Can small and medium enterprises have a role in achievingsustainable development in the southern province of Sri Lanka? : special reference to the SMEs of automobile service sector in the Matara District
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With reference to the topic of “Can small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have a role in achieving Sustainable Development (SD) in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka (SPSL)?” this study was conducted. The automobile service sector (SMEs) in the Matara district was the focus area. In recent years with the advancement of technology, there has been a vast improvement in the automobile sector. Vehicle usage levels in Sri Lanka also have increased. Not only for the usage of institutional purpose but also there is a vast demand for family purposes. The most important expectation of any vehicle owner is to manage the health condition of own vehicles properly. This creates more demand for vehicle related services. This study aimed to assess whether SMEs can have a role in achieving sustainable development in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Therefore the study was planned in three major sections. The first was to review the role of SMEs in the Matara district and secondly it was considered to evaluate both the Private-public participation for the enhancement of the SME sector in the Matara district. Finally the perceptions of SMEs owners towards the sustainable development achievements were evaluated. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods of data collection including questionnaires, observations, discussions and interviews. In addition secondary data were used from different sources and analyzed. The findings showed that the SMEs are playing a clear role within the area and help many people engaged in this field in generating income and helping to sustain their livelihoods. As the second objective it was found out that there was lack of private-public cooperation towards the development of service related SMEs in the Southern Province. However the owners‟ perceptions towards sustainable development are favourable. It means that SMEs are helping for the economic development, social development and environmental development of the country and they help to secure those developments and to improve them gradually. The one way Anova test showed that there are significances among the age of SMEs towards sustainable development and the number of employees in SMEs may influence towards sustainable development. Also the owners have good perceptions of sustainable development. Further strengths and major draw backs with SMEs were identified and few recommendations were proposed in relation to the findings. Finally it can be mentioned that SMEs are playing a major role in the province to achieve sustainable development as the back bone of the country‟s development.
Master thesis in development management- University of Agder 2011