SLASSCOM, the IT and knowledge industry body which plays the role of a catalyst with aggressive plans to capitalise the opportunities for Sri Lanka in 2013/2014, has elected its fifth Board and General Council consisting of key industry leaders and decision makers to drive this year’s vision.
New additions to the Board includes an eclectic mix of youth and experience, with the industry veteran and CEO of 99x Technologies Mano Sekaram coming in as Director and Vice Chairman, while up and coming industry figures such as Indaka Raigama, CEO of Navantis, Sri Lanka and Virendra Perera, COO of Brandix Mercury Asia coming in as new Directors.
Laying out his vision for the coming year and recapping the achievements of the past few years, newly elected Chairman of SLASSCOM and Senior Vice President and General Manager of Virtusa Madu Ratnayake stated: “As an industry, we have made significant progress over the last five years. Our export revenue grew from $ 213 million in 2007 to an estimated $ 600 million in 2013 (182%). Total employment grew from 33,000 in 2007 to an estimated 67,000 employees in 2013 (100%), and the number of companies in the industry grew from 170 in 2007 to over 220 in 2013. This is a tremendous growth from any stretch of imagination and is the result of a concerted effort from industry, academia, Government and many other stakeholders.
“During the last five years, our global brand position improved significantly. AT Kearney ranked Sri Lanka among the top 25 in their global ranking in the last three consecutive rankings. Gartner ranked Sri Lanka among its top 30 global locations. IBM, Tholons and several others ranked Sri Lanka at the top of their respective leader boards.”
He added: “The Government, recognising the potential of IT/BPO as a thrust industry, supported and enabled this growth in many ways. Competitive tax incentives, the President’s backing with a number of national initiatives including Year of English and IT in 2009, the knowledge hub initiative, setting up of a Ministry of IT are some of the clear indications of the President’s support.
“ICTA, with its ICBP program, made a significant impact in multiple areas to bootstrap the growth during the last five years, the EDB, with its focus on taking Sri Lanka to the global market supported many market development activities, and BOI, with encouraging inward investments. In both Government and private education, IT/BPO was made a priority to achieve the staggering 100% growth in employment numbers during this time.”
“We also witnessed the emergence of a vibrant start-up ecosystem with several angel funding initiatives and major mentor network led by SLASSCOM member companies. We witnessed a marked increase in new tech ventures starting up compared to the beginning of 2007,” Ratnayake noted.
“As we look back, it’s clear that our billion dollar shared aspiration helped catalyse all the stakeholders to achieve this tremendous growth. It helped to create a network of collaborators and build an energetic team at SLASSCOM. As we look forward, for the next 10 years, we see tremendous opportunity to build from where we are today. We feel very optimistic about our ability to embark on the next big wave of growth.”