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IFC and Dialog Telekom Help Small Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka Develop Business Skills

Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 18, 2008— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Dialog Telekom PLC have joined forces to help strengthen the business skills of Dialog Telekom’s retail distributors in Sri Lanka. This will help them build a track record of creditworthiness by using the IFC SME Toolkit, an advisory product implemented in more than 25 countries worldwide.
IFC will provide $250,000 to support Dialog Telekom’s Distributor-Retailer Community Network project, which looks at strengthening the skills of the Company retail and distributor network. This follows an IFC investment in September 2007 to help the company expand its network and build new telecommunications infrastructure. The $100 million financing package included long-term debt and equity.
IFC and Dialog Telekom have also signed an agreement for the IFC SME Toolkit, an online resource designed to serve the needs of small and medium enterprises in developing and frontier markets. A version of the toolkit is being customized to meet Dialog Telekom’s needs and will be available in two local languages, Sinhala and Tamil. This effort is also helping to further strengthen the distributor-retailer community network itself.
Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, Director and Chief Executive, Dialog Telekom said, “At Dialog Telekom we have always been committed to fostering entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka, specially in the SME sectors. We feel that our own retailers and distributors play a vital role in our Company achieving the goals of its triple bottom-line, and our Distributor Retailer Community Network seeks to provide our retailers and distributors with the necessary tools to achieve their goals. By assisting in the design and implementation of this innovative project, IFC has demonstrated its understanding of Dialog’s business needs and showcased its expertise in ensuring the well-being of the small and medium enterpreneurs that drive Dialog’s distribution network.”
Gilles Galludec, IFC Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, said, “This innovative program will help build capacities of small businesses in Sri Lanka and bring them into the formal banking sector, thus creating better linkages between SMEs and banks. IFC is keen to strengthen its partnership with Dialog and support the program.”
The IFC SME Toolkit ( www.smetoolkit.com ) leverages the latest information and communication technologies to help SMEs learn and implement sustainable business management practices. It offers free business management information and training on accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, marketing and sales, operations, and information technology. It also offers a wide range of resources to help users start, finance, formalize, and grow their businesses.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
IFC has committed more than $200 million for 26 projects in Sri Lanka since 1970. IFC’s current country exposure is over $150 million in equity, debt, and guarantees, with investments in private infrastructure exceeding $60 million. In 2007, IFC committed more than $20 million in new investments, including over $10 million to local financial institutions through the IFC Global Trade Finance Program. With donor funding from the Netherlands and Norway, IFC also provides advisory services to help create a business enabling environment and support value addition to firms through capacity building programs, training, and research.
About Dialog Telekom PLC
Dialog Telekom PLC, an ISO 9001 certified company, is a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia. The Company operates 2.5G and 3/3.5G Mobile Communications networks supporting the very latest in multimedia and mobile Internet services. Dialog Telekom PLC has the distinction of being the first 3G operator in South Asia to commence commercial operations. Its local coverage spans all provinces of Sri Lanka, while international roaming is provided in over 200 destinations. Dialog Telekom PLC, the largest and fastest growing cellular service in Sri Lanka, serves a subscriber base in excess of 4 Million Sri Lankans.
Dialog Broadband Networks (Pvt) Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of Dialog Telekom PLC, and is important player in Sri Lanka’s ICT infrastructure sector, providing backbone and transmission infrastructure facilities and data communication services. Dialog Broadband Networks (Pvt) Ltd recently commenced the provision of fixed wireless telephony services based on CDMA technology.
Dialog Television (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Dialog Telekom PLC, operates Dialog Satellite TV, a Direct to Home (DTH) Satellite TV service.
For more information on Dialog, visit www.dialog.lk