“School Industry Entrepreneurship Circles”- National Medal Awarding Ceremony & Art Exhibition

Ministry of Industries and Ministry of Education, along with the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, collaboratively organized the “School Industry Entrepreneurship Circles” National Program in schools to create an entrepreneurial mindset and culture. “School Industry Entrepreneurship Circles”- National Medal Awarding Ceremony & Art Exhibition held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater on 22nd March, 2024, graced by Hon. Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Industry and Health, with the participation of Hon. State Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Mr. Prasanna Ranaweera, and Hon. State Minister of Education Mr. Arvind Kumar.

Addressing the audience, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, highlighted the significant impact of the ongoing initiatives. He announced that school industry entrepreneurship circle program is being successfully implemented in over 365 schools across the island, with over 12,300 school children in over 500 School Industry Entrepreneurship Circles actively engaged in these activities. He extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Education, principals, and teachers for their pivotal role in fostering these circles. He emphasized that national and international level should be won not only in traditional streams but also through entrepreneurship. Driven by this vision, the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, under the leadership of the Ministry of Industries, stands prepared to offer extensive support including loan facilities and knowledge to facilitate their journey.

Addressing the audience, Hon. Mr. Arvind Kumar, Minister of State for Education emphasized that school children should be appreciated for the development of entrepreneurship as well as education to choose their future path. He stressed that education encompasses more than just passing exams; it’s about equipping students with the skills to navigate life’s challenges.

Hon.Mr. Prasanna Ranaweera, Minister of State for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, emphasized the importance of recognizing individual strengths among children, advocating for entrepreneurship as a viable path for all. He highlighted the burgeoning tourism industry in Sri Lanka and stressed the need to cultivate local products for foreign markets. Mr. Ranaweera underscored the significant role of product branding and related initiatives in achieving this objective.

Mrs. Thilaka Jayasundara, Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, announced that the entrepreneurship rate in the country has risen from 2.8% to 3%. To further bolster this growth, initiatives such as entrepreneurship circle programs targeting school children have been launched. She emphasized the importance of nurturing a mindset where school children become job creators rather than job seekers. She extended her best wishes to them, envisioning their roles as resilient soldiers in overcoming the economic challenges facing the nation.

At the event, 362 students were honored with bronze and pilot medals, while winners of the art, essay, song writing and short film competitions, held under the theme ‘Let’s develop the country through industrial entrepreneurship’, were awarded prizes and certificates. The Leather and Footwear Manufacturers Association presented raw materials to the Leather Manufacturing Division of Nugawela Central College. Additionally, “Industry” loans were granted to two students from Ratnawali Girls’ College and one student from Badulla Welimada Central College. Furthermore, the Footwear and Leather Manufacturers Association contributed one million rupees, equivalent to 50% of the revenue from the Footwear & Leather Exhibition-2024, to the Industry Development Fund of the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon. Finally, parcels containing various consumer products produced through the entrepreneurship circles of Badulla Welimada Central College were presented to the Honorable Minister and other distinguished guests.

The occasion witnessed the presence of notable figures including Mr. Wasantha Perera, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma, Chairman of the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, Mr. H. M. S. Samarakoon, Director General of the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, and Ms. Renuka Jayalath, Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Division of Industrial Development Board of Ceylon. Also, in attendance were representatives from government and private sector banks, school principals, teachers, and a large gathering of school children.

Venue: Nelum Pokuna Theatre