Channa (left) and Chandula having a conversation about Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem
From left: Sandaru, Amal, Chandula, Channa, Aruna, and Suwin
In an era where traditional value chains are increasingly being challenged by innovative business models such as Airbnb, Alibaba and Uber, Price waterhouseCooper’s Startup Accelerator and Lanka Impact Investing Network have joined forces to similarly disrupt the startup ecosystem.
As a developing nation, Sri Lanka too has been increasingly looking up to startups and their unconventional methods to help change the monotony of the business environment and help give Sri Lanka that all-important boost it needs to invigorate and disrupt industries. Therefore, to further strengthen the foundation of startups across Sri Lanka, PwC’s Startup Accelerator and Lanka Impact Investing Network (LIIN) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to guide, mentor and fund startups to reach their full potential. In addition, both organisations will have a deeper focus on the social innovation and sustainability aspects of the startups and entrepreneurs.
The MoU was signed by PwC Sri Lanka Advisory Leader Channa Manoharan and LIIN Chairman Chandula Abeywickrema, to collaborate and utilise resources to empower startups to expand locally, regionally and internationally.
PwC’s Startup Accelerator will utilise its business expertise and provide startups with the necessary guidance on business modelling, valuations and investor pitches, capital raising while also offering a range of advisory services to LIIN recommended startups. The agreement also allows PwC to engage in networking sessions arranged by LIIN.
“Our ultimate aim through this MoU with LIIN is to build a strong and sustainable network of startups, which has the ability to drive the ecosystem forward despite the challenges,” Manoharan said. He added that startups can play a more proactive role in driving the country’s economy forward.
During the ceremony, Abeywickrema stated, “This partnership between LIIN and PwC is surely a stepping stone towards driving entrepreneurial DNA in the local ecosystem. We are hoping to assist startups reach their ultimate goals, and find game-changing startups for investors to invest in.” LIIN has been instrumental in creating the country’s first platform for social entrepreneurs to gain funding. In addition, LIIN is aiming to launch a new initiative facilitating early stage entrepreneurs and startups to get funded in a relatively short period of time.
Established in 2018, the PwC Startup Accelerator aims to contribute to the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem’s development via incubation, mentoring, advisory services, capital raising and knowledge partnerships. PwC’s Startup Accelerator has been an important stakeholder in the ecosystem and contributed to uplifting the local innovation landscape, driven by an experienced team and the access to PwC’s global network. With initiatives such as PwC Germany’s NextLevel team and PwC India’s FinTech Startup program, PwC aims to utilise their experience as well as these global networks to work together with LIIN in order to achieve the objectives set forth in the MoU.