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Lankan SMEs to take part in Swiss event

Sri Lanka's SMEs will take part in a leading SME event of global scale in Switzerland in June 2014.

"Sri Lanka SMEs need technical skills for it to advance. Your food processing, water bottling, dairy and livestock, and packaging are some of the SME sub-sectors that engaged our immediate interest," said New Delhi based Senior Consultant of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE), Beat Ineichen, when he paid a courtesy call on Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen recently.

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen greets Senior Consultant of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE), Beat Ineichen.

Ineichen also witnessed two special presentations of the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) and the EDB on Lankan SMEs and the forthcoming 'Reflection of Sri Lanka' - the trade, tourism and investment exposition being held parallel to CHOGM.

SGE, an entity operating under the Swiss government, is Switzerland's centre of excellence for internationalisation and is involved in exports, imports and investments (to Switzerland) and works closely with Swiss SMEs.

In 2012, Sri Lanka received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) totalling $ 14.46 million from Switzerland.

"I have 17 years of SME experience in Asia alone with four in Malaysia.

I am here on a fact-finding mission as a follow up to the recent visit of Regional Director, Asia Pacific of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE), Wolfgang Schanzenbach," he said.

"I am now hopeful that we can collaborate closely with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka can immensely benefit from the innovative side of Swiss SME, which is more than 95% of the Swiss economy, except for the bog-boys such as Nestle and Holcim," Ineichen said.

"We invite Sri Lankan SMEs to the Asia Pacific SME event in Switzerland in June 2014. We will provide more details in due course.

A Swiss business delegation of ten firms will arrive in Sri Lanka for CHOGM biz forum led by the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Committee of the Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC), Mark Dangel. Dangel co-founded Zurich's Swiss merchant bank A and A Actienbank," he said.

Minister Bathiudeen said, "We are encouraged by SGE's follow up after my meeting with SGEs' Regional Director, Asia Pacific, Wolfgang Schanzenbach in Colombo last month. SGE's keenness can be a win-win situation for SMEs on both sides."

"The National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) has launched an international level initiative to link our SMEs to global markets through the web portal sme.lk. Our SMEs need support. I call upon the SGE to focus on the SME sector in the North and the East."

Minister Bathiudeen and Consultant Ineichen also discussed Sri Lanka's SME outlook, the need for new SME data and NEDA's many initiatives for the SME sector.

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