IFC and Dialog Telekom Help Small Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka Develop Business Skills
Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Dialog Telekom PLC have joined forces to help strengthen the business skills of Dialog Telekom’s retail distributors in Sri Lanka. This will help them build a track record of creditworthiness by using the IFC SME Toolkit, an advisory product implemented in more than 25 countries worldwide.
IFC will provide $250,000 to support Dialog Telekom’s Distributor-Retailer Community Network project, which looks at strengthening the skills of the Company retail and distributor network. This follows an IFC investment in September 2007 to help the company expand its network and build new telecommunications infrastructure. The $100 million financing package included long-term debt and equity.
IFC and Dialog Telekom have also signed an agreement for the IFC SME Toolkit, an online resource designed to serve the needs of small and medium enterprises in developing and frontier markets. A version of the toolkit is being customized to meet Dialog Telekom’s needs and will be available in two local languages, Sinhala and Tamil. This effort is also helping to further strengthen the distributor-retailer community network itself.
Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, Director and Chief Executive, Dialog Telekom said, “At Dialog Telekom we have always been committed to fostering entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka, specially in the SME sectors. We feel that our own retailers and distributors play a vital role in our Company achieving the goals of its triple bottom-line, and our Distributor Retailer Community Network seeks to provide our retailers and distributors with the necessary tools to achieve their goals. By assisting in the design and implementation of this innovative project, IFC has demonstrated its understanding of Dialog’s business needs and showcased its expertise in ensuring the well-being of the small and medium enterpreneurs that drive Dialog’s distribution network.”
Gilles Galludec, IFC Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, said, “This innovative program will help build capacities of small businesses in Sri Lanka and bring them into the formal banking sector, thus creating better linkages between SMEs and banks. IFC is keen to strengthen its partnership with Dialog and support the program.”
The IFC SME Toolkit (www.smetoolkit.com) leverages the latest information and communication technologies to help SMEs learn and implement sustainable business management practices. It offers free business management information and training on accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, marketing and sales, operations, and information technology. It also offers a wide range of resources to help users start, finance, formalize, and grow their businesses.
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