The Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) is the national body for Standards formulation and regulating SLS certification. Understanding the importance of its role, the organization has been hard at work to support and promote SMEs and entrepreneurialism in Sri Lanka, with SMEs making up the backbone of the nation’s economy. Accordingly, SLSI has conducted a large number of awareness programmes, workshops and training sessions for more than 1,000 small and medium scale entrepreneurs from September 2021 to September 2022. These programmes were conducted with a view to developing Sri Lanka’s SME sector, thus helping to strengthen the overall national economy.
The primary objectives of these various programmes were to guide and help entrepreneurs to produce and deliver high-quality products and services to Sri Lankan consumers, empowering them to gain trust and recognition in the market. There was also an emphasis on educating entrepreneurs on the importance of quality and standardization, not just for consumer safety but also for improved business performance. Through these various sessions and programmes, SMEs were also made aware of the importance of manufacturing products and delivering services in line with international quality standards, and how meeting these standards could help them to win over international customers, expanding their markets and reach.
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. (Mrs) Siddika G Senaratne – Director General / Chief Executive Officer at the Sri Lanka Standards Institution said, “We are dedicated to improving the quality of life of our entrepreneurs and consumers alike. By ensuring high-quality goods and services that people can trust, businesses can make a name for themselves amongst consumers, and for Sri Lanka, as a reputed destination of origin in the international market. Particularly with the present challenges we are experiencing, creating high-quality exportable goods and services that comply with international standards is one of the best ways we can capture international markets and ensure long-term economic prosperity and stability for Sri Lanka. At SLSI, we intend to continue this movement to support our SMEs and ensure sustainable, robust growth in the future.”
The various workshops, trainings and awareness programmes conducted by SLSI covered areas including systems certification, which is important to entrepreneurs. This included systems certifications such as Vidatha, GMP, ISO 9001, ISO 22000, HACCP, SLS Product and Organic Certifications and others. Areas such as the required testing, standardization, import inspections and other crucial requirements were also covered.
SLSI targeted primarily small and medium scale entrepreneurs involved in industries such as food, agriculture, textiles and apparel during the past year. However, going forward, the target audience is expected to be widened to include other industries that could benefit from such programmes. Aiding SLSI in this initiative were the relevant District Secretariats across the island, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Division (SEDD), the Department of Export Agriculture and the Department of Samurdhi Development, along with many volunteers from local areas.