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17 loading A team from the Royal College of Defence visited HDCC      

A team of the Royal College of Defence  Studies visited HDCC on the 11th June 2015 to exchange views in open discussion with Ms.Krishanthi Weerasinghe, CEO,HDCC . The British High Commission , Colombo coordinated the visit.  They also visited the Hambantota Seaport.

The Royal College of Defence Studies course is a post-graduate-level programme in international strategic studies, focusing on the themes of security, stability and prosperity at the grand strategic level. It seeks to foster an understanding of global trends and a habit of strategic thinking for those who will be the policy and strategy makers of tomorrow - or their senior advisers.  It is open to UK and foreign military and civilian officials.  Only those candidates that are expected to rise to the top of their career stream are considered for the course.

16 loading Partnership Between HDCC and CCPIT      

China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Hangzhou Sub-Council (CCPIT)-Hangzhou signed a MoU with the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) on the 12th June 2015 in Hambantota.  They hope to take this opportunity to promote Hangzhou, as well as seek the chances to cooperate with Sri Lank in trade and investment. The China delegation was consisted   of the government officials and  potential investors.  HDCC president, Senior vice President, Vice President,  Past Presidents and CEO attended for  the discussion.  They also visited the Lanka Salt Limited Hambantota and businesses in the Hambantota District.

15 loading A team of Australian consultants Visit HDCC      

A team of   Australian consultants   along with the officials from   Australian High Commission visited HDCC on the 4th June to discuss the skills demand in tourism and related industries in the Hambantota District. They were in Sri Lanka to conduct a feasibility study and to validate the focus on the tourism, hospitality and enterprise sectors - with a specific focus on the Eastern Province. Southern Province is selected as a control province. Mr.Azmi Thassim, Past President and Ms.Krishanthi Weerasinghe, CEO of  HDCC participated for the discussion.

14 loading Canadian High Commissioner Visits HDCC      

The Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka HE Shelly Whiting visited the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) on the 12th May 2015. During the visit High Commissioner met with officials of HDCC and Past presidents of HDCC. 

13 loading වාර්ශික මහා සභාව - 2014      

හම්බ‍න්තොට දිස්ත්‍රික් වාණිජ වාණිජ මණ්ඩලයේ 21 වන වාර්ෂික මහාසභාව 2014 සැප්තැම්බර් 26 වන සිකුරාදා දින ප.ව. 4.00ට  අම්බලන්තොට, උස්සන්ගොඩ බීච් හෝටලයේදී පැවැත්වේ. 

එදින විශේෂ දේශණය කොළඔ විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයේ මහාචාර්ය සරත් විජේසූරිය මහතා විසින් පවත්වනු ලබයි

11 loading The Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) Celebrates 20th Annivasary      

The Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) celebrates 20 years of exemplary service to the business community and young people of the district this year. Established on August  9,  1993. HCCC is the first district Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka and   amongst the few legendary institutions in Sri Lanka to hold such an unbroken record. The Primary objective of   this pioneering exercise was to promote and develop the economic advancement of the district through good business practices and progressive entrepreneurship.  Hence, this long felt need, among the business community of the district, was fulfilled by this chamber.

HDCC began as an Association in 1990 under a Government initiative that encouraged young new entrepreneurs to collaborate with existing businesses. In 1993, with technical and financial assistance from USAlD, HDCC was formally incorporated, and since then has worked in cooperation with the national level chambers, the Government of Sri Lanka and many INGOs - as well as with multi-lateral and bi-lateral donor agencies and their projects.

Also about this time the Hambantotoa Integrated Rural Development Project (HIRDEP), under the auspices of the then Ministry of plan Implementation and funded by NORAD setup the Hambantota Entrepreneur Service Centre (HESC) – a one stop shop for the entrepreneurs of the district. Then end of the nineties, HIRDEP setup in 1979 with a 20 year life span was nearing the end of its tenure and looking for somebody to takeover HESC. They didn’t have to look too far nor, for too long either. There couldn’t have been a more natural choice than the HDCC to undertake  the “adoption” of HESC. It was then the Government of Norway through the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo stepped in via its connection through HESC.

Over the last ten years RNE has, under a number of agreements, provided a significant proportion of the funding that HDDC has needed in order to serve the business community, and also to support it in its work to enhance the overall economic status of the Hambantota District. As well as working to enhance the capacity of HDCC to fulfil its primary mission, RNE and HDCC have worked together on other major projects in the district and region, most notably on tsunami relief and in the provision of access to financial services for the region’s SME communities.

HDCC   facilitates the business community with information, technology , exposure and lobbying with the banks for access to  funds and  organizes  the workshops and training programmes to improve the capacity of the business people  as well as their staff members.

Recognising that one of the major causes of the violence in the south of Sri Lanka in the late 1980s was youth unemployment, HDCC determined that it must implement programmes designed to address this crucial issue.  The Career Service Centre (CSC) commenced delivering careers services as a part of HDCC in 1996 with initial support from the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).  CSC has adopted the following mission: “To provide outstanding careers and skills support to young people and recruitment and workforce development services to employers”. The CSC successfully established  and provides the secretariat for, a well-regarded and functioning Vocational Training Consortium (VTC) across the District.  Comprising public and independent institutions providing vocational and technical  training and related services.

