‘HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards’ presented by British Council was officially launched at a press conference held on Wednesday 13 August at the British Council Library. ‘HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards’ is a business plan contest aimed at recognising and supporting emerging young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka with seed capital to start up their businesses.
The competition is open to Sri Lankan postgraduates, undergraduates and students aged 16 to 26 years representing universities, private higher education institutions, technical and vocational institutions and professional training bodies in Sri Lanka. Students are encouraged to submit their business ideas as individuals or in teams under any of the given industry categories: creative industries, tourism and hospitality, information technology and telecommunications, engineering, agriculture, education & health and power & energy.
The business plans will be selected through a screening process which will include interviews with the individuals/teams during which they will be evaluated on their business ideas based on innovation and feasibility.
Winners of the ‘HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards’ will receive cash prizes as seed capital as support in establishing their businesses. The winning individuals/teams will receive LKR 500,000, the first-runner up LKR 200,000 and the second runner-up LKR 100,000. This year two commending awards of LKR 50,000 each will also be presented.
Each winning team/individual will have to take part in a mentoring program organised by the British Council and HSBC. This program is aimed at nurturing and guiding the students from an idea stage through to the implementation stage of their start-up businesses. The cash prizes will be awarded to the individuals/teams in phases, upon successful completion of the tasks outlined by the mentors during the mentoring program.
HSBC CEO for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Patrick Gallagher, said: “HSBC is pleased to be part of the Youth Enterprise Awards for the fourth year as we get ready to recognise and reward a new group of business leaders.
The program has supported many entrepreneurs, in helping them turn their business concepts into viable businesses through real life business challenges. It is truly rewarding to be part of such a project that helps further our commitment to helping young people reach their potential. We look forward to this year’s event and encourage more participants this year.”
Addressing the gathering at the launch, British Council Country Director Keith Davies, said: “The British Council is an organisation that strives to create opportunities for people worldwide. Our joint project with HSBC helps us do exactly that. We are proud to launch HSBC-Youth Enterprise Awards, presented by the British Council, for the fourth consecutive time in Sri Lanka. With Sri Lanka prospering, we look forward to receiving quality applications from all-over the island which will help nurture healthy competition among aspiring young people.”
Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Nawaratne, was also present at the press conference. He endorsed the business plan contest saying, “Sri Lanka needs job givers. We need entrepreneurs. The British Council and HSBC are jointly doing a great job in supporting young entrepreneurs and I wish them all the best for this great event. I encourage all students interested in starting up their own businesses to participate in this competition and take a step closer in realising their dreams.”
The British Council works closely with the Ministry of Higher Education, University Grants Commission, Vice – Chancellors and lecturers in Sri Lanka and UK’s entrepreneurial universities in promoting graduate entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka where it helps to develop policies and programmes to develop entrepreneurship education within local universities.
A successful example is ‘IDEATORS – Next Generation Entrepreneurs’, a reality-TV enterprise competition organised by the British Council that has created mass-scale awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship education in Sri Lanka.
For more information about the HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards and to download application forms please visit: www.britishcouncil.lk/YEA. The deadline for submission of entries is 15 September 2014.