"Empowering Dreams, Fueling Growth: Bank of Ceylon Ignites SME Renaissance with BOC Energizer"

In a bold stride towards fostering economic resilience, the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has unveiled the BOC Energizer initiative, a groundbreaking SME scheme infused with a commitment of LKR five billion. This pioneering endeavor seeks to breathe life into the microcosm of rural entrepreneurship, epitomizing the bank's distinctive human-centric approach to SME lending.

At the heart of BOC Energizer is a mission to cultivate entrepreneurship at the grassroots level, placing a particular emphasis on empowering women and nurturing young talent to become pivotal contributors to the nation's GDP. Of the initial funding, LKR four billion is earmarked for existing Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs/SMEs), while a dedicated LKR one billion fund is reserved exclusively for burgeoning startup ventures.

Under this visionary scheme, existing businesses can access fresh loans up to a cap of LKR 50 million, while startup projects are eligible for financial support of up to Rs. two million. The allure of BOC Energizer is accentuated by an attractive 12% interest rate per annum, strategically designed to catalyze the inception of new ventures.

However, this initiative distinguishes itself by its selective focus, as it refrains from considering settlement of existing facilities or rescheduling of loans. Qualifications and experience are pivotal prerequisites for startup loans, with strict prohibitions against funding for land or vehicle purchases. Additionally, a 25% equity requirement underscores the commitment to foster a genuine sense of ownership within the business community.

Acknowledging the adversities faced by rural entrepreneurs during the recent Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges, BOC adopts a compassionate stance. The lending policy echoes a commitment to rehabilitation over traditional recovery measures, recognizing the nuanced struggles encountered by the sector.

Beyond financial aid, BOC's innovative initiatives, such as the SME Circle and Export Circle, extend a holistic suite of services, transcending conventional banking. By linking entrepreneurs with vital institutions like the Export Development Board (EDB), Small Enterprises Development (SED), and Industrial Development Board (IDB), BOC facilitates a comprehensive ecosystem for business growth.

BOC Energizer emerges not just as a financial lifeline but as a transformative force, symbolizing the Bank of Ceylon's dedication to sculpting an entrepreneurial landscape that thrives on inclusivity, resilience, and shared prosperity.

"Nurturing Growth Beyond Finance: Bank of Ceylon Champions MSMEs with Holistic Support"

Beyond the financial realm, the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) stands as a beacon of support for Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Sri Lanka. Recognizing the multifaceted needs of entrepreneurs, BOC orchestrates skill development programs on crucial fronts such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and financial management. These initiatives, conducted in collaboration with esteemed training institutions and relevant organizations, underscore the bank's commitment to empowering MSME entrepreneurs with knowledge and acumen.

In a strategic move to foster a culture of awareness and collaboration, BOC regularly organizes province-level customer forums. These forums serve as dynamic platforms to engage with young entrepreneurs, amplifying awareness and fostering networks. The collaborative efforts with authorities dedicated to promoting MSMEs in Sri Lanka further enhance the impact of these forums, creating a synergistic environment for growth.

The responsiveness of BOC to the evolving macroeconomic landscape in Sri Lanka is evident in its ability to introduce new concessionary MSME financing schemes. Despite changes, the bank steadfastly adheres to the core philosophy of 'thin margins, high volumes,' ensuring that its financial solutions remain accessible and impactful for a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs.

At the heart of BOC's endeavors is a commitment to leading the charge in the development of the country's rural economy. Beyond traditional banking, the bank becomes an architect of progress, actively participating in the intricate process of shaping a thriving MSME sector. As BOC leaves an indelible footprint on the landscape of Sri Lanka's economic evolution, its dedication to comprehensive support reflects a vision that extends far beyond mere financial transactions.

"In conclusion, the Bank of Ceylon's commitment to fostering the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Sri Lanka extends far beyond conventional banking. Through a multifaceted approach, BOC not only provides financial solutions but also empowers entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills essential for their success. The organization's dedication to skills development programs, covering financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and financial management, exemplifies its holistic support for the MSME community.

The province-level customer forums organized by BOC serve as vibrant hubs of awareness and collaboration, fostering connections among young entrepreneurs and leveraging partnerships with authorities dedicated to promoting MSMEs. These forums underscore the bank's role as a catalyst for building networks and amplifying the impact of its initiatives.

Adapting to changes in the country's macroeconomic landscape, BOC continues to introduce new concessionary MSME financing schemes while adhering to its fundamental philosophy of 'thin margins, high volumes.' This approach ensures that financial solutions remain not only accessible but also impactful for a diverse range of entrepreneurs.

As the Bank of Ceylon leads the way in the development of the country's rural economy, its proactive stance and comprehensive support position it as a key player in shaping a thriving MSME sector. Beyond the financial realm, BOC's footprint becomes a symbol of empowerment, collaboration, and sustained growth, reflecting a vision that goes beyond banking transactions to embrace the holistic development of Sri Lanka's entrepreneurial landscape."