In a bid to support the national agenda and implement measures to boost growth in this sector, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to help local SMEs with access to funds, technology, and the technical know-how to expand their enterprises.
Over 50 workshops have been held to uplift local SMEs in the last two years either directly by Microsoft or through its partner eco-system, engaging over 500+ businesses and featuring esteemed guest speakers who delivered dynamic Q&A sessions that touched on all key aspects of digitalization and digital transformation.
SMEs account for more than 75% of the total number of enterprises in Sri Lanka, provides 45% of the employment and contributes to 52% of the Gross Domestic Production They also promote broad-based equitable development and provide more opportunity for female and youth participation in the economic development of the country.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has identified SMEs as a strategic sector in the Government’s overall policy objectives. The vast majority of SMEs are believed to be a driver of change for inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation, and poverty reduction.
An imperative for digital innovation in Sri Lanka has helped small and medium enterprises (SMEs) realize that they must embrace digital transformation to engage with their key stakeholders to maintain relevance, reach new customers and drive the conversation. However, few realize how fast the change needs to happen, or how transformational it needs to be.
In 2018, Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure, and Foreign Employment. The MoU is the realization of the country’s e-Government Policy and plans for Digital Transformation.
In the same year, Microsoft then partnered with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to help SMEs in over seven vertical markets discover the importance of trust, security, and compliance.
Partnerships with the Government of Sri Lanka have allowed the software company to ‘foster small enterprises to grow into medium-sized enterprises and medium-sized enterprises to grow into large enterprises and large enterprises to grow into globally competitive enterprises’.
With the Ministry of Industry and Commerce stating that the SME sector is a hotbed for growth and development, Microsoft also believes that enhancing national and international competitiveness will be necessary to ensure success.
In 2019, Microsoft welcomed PickMe, the taxi-hailing app developed and maintained by Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., and software vendor Linear Squared (Pvt) Ltd. to the ScaleUp program. ScaleUp is an immersive program with sales, marketing, and technical support, helping startups hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.