We have a presidential election looming over us. An election that can impact the entrepreneur and enrich business development on the whole.
Already, we have started to talk about possible contenders.
There are many – some at one end of the spectrum while there are others at the other end.
In between, there are those who are promising much but then, promises have been made before. Which brings us the question, what should we be looking for in this coming election?
As entrepreneurs and business owners the question that remains is whom should we be voting for? Who would empower and drive real time business development?
We have seen much lip service paid to the SME sector, to the entrepreneurs and to those engaged in small businesses ; but unfortunately, those have been just gimmicks.
The real test of small businesses being supported is yet to be seen – which makes us think that although such promises are regularly made, they are neither realistic nor practical.
So seriously, whom should we be voting for?
Let’s consider the following before we as entrepreneurs and business owners make the decision whom to vote for.
Encouraging and uplifting the SME sector –
Most entrepreneurs belong to the SME sector. The SME sector in Sri Lanka is said to generate 70% of the GDP. Of the 5,000 odd exporters who contribute almost US $ 11 billion to the economy, nearly 80% are from the SME sector. What can a new presidential candidate or a new government give the SME sector towards strengthening it? What plans would they have to support it with access to funds and credit, encouraging start ups and would-be entrepreneurs? How would it fare with business development and growth?
Supporting a long term vision for the business sector –
Although Governments tend to acknowledge the role played by the business sector, often such acknowledgement does not lead to incentives and facilities that can benefit the business sector. We need to see policies and strategies in place that would serve the long term interests of the entrepreneurs and business owners. What we do see is policies that change often and irregular methodologies that are conveniently adapted to suit political needs rather than actual needs of the business community.
We need to be able to select the kind of leaders who would be serious about having in place mechanisms that support and nurture a long term vision for the growth and consolidation of a vibrant business sector, with particular focus on the SME sector.
Pursue business community friendly policies as opposed to popular vote appeasement strategies –
We all know the promises made on the political platforms ; they often address popular voter grabbing needs and do not serve any community well. Yet business development is often not directly linked to such plans. As opposed short term popular policies that favor none and are aimed at getting votes in an election, a government must be able to pursue policies that encourage business development and foster greater entrepreneur success. We must be able to understand the importance of pursuing such policies that would be beneficial to all in the business community in the long term.
Understand the importance of financial support for entrepreneurs and start ups –
Having access to easily available financial resources and credit is vital for any business to grow ; if a candidate doesn’t understand the link between business success and financial support, then we are not talking about a candidate who can empower the business community. Business development and business consolidation is directly linked to the availability of financial resources for any entrepreneur or a business owner. Ensuring lower rates of interest and a greater accessibility to credit will strengthen the business sector and encourage entrepreneurship.
These factors are vital for us to keep in mind as we go in search of a candidate worth our vote ; keeping in mind that every government must be able to address the needs of the SME sector which supports the economy at a wider level.
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