The Business Centre Corporation (BCC) has initiated discussions with business and commerce sector stakeholders from member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). IORA, established in 1997, aims to bolster regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 member states and 12 dialogue partners.

The focus of the meetings held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was on creating opportunities for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and facilitating local and international trade between the Maldives’ MSMEs and related businesses in IORA member states. The discussions align with the BCC’s mandate to promote and strengthen local MSMEs and facilitate international market access for them, said the BCC.

Ibrahim Ziyau Mohamed, the managing director of BCC, expressed optimism about the positive interest received from international partners to collaborate and support this endeavor. “Our discussions centred on advancing BCC’s mission to promote and fortify local MSMEs while facilitating their access to international markets. We were encouraged by the enthusiastic interest shown by our international partners in collaborating and supporting these efforts,” Mohamed told the Maldives Republic.

He highlighted the importance of developing opportunities and increasing international trade and market access for local MSMEs as a vital component of strengthening the local economy. BCC is actively working towards increasing international collaborations to assist local MSMEs in accessing international markets, it said.

During their visit to Colombo, Mohamed and the BCC team also engaged in discussions with the Maldivian High Commissioner in Colombo, Masood Imad, to explore business opportunities for local MSMEs in Sri Lanka. The discussions revolved around establishing an outlet of Authentic Maldives in Colombo, dedicated to showcasing the talents of Maldivian artisans, craftsmen, and designers, said Mohamed. Deliberations also centred on seeking business opportunities for local businesses in both countries and the possibility for Maldivian MSMEs to showcase themselves at trade fairs held in Sri Lanka.

BCC also expressed interest in organising an exhibition or a trade fair in Sri Lanka and introducing a cultural exchange programme, aiming to benefit local MSMEs, Mohamed added. The corporation is committed to creating an enabling and inclusive business environment for MSMEs through various support mechanisms geared towards assisting small businesses to sustain, scale, and grow.