Sampath Bank PLC
At Sampath Bank, Micro, Small & Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) development is underpinned by “Sampath Saviya”, an Entrepreneurship Development Programme launched in 2013 to offer technical and financial assistance to start-ups as well as existing business ventures that lack the resources to start or expand their business.
INTRODUCTIONSampath Bank believes that social development is a process of empowering individuals and groups within communities in a manner that will enable them to challenge real and perceived limitations to improve their livelihoods. At Sampath Bank, Micro, Small & Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) development is underpinned by “Sampath Saviya”, an Entrepreneurship Development Programme launched in 2013 to offer technical and financial assistance to start-ups as well as existing business ventures that lack the resources to start or expand their business.
MSMEs play an important role in the economy, as they generate employment, contribute to the GDP, and help innovate and stimulate other economic activities. Hence, the vision of this programme is to enhance the capacities of MSMEs for a sustainable development of Sri Lanka. In this context, Sampath Bank will continue to focus on identifying and providing solutions to alleviate poverty, unemployment and other issues affecting the communities. The mission is to promote and lead MSMEs by enhancing their access to finance and technical support that brings MSMEs to the main banking system and help create employment. Therefore, the ultimate aim of this programme is to contribute to the economic growth by creating a diverse and competitive MSME sector whilst achieving the target of developing a minimum of 2,000 entrepreneurs in five years.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY“Sampath Saviya”, community empowerment and livelihood development programme is carried out in collaboration with the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) and CEFE NET Sri Lanka. The programme’s model involves a five year plan to produce 2,000 entrepreneurs by organizing and implementing events and training for the MSMEs on business know-how, technical know-how and financial literacy. Concurrently, the managers and credit officers of the bank also attended the same entrepreneurship development training as they were the key personnel assigned to evaluate the viability of “Sampath Saviya” MSMEs.
Sampath bank fulfills the social responsibility as well as corporate accountability by investing in “Sampath Saviya”. As such, the bank intends to motivate low-income and marginalized communities to integrate their businesses into the formal banking system. Nurturing a “Credit Plus Culture” of this form is deemed to be an essential pre-requisite that would support society for the future.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTMSMEs are often perceived as high risk by institutions due to information asymmetry, weak financial management, inadequate collateral, under-capitalization and the lack of a succession plan. Going beyond the financial expectations, the establishment of “Sampath Saviya” shows the Bank’s dedication to the social well-being of a community. It helps bridge the gap of social infrastructure of the community by lending a hand to overcome obstacles such as poor knowledge, lack of proper data, financial literacy, market constrains, informality and technical information while promoting industrial culture. MSMEs can play a complementary role to large industries through sub-contracting, thus facilitating the linkage between the formal and the informal sectors. Therefore, a well-organized SME sector provides the foundation for the growth of the entire industrial sector. Sampath Bank acts as their guide to a sustainable future keeping to the promise of “We present your future”.
FUTURE DIRECTIONSampath Bank’s focus is on developing relationships with entrepreneurs in the long term to ensure their success and fulfill their future needs. The ties established with each entrepreneur during the project phase would help the bank engage in more meaningful relationships with the relevant communities. Representing a holistic approach of social responsibility and corporate accountability, these community bonds are deemed to be the cornerstone for a new dimension of community based socio-economic development in the country.
Taking a step further, the “Sampath Saviya” programme implemented a new recognition scheme called “Sampath Wayaparika Pranama (Sampath Business Excellence Awards)” to recognize and award the best entrepreneurs who have been with the bank. This initiative is taken with the motive of inspiring entrepreneurs to achieve their own development and increase their valuable contribution to the national economic growth. In this regard, the entrepreneurs will be evaluated on their performance for two years. As an inspiration to contribute more entrepreneurs to the nation, committed branch managers and regional managers will also be awarded.
The bank also plans to promote youth development and women empowerment platforms, with special emphasis on developing individuals with recognized technical and vocational qualifications.
Sampath Bank is the third largest private commercial bank in Sri Lanka. The Bank offers a wide range of financial solutions to individuals, corporate entities and institutional clients and has built a reputation as the most forward thinking bank in Sri Lanka.