Entrepreneurship development using Blue Ocean strategy
The Inauguration ceremony of the Training Course on Entrepreneurship Development Using the Blue Ocean strategy, organized by the Colombo Plan Secretariat, in collaboration with the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education in Manila, Philippines, was held recently at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo. Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion, was the Chief Guest and delivered the opening address.

Seventeen participants from ten Colombo Plan member countries namely: Afghanistan; Bhutan; Bangladesh; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Thailand and Vietnam participated in this one-week training course.

Among those present at the Opening Ceremony were Rosli Ismail, High Commissioner of Malaysia; U Tin Oo Lwin, Ambassador of Myanmar; Thinakorn Kanasuta, Ambassador of Thailand; Akram Uddin Ahammad, Third Secretary, High Commission of Bangladesh; Suresh Adhikari, Second Secretary, Embassy of Nepal and John Terrance Perera, Consul of the Consulate-General of the Philippines.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Patricia Yoon-Moi CHIA, Secretary-General of the Colombo Plan Secretariat said that this training course has actually achieved several milestones. This is the first joint programme organized by the Colombo Plan Secretariat and the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC), Manila. This is also the first of such programme which is implemented by the Programme for Private Sector Development (PPSD) aimed at entrepreneurship development. In addition, this is also the first time the Colombo Plan PPSD is implementing such a programme in Colombo, Sri Lanka for our developing member countries. This training programme is strongly supported by Resource Persons from the Sri Lanka Chambers of Commerce, leading business enterprises and academicians such as Hettigoda Group, Aitken Spence, DFCC, University of Colombo, Post-graduate Institute of Management and the University of Peradeniya.

Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion highlighted four very important pre-requisites for the economic development of any country. These are :

= Energy efficiency and to be less dependent on imported oil in view of the sky-rocketing oil prices.

= Infrastructure development, especially to balance the disparities between rural and urban areas.

= Pro-active business friendly bureaucracy or public officials who can promote businesses in an efficient and productive manner.

= Education and technology.

He said that "Sri Lanka is not the only girl on the beach", since every country is now competing for limited Foreign Investment in an increasingly competitive and difficult conditions.

He said that it is important for a country not only to have high literacy, but also needs to have the right skills which are relevant to today’s highly technologically advanced environment. Although, Sri Lanka has a 99% of literacy rate and has already met most of the Millennium Development Goals, in actual terms only 9% are functionally literate.

He also said that this course is very timely and useful as many of the participants are policy makers who can advise on the right policies and investment promotion in their respective countries.

The Colombo Plan is now playing a very important role in implementing such useful courses like entrepreneurship development in the Asia Pacific region. Sri Lanka, being the host country, has also immensely benefited from the Colombo Plan since its inception in 1951. The Minister concluded by saying that he hopes Colombo Plan will continue to play a significant role in the development of its member countries in the years to come.

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