Aadhayam 2017: National Trade FairJul 11, 2017
Promoting Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth for Sri Lankan SMEs
16 July 2017, Colombo: Aadhayam 2017, a national trade fair organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (Colombo) on the 14, 15 and 16 of July, 2017 from 10am – 7pm. The three-day trade fair showcased over 200 entrepreneurs, producer groups and organizations from ten selected districts of the country; namely Ampara, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Monaragala, Mullativu, Puttalam and Vavuniya.
The primary objective of Aadhayam 2017 was to create a favorable platform for Sri Lankan small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to promote them further and enable them to connect with larger markets and expand business partnerships for national and international trade.
These entrepreneurs and producers have been supported by UNDP in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka, under the Governance for Local Economic Development programme, through projects funded by the Government of Canada, the European Union and the Government of Norway. Furthermore, UNDP has also partnered with government counterparts at both the local and national level, such as the National Design Centre (NDC), Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and Industrial Services Bureau (ISB) to ensure the sustainability of these producers.
The aim of UNDP Sri Lanka was to see these SME businesses expand, fostering innovation, employment, skill development and local enterprise. As SMEs contribute significantly to Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product, this sector has a lot of potential in promoting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Speaking about this Trade Fair, Ms. Lovita Ramguttee, Country Director a.i., UNDP Sri Lanka stated, “The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. As Sri Lanka aspires to become a higher middle income country, we believe that Small and Medium Enterprises and entrepreneurs present an important opportunity to develop the existing potential in the country. However, it’s no longer enough to simply enable someone to produce more - we also need to make sure their products are competitive and that they have access to national and international markets so entrepreneurs can sustain their businesses., it is only through the strong collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka and the commitment from our development partners that we are able to support the people of Sri Lanka to ensure that we can achieve sustainable development together.”
From local artisan crafts to traditional spices, palymyrah, coir, batik as well as traditional food items, ‘Aadhayam 2017’ brought together diverse local entrepreneurs to celebrate Sri Lankan industries and promote sustainable development and inclusive growth.
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