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Hatton National Bank drives development of over 500 SMEs

Hatton National Bank (HNB), the premier private sector commercial bank in Sri Lanka, has fuelled the development of over 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) island wide through the provision of training in 2013, contributing towards achieving national economic goals.

This programme was initiated by the Project Division of HNB with the assistance of the regional SME Units set up specifically for this purpose by the Bank and have benefitted enterprises engaged in tourism, agriculture, health care, construction, fisheries, furniture, apparel and beauty care, among others.

The plan was initiated by HNB by entering in to an agreement with the Government in 2011 to participate in the Line Of Credit Small & Medium Enterprise Development Facility Project (SMEDeF). Under the SMEDeF Credit line special emphasis is given to address constraints faced by SMEs in the country such as a lack of competitive advantage over large companies, insufficient knowledge, lack of financial discipline and formal business plans, marketing constraints, lack of cutting-edge technology and inability to retain skilled human resources.

Training programmes have been conducted in areas such as Ratnapura, Gampola, Embilipitiya, Matale, Trincomalee, Buttala, Medawachchiya, Jaffna and Kilinochchi by renowned consultants in all three languages with regard to these issues and capacity building and Environmental Friendly entrepreneurship. Additionally, the bank has trained around 90 Branch Managers, Executives, Junior Executives selected from all regions of the country to provide the services to SMEs.

When providing financial assistance, HNB considers the project viability, technical feasibility, cash flow feasibility and market potential of the ventures of SMEs instead of focusing on the asset security alone. The Bank also assists and guides entrepreneurs through the project without interruption by allowing adjustable repayment schemes and settlement offers.

In keeping with the Government vision of developing the SME segment of Sri Lanka, HNB plans to continue its support of SMEs in 2014 and the first phase of this plan will be to continue the training sessions in areas which have not been covered thus far.

Pictures show training sessions conducted in Kilinochchi & Rathnapura

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