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The vitality for that budding entrepreneur: Venture Engine 2014

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By Radhi De Silva Many reveal at some point or another of becoming an entrepreneur, and having their own ideas made into profitable business ventures. But making such dream a reality is not as easy as it seems as it requires much effort, capital, know how, etc. as explained by Rayhana Iyne who was at one point in time a budding entrepreneur such as that, who had a business idea but very few elements in hand to successfully execute it. But all changed for Rayhana when she applied for Venture Engine Competition 2013, as she is  now the founder and chief executive officer of Glitteray Ltd., which is the very first online store for silver handmade jewellery in Sri Lanka. Since becoming the 2nd runners up at the Venture Engine Competition last year Rayhana has managed to make Glitteray, a fully established company which is making high revenue locally and internationally whilst expanding its business by recruiting more jewellery designers. The most surprising part is that all of this has happened within a short span of just one year after competing in the competition. Rayhana says that her dream of designing handmade silver jewellery came about after completing school and contacting a few who were engaged in the business of trading gems, through her father. The jewellery that Rayhana designed were sold via facebook whilst also setting up pop up stalls at certain locations around Colombo. Even though Rayhana was determined to succeed in her business it did not take off as expected but she says opportunity struck when she submitting her business plan to Venture Engine Competition 2013 which is organised by the Lanka Angel Network and the Indian Angel Network. From 118 applicants she was one of the 25 who was selected to participate in this competition, where her business plan was presented directly to potential investors over a small period of time. During this time she was also provided with proper training in finance, management, marketing and also the legal knowledge required to start up a business by the organisers. According to Rayhana, apart from the proper training she also understood that it was not just about sharing your idea with the potential investors that mattered, but actually establishing confidence in yourself and also the potential investors that she has what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and that the investors should invest in her. The uniqueness of this competition is that it involves high risk investments being made by 3rd party investors in the equity of the company and nothing else, which is something anyone would hardly find even with lending institutions as they require collateral in order to provide any borrowings. Therefore, this competition can be considered the perfect solution for any budding entrepreneur, especially in Sri Lanka. A blessing For Rayhana it was definitely a blessing to have gone to the finals of the competition and to actually have successfully found investors who wanted to invest in her business with a capital that she could never have been able to obtain from any other party and also the assistance provided by these investors throughout has been definitely appreciated in order to actually make her business idea a reality. Some might actually be afraid to pitch in their business ideas at this competition thinking that their business idea might be taken up by someone else but Rayhana says it is not the case in this competition as the investors who get involved with the competition are those who are well established in the business world and are actually looking to assist those budding entrepreneurs to start up on their own. The Indian Angel Network having collaborated with the Lankan Angel Network, number of competitors who took part in this competition has been able to branch out their business to India, and for some even further which is what Rayhana hopes to do in the future. If you are a budding entrepreneur looking for that big break as Rayhana Iyne did, well now it is the perfect opportunity to apply for that big break by pitching in your business plan to the Venture Engine Competition 2014, before 26 May. For more information on the competition, the application process and resources visit the official Venture Engine website www.ventureengine.lk. Applicants can submit their applications via email to submissions@ventureengine.lk. For further assistance regarding Venture Engine and the competition contact inquiries@ventureengine.lk.

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