By Devin Jayasundera
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) which is celebrated world wide from November 14 to 20 was launched in Sri Lanka at the American Centre last week.
The ceremony was attended by senior members of the Young Entrepreneurs Sri Lanka (YESL) and the Secretary to Higher Education Ministry Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne.
The Global Entrepreneurship week is founded upon in order to create a platform to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity and to empower the entrepreneurial spirit within the individuals.
It is designed to harness the power of entrepreneurship in young people and prepare them to be innovators and business owners while increasing their networks through local and global events.
The key note speaker of the event YESL Director Suresh de Mel highlighted the significance of creating an entrepreneurial friendly culture in the country stating, “Successful ventures are always started by a simple idea where it inspired them to take risk and build innovative products and services.”
Regarding the challenges and opportunities that entrepreneurs face in today’s world he said that even today amidst economic turmoil in most countries entrepreneurship is still encouraged by governments and seen as a key factor in reviving these economies.
The opportunity gaps that exist around the world have been a persistent issue that has discouraged talented people to overcome their obstacles and reach for higher success in their endeavours.
YESL believes that talent is distributed evenly but for many ambitious and creative people do not have the opportunity to implement their ideas and take use of their talents. These injustices should be recognised and society should thrive for a more equitable 21st century.
Another objective of the GEW is the sense of common purpose. De Mel noted that entrepreneurs have a desire to creative freedom and the desire to be a part of something larger than themselves and their companies.
GEW will assist these entrepreneurs in achieving the said second desire by creating networks to build partnerships which will enable them to fulfil their visions more effectively.
Through the events of the GWE the organisers hope to change attitudes and aspirations of young people. “Who young people look at and celebrate makes a huge difference in their lives and it enables them to cultivate positive behavioural straits that would benefit country and society.”
In regard to the high levels of unemployment in many countries De Mel noted that the increasing unemployment is due to the pace of job creation is not keeping up with the growth among the under 30 population.
The GWE week helps to address this ‘Youth Bulge’ by providing a platform for exchange of ideas and models to motivate budding entrepreneurs and this will help to resolve many issues regarding unemployment.
According to Dr. Navaratne, the University system hopes to produce about 1500 entrepreneurs in the next two, three years and they have already implemented an entrepreneurship programme at University of Moratuwa with the help of YESL. He said, “Through these initiatives we hope to produces graduates who could create jobs rather than ones who seek for jobs.”
YESL President Patrick Amarasinghe remarked that the overall objective of the YESL programmes is to create self dependent individuals who won’t be a burden for the country. He also said the recent programmes conducted by YESL in the Universities will encourage the students to embrace the entrepreneurial culture to their lives.
The proceedings of the event were simultaneously telecasted to the American Corner in Jaffna.