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Starting small business in Sri Lanka as a foreigner

Hello everyone!
I am thinking about starting small business in Sri Lanka in fashion industry, under my own brand. The items will be made in Sri Lanka and I want to sell it online worldwide and was also interested in having retailers and placing it in stores in Sri Lanka. I guess my tourist visa must be changed first to resident to do that or am I wrong? Any ideas where to start? I am currently in the country...thank you for your help!

Hi Lujziana,

First of find a suitable location to open a store. It would be best to form a company naming you as the major share holder and get it registered if you are going to operate in a big way. Otherwise what you can do is select some famous fashin stores like No-Limit, Odel, House of fashion and negotiate with them for a space for your products and see the market how your products will move around local customers. Initially it will be difficult. Clothing stores are usually visited by locals and foriegners in colombo if im not mistake. Have no idea about selling clothing online. I think you can start straight away talking to these Marketing or Brand Managers. Have an appointment and discuss (Margins price etc) Once everything in place you can apply for a resident permit. No one will quesiton your visa status in sri lanka. But in the long run better to have resident permit coz no need to pay for visa each an everytime.

Good luck
-Super Man-

Hi Superman!
Thank you for your opinion! I am starting in small, the items will be made also locally, not in a big factory. I know all the shops mentioned, but I wanted to focus more on foreigners than locals, also I am not sure but I have not seen ODEL selling any other brands, just ODEL branded stuffs...

Also I have no idea how is it with taxes, registration aso. Do you have any grant for supportin the small businesses which support local economic? What do you think is the comission they usually take here, any idea? I am not interested in wholesale, I will be looking for resellers of my brand.

Just do not know where to start when it comes to paper work, legal stuffs, vusa aso. Thank you for your help!

Luzjiana,

Legal stuff = Need to have business registration. Can register the business from the Local Municipal Council. Also check ur inbox and revert.

Thanks
-Super Man-

Hi Everyone. I'm Shahzad. I intend to set up a new restaurant business in Colombo high traffic areas. Need to know the set up procedures and costs, rental cost, labour wages and if I can bring my chefs from Pakistan on work permit.
Please advise.

Thanks

Hi Shahzad,

Let me summarize how to start a restaurant:

1 - You can go through BOI. You need USD 300,000 cash at the time on investment. If they don't see the money, your project will not be approved.

2 - You can go through Sri Lanka Tourist Board. You need to register a company. It will cost you around 65000 LKR (400 USD). Then find a suitable building for your restaurant. You need to be careful about the number of seats. Since you are a foreigner, your minimum requirement is 40 seats (at least 10 tables), 3 toilets (men, women and workers), separate entries for restaurant and store room etc. I suggest you better to ask Tourist Board before you rent any building.

3 - Main issue is the visa. If you are not registered to Tourist Board, you can't run the show and get visa. You can bring your chefs from Pakistan if your restaurant is registered by Tourist Board.

4 - Rental cost depends on the location and the size of the building. High traffic area can be between minimum 500 USD to max 2500 USD per month.

5 - You can pay 300 USD to local chefs. 400 USD to manager. 120 usd to cleaning person.

Pls ask if you have further questions..

I saw many answers for your message.that is true.they telling that in the legal manner.now I am having home stay.very nice place.I started it because I met a professor from Holand.he was with me certain period.he is the one who suggested to do such a thing.that's why I started that.only the thing is confidential.you don't have to pay that much of money for that.if you need a place close to Mandy I will give that.I am a different charactor.I don't expect any thing.just to spend time.life is too short have big plans.you can meet good people in Sri Lanka.they will offer a place free .that type of people are in this universe.so don't worry too much about your business.and you don't have to invest much money for that.only you need to get a a place.try to find a trustworthy person to help.that's all.

Prasanna3 :

I saw many answers for your message.that is true.they telling that in the legal manner.now I am having home stay.very nice place.I started it because I met a professor from Holand.he was with me certain period.he is the one who suggested to do such a thing.that's why I started that.only the thing is confidential.you don't have to pay that much of money for that.if you need a place close to Mandy I will give that.I am a different charactor.I don't expect any thing.just to spend time.life is too short have big plans.you can meet good people in Sri Lanka.they will offer a place free .that type of people are in this universe.so don't worry too much about your business.and you don't have to invest much money for that.only you need to get a a place.try to find a trustworthy person to help.that's all.

Dear Prasanna,

There are differences between local and foreign businessmen. As a local person, you don't need visa to stay in Sri Lanka but foreigners do. Foreigners must show valid recommendation letter to obtain residence visa unless they want to pay regular under-table money. Even if there is a local partner, without Tourist Board registration, you cannot get visa. There are ways to handle that but not official. One day, officers will come to the gate and tell you there is a complain about you. Your story ends there :)

I would like to know more details about the business your talking about...

Prasanna3 :

I saw many answers for your message.that is true.they telling that in the legal manner.now I am having home stay.very nice place.I started it because I met a professor from Holand.he was with me certain period.he is the one who suggested to do such a thing.that's why I started that.only the thing is confidential.you don't have to pay that much of money for that.if you need a place close to Mandy I will give that.I am a different charactor.I don't expect any thing.just to spend time.life is too short have big plans.you can meet good people in Sri Lanka.they will offer a place free .that type of people are in this universe.so don't worry too much about your business.and you don't have to invest much money for that.only you need to get a a place.try to find a trustworthy person to help.that's all.

I would like to know more details about the business your talking about...

Restaurant..

Hi  everyone!
I'm interesting to Open a small business of woman clothing there but I'm pretty lost about the legal stuff.
I should be advised for a lawyer about it? I'm a bit scared cause in my country is not too easy and they try to f* u with 3421 bills and stuff.
Like a foreigner I can open the local with my name or I should put a local friend name to make it easier?
To rent a local for the shop is it the same?
How it works with my visa? I can "work "there but have Holiday interning.. how it will be if I'm on the shop and someone can to check the legal stuff???
Hopefully it works well and I can be able to get the residence one day but I don't know if I should play all at the beginning ... I will need to found a good but cheap way to do it now..

If someone has any experience about clothing shop for tourist mostly will be great to have suggestions about it..
I'm on my first steps on that so any help could be awesome! Some global ideas of prices that I will need to pay for the legal stuff, the renting of the shop, and then about Clothes..I will bring some good quality simple and useful stuff any suggestion about the quantity of clothes to start?

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