The Government will strive to promote entrepreneurship among youth by initiating a shift in credit accessibility in the form of seed capital for them to launch new businesses and startups, former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed.

Sri Lanka’s youth population of 4.64 million or 23.2 percent of the total population are the change makers steering the country towards a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem and vigorous economic growth.

The need of the present era is to augment the ease of doing business which was one of the priorities of the then government in 2016’s where regular business forums were held for solving problems of entrepreneurs, he disclosed.

He noted as the finance minister at that time he took measures of creating one million jobs with public private partnerships (PPPs.) removing restrictions to ensure that the private sector plays a pivotal role in economic development.

"However, successive governments turned the whole procedure upside down and introduced short sighted policies pushing the country into an economic abyss," he claimed, adding that the time has come to unleash the youth entrepreneurial skills, eliminating bureaucratic red tape, reducing roadblocks, and enabling young entrepreneurs to successfully establish and operate their ventures.

The measures undertaken have involved significant reductions in the number of mandatory licenses and permits, fostering a more business-friendly environment and curtailing bureaucratic obstacles

“Sri Lankan youth have frequently been the focus of public attention for the ‘wrong’ reasons. I believe it is because we, as a society, often fail to recognise them for the ‘right’ reasons” he said, adding that "we have to obtain a positive contribution from them to society."

President Ranil Wickremasinghe has placed trust in youth to lead throughout his long political journey and he is committed to provide technical support, subsidies, financial assistance, and other services to mark their presence in the business domain, he opined.

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe having a chat with students during an observation tour at the Ratmalana Lalith Athulathmudali Vocational Training Centre.


"The President has directed to establish regional youth centres in each divisional secretariat division in a bid to empower the youth population. The aim is to nurture promising entrepreneurs through these centres and to involve bank executives and trade board members in the process.

Sri Lanka has seen an uprising of youth consequent to an economic crisis which has plunged a large section of the population into poverty and economic hardships.

The government should take measures to prevent the occurrence of such struggles in the future," Mr Karunanayake said, adding that youths are not just having the courage and ambition to strive for something big but also forging a vibrant economic future.

Karunanayake observed that the government is considering the empowerment of at least one million budding young entrepreneurs by providing seed capital for innovative startups in urban areas and business ventures in rural areas in the country. He pointed out that the simplification of business processes and development of a conducive entrepreneurial environment is essential to the thriving spirit of young entrepreneurs in the island nation.

"Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector is rife with business/investment opportunities and the government is in the process of developing and upgrading the agriculture industry to be on par with global standards. Foreign businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in the country's agriculture sector as the government is to make a business ecosystem in place," he disclosed.

He also noted that farmers are expected to become competitive and transform from subsistence farming to commercially oriented agribusiness focusing on ‘Public-Private-Producer-Partnerships.’

"It is expected to improve income of rural farmers and facilitate commercial partnerships, access to finance, knowledge transfer and mechanization. Another aim of this initiative is to attract youth into commercial agriculture," he added.

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