Vision of Chairperson for 2017-2018
To continue to raise awareness of the Chamber’s aims and services to increase and widen its membership and to disseminate information so that it reaches individuals outside the Metropolis, even at the grass roots level where women entrepreneurs need the most help. Strength of numbers would enable the Chamber to become a truly representative body so that its voice could be heard and heeded on issues connected with the empowerment of women in the economic and social spheres. In other words, we need to market our services widely.
Extend and strengthen the relationships the Chamber has with societies, institutions and groups with similar views and aims, as well as with government, semi-government and private enterprises and institutions. Through such relationships, networks, and working with like-minded organizations, the Chamber could be of help to women whether their enterprises are formal or informal, by enabling them to overcome obstacles to developing their businesses and ensuring the progress and sustainability of their ventures
To ensure that the Chamber becomes a storehouse of information on those areas of economic activity where there are openings for women entrepreneurs to move in and do business on a sustainable basis. The Chamber would also have the capacity to nurture and mentor those who seek its assistance. Thus to strengthen its ability to mentor and nurture women entrepreneurs to set up and develop their businesses
Efforts at entrepreneurship development among would-be women entrepreneurs and school leavers/college graduates. This would involve fostering interest in entrepreneurship, especially in the light of many young entrants to the labour force being keen to work for themselves after gaining some work experience, instead of working for or under others. Discussions and talks on the subject – such as on setting up a business, the requirements for doing so, the pitfalls to be avoided, and on managing a business including its human resources, would offer needed know-how and information to these individuals. These young women, should they venture to be entrepreneurs even at a later date, would then be aware that they could turn to the Chamber for the necessary nurturing, mentoring and guidance on a continuing basis, to get them started and to ensure their ventures are sustainable.
Enhancing the capability of women in Information Technology which would be a valuable asset to them by promotion of IT Careers for Women. Aligning Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka, the unified Association for the IT Industry set up as early as 1992, which covers all activities in the IT sector including hardware, software, education and training, professional and communication. It has a programme called ‘Women in IT Forum’ set up purely to encourage women to select IT as a career as well as to recognize women who have already developed careers in IT and entrepreneurship. The response of the Association has been positive
To act as one voice of women entrepreneurs at every juncture for which purpose too the networks established and work done with other women’s organizations and chambers would be useful. This would also require members to be vigilant and stay informed of what happens in the country politically and economically to ensure the Chamber’s interventions are timely and meaningful. To be of practical assistance to women entrepreneurs, the Chamber would need to maintain a close dialogue with government, non-government and financial institutions and banks to enable those in authority in such bodies to have a clear understanding and appreciation of the work and objectives of the Chamber. It would be important to follow up on projects, on individuals who have been assisted by the Chamber, and on other activities carried out by it as it would enable the Chamber to gain information and feedback on the effectiveness of its interventions and activities.