were also given the opportunity to learn on how to incorporate these aspects into their businesses.

This year’s program was heightened to even greater levels through the inclusion of captivating training sessions, where participants received hands-on guidance on how to adopt business tools associated with Facebook and Google. The sessions were carried out in partnership with Facebook and Google business groups and were proved worthy by the attendees who applauded and shared their comments during each session. With the focus of expanding more opportunities for the development of IT companies in Sri Lanka, over 20 IT Companies were given opportunities to connect with regional SME’s and forge new business ventures.

This continuous program also includes follow-ups to ensure that all initiatives are carried out as planned and these follow-ups will further facilitate essential dissemination of knowledge and guidance. Another aspect to this program is the concept of multi stakeholder engagement which helps generate continuity and sustainability in business ventures. Programs connect with regional business chambers, business stakeholder forums/associations representing construction, hospitality, ICT and automobile sectors, District Secretariats, NGO’s such as World University Service of Canada (WUSC), etc. New trends in technology have presented a great opportunity for Sri Lankan businesses to grow, become more efficient, and expand their market reach.  At present, more and more businesses tend to adopt digital technology in moving forward to stay competitive in their own industries. The order of the day is that the fourth industrial revolution demands every business to be digitized and this initiative will bode well for the future of the tech and tech enabled industries by supporting the National Digital Economic Strategy, and driving the Digital Transformation of SME’s and Digital adoption at regional level.

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