SMEs at the forefront: HNB launches a Transformation Programme for global and local markets

HNB PLC, a cornerstone in Sri Lanka’s banking industry, continues to champion the cause of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) collaborating with DEVPRO and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for the launch of their SME Transformation and Market Access Program.

Conducted at the HNB Towers, the programme specifically targeted SME and Business Banking customers, focusing on those engaged in manufacturing and aspiring to tap into international markets.

The initiative was jointly organised by DEVPRO and HNB, with the participation of an impressive 40 SME customers from both organizations across both days of the programme.

“Through this initiative, we are striving to help Sri Lanka’s SMEs realize their fullest potential. In today’s digital age, even small companies can join global value chains more efficiently, thanks to lowered barriers on digital platforms. The potential for participation has expanded through increased modularization and reduced communication costs, opening new possibilities for businesses of all sizes.

“Emphasizing the importance of connecting Sri Lanka’s SMEs to global value chains, upgrading business models, and adopting environmentally and socially responsible practices, our programme aligns with the vision for a more sustainable and inclusive economic landscape. We believe that empowering SMEs with these capabilities is pivotal not only for their success but also for the overall economic resilience and progress of Sri Lanka,” commented HNB DGM – SME and Microfinance, Rajive Dissanayake.

Facilitated by Upul Dassanayake of ‘Business Boost 360’, the programme provided a platform for SMEs to delve into in-depth discussions and analyses aimed at catalyzing strategic growth. Participants included businesses specializing in spices, coconut, cocoa, bag manufacturing, brush manufacturing, seafood, tea and batik, amongst others.

Ceremonially Opened by HNB DGM – SME and Microfinance, Rajive Dissanayake, the event was graced by notable personnel including the Chamber of Commerce – Head of Centre for SME Unit, Yasura Samarakoon, DEVPRO Executive Director, Tilak Karunaratne, and DEVPRO Programme Manager, Mohamed Shafeer.

Panelists for the program included several of HNB’s senior management, including Head of Trade, Rozanne De Almeida, Senior Manager – Foreign Exchange, Vajira Abeysundara, Head of SME Products and Partnerships, N. Kethiswaran, Head of Refinancing Schemes and Lending Products, Bandara Rekogama, Solutions Manager – PCM, Prasanna De Silva, and Senior Manager – Business Banking, Jude Pillai.

Key focus areas of the programme encompassed export audit and strategic analysis, competency analysis, value chain analysis, financial analysis, product analysis, market analysis (including market research), finding buyers, and inbound and outbound marketing strategies with a comprehensive sales funnel approach.

Consolidating its legacy in sustainability, good governance and corporate excellence, HNB was crowned the Best Corporate Citizen for 2022 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Awards. HNB was also ranked among the World’s Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for the sixth consecutive year in 2022. This accolade accompanied HNB being recognized as the Best Bank for SMEs at the Asiamoney Awards 2023, in addition to being crowned the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 13th occasion at the prestigious International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards 2023 hosted by the Asian Banker Magazine.

HNB Senior Manager – Business Banking, Jude Pillai (seated), interacting with attendees of the Transformation Programme

Members of HNB’s management together with participants of the SME Transformation Programme

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