The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) kicked off its series of monthly meetings for 2023 with an insightful discussion led by Eric Walsh, the High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Walsh initiated his keynote address by drawing an intriguing comparison between the political landscapes of Sri Lanka and Canada. Unlike the frequently binary and adversarial nature of politics in many countries, where politics can resemble a blood sport, Sri Lanka’s political scene is characterized by a unique fluidity. Political alliances often shift, and the middle ground is not as distinctly defined. This understanding of the political ebb and flow is crucial for any foreign entity looking to establish business ties in Sri Lanka, as it significantly impacts the economic and regulatory environment.

The High Commissioner’s speech also underscored the complexities extending from the political sphere into the business sector, particularly when forging Sri Lanka-Canada partnerships. He addressed one of the most pressing challenges – corruption and bribery. These unethical practices not only side-line policies but also pose a significant risk for Canadian companies, as under Canada’s stringent laws, companies can face prosecution on home soil for engaging in bribery overseas. This acts as a significant deterrent for Canadian businesses contemplating ventures in Sri Lanka, thereby limiting opportunities for economic collaboration.

Despite these challenges, Mr. Walsh expressed cautious optimism about Sri Lanka’s future, likening its current position to a crossroads. Drawing from his vast diplomatic experience and time spent in Sri Lanka, he emphasized that confronting corruption and driving toward a more transparent, equitable business environment could act as the catalyst for Sri Lanka’s economic renewal.

COYLE’s series of meetings are strategically designed to promote dialogue on these pressing issues. By fostering an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, COYLE aligns with economic development initiatives and the government’s efforts to stimulate growth. The objective is to pave the way for ethical, mutually beneficial business partnerships that will contribute to Sri Lanka’s international economic development.

COYLE remains steadfast in maintaining this momentum, with plans to host a variety of guest speakers from diverse backgrounds in future meetings. These discussions will continue to focus on the multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities that Sri Lankan entrepreneurs face in a global context.

As Sri Lanka navigates through its political and economic challenges, platforms like COYLE, which foster open dialogue and collaborative thinking, are crucial in shaping a more prosperous future for the nation. COYLE’s initiative in championing such discussions is a testament to its commitment to the betterment of Sri Lanka and its entrepreneurial community.

As we look towards the future, COYLE will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change, advocating for ethical business practices, economic growth, and the development of a robust and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sri Lanka.For more information, please visit or contact our media liaison at

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