HDCC decided to address the problem of youth unemployment by assisting young people to consider entrepreneurship as a real alternative to employment and to give them the skills and finance to make a success of starting and developing their own businesses.  HYBP was a direct outcome of this vision, providing training, mentoring, and start-up loans at subsidised interest rates for young people aged 18-35, who had tried and failed to obtain finance from more conventional sources.  HYBP was legally constituted in 1997 as an independent trust (the Hambantota Youth Business Trust) under the management of HDCC but with its own Board of Trustees. It was started in association with the Princes’ Youth Business International (YBI), in order to establish a programme based on the principles of The Prince’s Trust and the Prince of Wales’ International Business Leaders Forum in the UK .YBI is one of the Prince of Wales’ group of charities, which oversees a network of 40 youth business programmes worldwide.  In September 2007, HDCC collaborated with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to form Youth Business Sri Lanka (YBSL), which is extending the programme to other parts of the country.  HYBP is being used as the model for this initiative.

HDCC has worked with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) for more than fifteen  years, during which time a number of volunteers have worked to enhance the capacity of the HDCC staff.

In early 2005 the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and its service delivery company, Manchester Solutions (MS), and HDCC entered into an Memorandum of understanding , to work together to promote long-term economic re-development in the Hambantota District, supporting the organizational development and success of HDCC, and developing mutual links between the two Chambers and their members. It has involved a long-term commitment to sharing expertise and resource rather than just a one-off financial contribution. HDCC and GMCC were winners of the Best Networking Project category at the awards presentation of a competition at the 6th World Chamber Congress (WCC) held in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.

HDCC was awarded a grant from the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Initiatives (S/GWI) through USAID to implement its Promoting Entrepreneurship and Empowering Women in Hambantota District project. Through this initiative Hambantota District Women Entrepreneurs forum was formed and it serves as a networking platform and creates a voice for businesswomen. Its objectives are to facilitate information sharing among different groups of women, encouraging them to take control of their businesses.

In addition the Chamber is also involved in collaborative partnerships with local bodies too to facilitate the business community. Playing a catalytic role in the development of the business sector it initiates action to identify future trends, focuses on key issues, and assists in the development of strategic plans to meet new challenges and opportunities. It also maintains close links with the government sector and multilateral aid agencies and provides a platform for the Private Sector to discuss issues affecting businesses. HCCC’s role extends to that of an intermediary between the public and private sectors. Placed in an enviable position of pre - eminence in its membership coverage, business acumen and range of services, while being responsive to the needs of business in times of rapid change, it has expanded its scope and expertise to areas.

The tsunami  2004 drastically affected  the Hambantota District. HDCC was active in all of the relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.  HDCC members and staff worked alongside other organisations in the days following the disaster, helping to meet the needs of their community despite the shock and grief of their own personal losses. Many international organizations, NGOs, philanthropists, groups, and concerned individuals from around the world funneled their contributions and programmes through HDCC as an effective conduit for relief and support.  The largest programme, Back to Business, used funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and a consortium of donors organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry to help the business community recover from the disaster. Asia Foundation and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce also supported these efforts. These efforts and experiences have been captured and reflected upon in the HDCC publication: Rhythm of the Sea.

HDCC publishes   Dolosdahas Rata, which was introduced in 1999, is a unique local news service bringing valuable business information to members of the chamber as well as news about to the community, economy and culture of the hambantota district to national readers. Dolosdahasrata is the first regional newspaper of it’s kind in the Southern Province.

‘Deep South’ is the creative theme of the HDCC’s tourism development initiative  which seeks to promote the Hambantota District as a prime tourist destination. The HDCC has undertaken a number of activities to uplift the tourism industry in the district with the active participation and assistance from its partners - the Manchester Solutions, UK and Mercy Corps, USA, as well as government, Provincial Council, entrepreneurs and individuals engaged in the industry. At the 3rd Travel & Tourism Presidential Awards ceremony HDCC was announced as the winner of the Local Destination Development –Provincial Tourism project category.

A key strength of HDCC is its ability to form and develop partnerships. None of the work would have been possible without the network of partners with whom HDCC has established relationships during the course of its existence. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, FCCISL, ICC, NCCSL , BPA ,  Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO), Youth Business international (YBI) , Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce ,Manchester Solutions , The Loomba Foundation,  International Youth Foundation (IYF), The Asia Foundation, International Alert, The British Council,  ILO, UNDP, USAID, GIZ , The World University of Canada (WUSC),the World Bank ,The Royal Norwegian Embassy –NORAD, University of Ruhuna, University of Agder  Hambantota  District Secretariat, Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC)    and many more have all supported ,guided and influenced the work of HDCC. 

A significant element of HDCC’s success is the commitment of its board members and other office bearers, Committee members who give their time and energy voluntarily for the development of the organization.

