Entrepreneurs are increasingly leveraging social media as their primary business platform – Harini Weerasekera

8 September 2021

Entrepreneurs are increasingly leveraging social media as their primary platform for business in Sri Lanka according to Harini Weerasekera, Research Economist at IPS. She made this observation while presenting a research paper on ‘Social Media for Business: An Initial Scoping Exercise for Sri Lanka’ at the World Bank’s 8th South Asia Economic Policy Network Virtual Conference on ‘Driving South Asia’s Growth with Services and Digital Platform’. The paper which was co-authored with Kithmina Hewage (former Research Economist, IPS) was presented under the thematic session on ‘Digital Economy and Platforms’.

The paper examined the demographics of business owners using social media as their primary platform, the regional distribution of their customer base, usage of social media platforms, logistical considerations such as delivery and payments, and issues on the policy ecosystem. Some key findings were that policy shocks such as social media blockages had a significant negative impact on sales, delivery and payment options require further expansion, and most businesses felt that the policy and regulatory framework was not supportive of small social media-based businesses.