Dr. Sulochana Segera

ENTERPRISE SRI LANKA A clarion call for entrepreneurs with a futuristic approach to business

Entrepreneurship today

Though many have studied it, they have not understood how to execute entrepreneurship practically through new ideas.

Barriers to entrepreneurial growth in Sri Lanka

Lack of knowledge in state administration – in terms of mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs, to compete locally and regionally – and providing access to global markets.

The future of local entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs who embrace technology will create a market for graduates in this country.

Strengths of local entrepreneurship

Availability of vast resources; access to finance is easier than in other countries; and the private and government support system.

Weaknesses of local entrepreneurship

Lack of financial management and low technological know-how together with an unwillingness to learn.

Sri Lanka’s low financial literacy rate

We have one of the lowest rates in South Asia, which has limited our creativity and innovation.

Main threats to entrepreneurship

Policy changes and microfinancing mismanagement as there aren’t permanent policies for entre-preneurs in this country.

Factors for entrepreneurial development

An entrepreneur’s success or failure depends on the political agenda.

Local entrepreneurship in a nutshell

Entrepreneurship is a hobby and part-time job in Sri Lanka. Many don’t consider it their livelihood and anyone who does is hardly respected.

Millennial trend

Being an entrepreneur has become a trend among millennials but its focus is on earning for themselves rather than providing jobs for others.

Global entrepreneurship in a nutshell

A lifestyle for many, and revolves around solving problems and earning respect for their own personal branding.

Prospective customer segments

Professional services for international markets, IT and tech, and healthy traditional food.

Evolving consumer trends or behaviours

Consumers want to experience brands before purchasing them, are more impatient, and seek product and service personalisation and authenticity.

Productivity is affecting industrial and economic growth

Very much so – Sri Lanka is home to an ageing population, which directly affects productivity and economic growth.

Changes in national productivity

Prior to 1983, the most productive population was in the north but due to the war, many locals have begun to depend on funds and facilities.

Corruption is affecting industrial and economic growth

Very much so – but we tend to view corruption through a political lens, which is not the big picture.

This detrimental effect can be stopped by

Individuals should stop bribing and encouraging corruption to further their personal and business agendas.

The future of global entrepreneurship

There will be fewer human employees and more employers using technology to solve problems.

Competition drives innovation

It depends… I would say competition drives improvements in innovation.

Sri Lanka’s competitiveness

Slow in the recent past due to non-tradable sectors such as construction and real estate, which are unsustainable and unequitable with economic activities focussed on domestic demand.

Impact of the digital age on Sri Lanka

Even though Sri Lanka lays claim to being the first country in Asia to have internet connectivity, we continue to be more backward than other nations.

Technological value addition in Sri Lanka

Although many people in Sri Lanka use mobile phones, we are merely consumers and not creating additional value for ourselves or the economy.

Changes in social media use

More or less a lifestyle. Initially, social media was used to build friendships but now, it’s more about media, news, businesses and branding.

Impact of social media on the world at large

Both negative and positive. As social media connects people, I wouldn’t refer to its impact as creating a global village but rather, transcending nationalities.

Significance of Sri Lankan entrepreneurship in five years’ time

There will be fewer three wheeler drivers and more technology led business drivers, and corporates will have entrepreneurial job descriptions rather than designated descriptions.

The business landscape for women in five years’ time

More women will be entrepreneurs and men will be employees.

Mantra for success

There are no problems without solutions; work towards self-satisfaction and your bills will be paid on time.

– Compiled by Lashani Ramanayake

Entrepreneurs who embrace technology will create a market for graduates in this country

Sulochana is the Founder and Chairperson of Women in Management