The membership of the HDCC is diverse and includes a wide range of business enterprises. HDCC members are grouped into Direct or Small sized businesses, Medium sized businesses, Corporate or Large businesses headquartered in Colombo but with branches or interests in the District, and Associations or groupings of potentially many hundreds of businesses in a particular sectoral and geographical areas.

To recognize and encourage enterprises, the HDCC holds the Best Entrepreneur Awards ceremony in the  Hambantota District . HDCC also supports and facilitates the participation of the district’s businessmen, women and youth at national and international competitions. Exhibitions are  another initiative to support the regional entrepreneur  community.  These events are aimed at facilitating links and partnerships among business people and creating a platform for entrepreneurs in the region .  HDCC from its inception has sought to promote the economic development of the district and in 2001 HDCC organized the first  Investment Forum and HDCC organise major Investment Forums time to time  to bridge the gap between demand and supply of information on the development process in the district and to create a platform for private-public partnership work to get maximum benefit from the development projects as well as to address other issues such as technical and financial support for businesses. 

Twenty years on, HDCC can proudly look back on a two decade of progress and achievements. HDCC is organising the 20th anniversary ceremony which will be held on the 27th January 2014 at the Sri Lanka Singapore Conference Hall in Siribopura, Hambantota  . The Chief Guest of this occasion will be the first President from the Hambantota District His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa .

In this occasion HDCC felicitate of Past Presidents, Committee members and long standing members  of the Chamber in recognition of their contribution towards the development of the Chamber. Dr. Saman Kalegama , Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies of

Sri Lanka will  present  about HDCC in the context of the Chamber movement of Sri Lanka . 

This prestigious event will involve political leaders along with Key representatives from public, private, NGO, INGO, Donor Agency, Embassy Sectors and a large number of HDCC members and local business people.

In its 20 years of operation and action HDCC has made significant achievements towards realizing its vision for the business community and environment of the Hambantota district. With the involvement and encouragement of its members and partners,  HDCC looks to the future with renewed commitment – towards becoming a self-sustainable, increasingly professional organization that takes up social responsibility and youth and community development; a pioneer district chamber contributing towards regional growth through economic  development that empowers the local business community and brings about prosperity in the future.

4 loading Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce launches Hambantota Youth Business Program book      

The Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) launched a publication titled ‘Hambantota Youth Business Program’ (HYBP) A story from southern Sri Lanka about youth, poverty, conflict, ambition, a prince and lives changed for good, which traces the lives of the beneficiaries of HYBP and captures the history and progress of HYBP, on 13 March in Colombo.

Past Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dr. Anura Ekanayake, made the keynote address and commented on the book. He praised the HYBP for capturing the challenges and successes of the young entrepreneurs in a captivating manner and encouraged the HDCC to share their learning across the other regions in Sri Lanka.

British Council Country Director Keith Davies OBE said he was privileged to be present on the occasion since it marked a valuable partnership between the HDCC and organisations in Britain - the Princes Youth Business International and Manchester Solutions.

Royal Norwegian Embassy Head of Development Dagny Mjos and Youth Business Sri Lanka Chairman Samantha Ranatunga congratulated HDCC on this inspiring initiative and wished then well for the future.

VSO Country Representative Ruvanthi Sivapragasam commented on the strong and long term partnership between HDCC and VSO. She also stated that since the Hambantota District has become the focus of much attention in the recent months due to the Government’s massive development plans for the area, the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) with its excellent reputation within the district, within Sri Lanka and even internationally; is in a unique position to contribute significantly towards the development of the district

The Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) completed 20 years of service to the business community and young people of the Hambantota District in 2013. Since its inception HYBP has been one of HDCC’s flagship programs. HYBP was a direct outcome of this vision, providing training, mentoring, and start-up loans at subsidised interest rates for young people aged 18-35, who had tried and failed to obtain finance from more conventional sources. To date, the program has disbursed 720 loans totalling up to Rs. 50 million to 650 young entrepreneurs, who have received assistance from as many as 500 mentors, successful business people and professionals covering the entire district. The program has resulted in the creation of more than 1,300 new jobs for young people. HYBP was legally constituted in 1997 as an independent trust (the Hambantota Youth Business Trust) under the management of HDCC but with its own Board of Trustees. It was started in association with the Princes’ Youth Business International(YBI), in order to establish a program based on the principles of The Prince’s Trust and the Prince of Wales’ International Business Leaders Forum in the UK. In September 2007, HDCC collaborated with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to form Youth Business Sri Lanka (YBSL), which is extending the program to other parts of the country. HYBP is being used as the model for this initiative.....

With input and guidance from the staff of HYBP and HDCC, the book was edited and designed by VSO volunteer Katherine Gibney who worked with HDCC in 2013. The book was funded and supported throughout the project by the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). The project was initiated and envisioned by HDCC Past President Azmi Thassim.

The first five copies of the publication were presented to British Council Sri Lanka Country Director Keith Davies OBE, Royal Norwegian Embassy Head of Development Dagny Mjos, Embassy of the United States Political Officer Thomas Radke, Central Bank Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and Youth Business Sri Lanka Chairman Samantha Ranatunga.

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