02 / 1994
With the liberalisation of the Sri Lankan economy in 1977 new trends emerged which required new thinking. Instead of agriculture and plantation based economies new forms of employment had to be found especially in view of the interest shown in town based and rural small scale enterprises.
IRED/PRDA responded to this new challenge by helping the new entrepreneurs with a wide range of development programmes which would identify products, introduce relevant technologies, access credit and banking facilities, train potential businessmen, arrange for transport and marketing of the finished product and teach them managerial skills.
One of the most significant contributions was the publication first in english and then translated into the native Sinhala of the twin training handbook. The Manual of Entrepreneurship Development helping this new group to seize the opportunity and develop their potential and skills.
What is significant in this handbook is that it is not a formalized western based conceptual document but a locally adapted guidebook full of details and many relevant immediately intelligible examples illustrating sensitively humane problems and even spiced with humor by a trainer who lives through and identifies herself with step of the rural enterprise training process.
The author starts with the basic responsibilities of an entrepreneur. Skill in production the ability to face problems long hours of work and fulfilled job satisfaction. Through copious examples she shows how he/she can grasp new opportunities expand the working group to enable one to expand the enterprise find new avenues of credit and utilize new techniques. The watchword is always be open to change for that is the secret of success. What, how, where, how much, are questions you must ask yourself. Finding suitable assistants helps you achieve your targets. It is imperative to calculate your operational costs realistically to make your business economically viable and provide for the sustainable future. Each chapter ends with interesting points for discussion which enhance the value of the training.
The often ignored skill of observing schedules and time management, building up of self confidence to inspire others confidence in you, and the age old advice do unto others as you would have them do unto you are other pointers. she also reminds you that you have to have short term and long term objectives in view.
Listening meaningfully instead of constant chatter developing the skill of communicating orally as well as in writing, remembering the axiom that it is the individual that comes first and not you or your institution. Then there is the all important support of management skill to put all these aspects in place.
The second section of the Handbook addresses in detail various aspects of the development of the entrepreneurial talent and skill. The importance of learning quick instant techniques refined tecnologies learning from others and doing our own research finding out your own weaknesses and overcoming them and the effective hastening of enterprise through working in pairs and groups by exchanging experiences and ideas allowing agriculture groups to find out methods by their own efforts instead of the trainer spelling everything out to them becoming close to your colleagues during training and pairing up each day with a new member are all training in human skills. Walk around without confining yourself to narrow trodden paths exposing yourself each day to new ideas and experiences are all iads in developing that all important person, yourself.
It is this simple practical sensitive leading of new entrepreneurs in their own environment and in keeping with their own traditions that make this Handbook invaluable. It is written by an expert in her subject who has personally trod every step of the way.
This Manual of Entrepreneurial Development if translated into other Asian languages would be a very useful practical training for all rural entrepreneurs who need help in how to develop their ability to enhance and extend their income generating activities in a manner relevant to their own circumstances.
FERNANDO, Shanti, IRED GENERAL SECRETARIAT COLOMBO OFFICE, Support Services for Development (pvt)ltd. Sri Lanka, 1993/12 (SRI LANKA)
IRED Asie (Development Support Service) - 562/3 Nawala Road - Rajagiriya - Sri Lanka Tel : 94 1 695 481 - Fax : 94 1 - 688 368