SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards set to revolutionise Sri Lanka’s innovation space

Friday, 11 December 2020 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum Board Director Anura De Alwis
WTech Board Director Shehani Seneviratne
Board Director Regional Development Haridhu Abeygoonaratne 

In its journey of gathering momentum to uplift Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM sector through homegrown

innovations and startups, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum and Regional Forum of Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) is organising the chamber’s Innovations Awards competition, aptly named ‘SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards’, under the Island of Ingenuity concept, to take place on a virtual platform connecting all nine districts of the island. 

“As we head towards our Vision 2022 of achieving $ 5 billion in revenue, 200,000 jobs and 1,000 start-ups, the emphasis on encouraging innovation-centric SME startups is crucial,” shares SLASSCOM Chairman Channa Manoharan, adding that the chamber’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum is off to a promising head start, having kicked off an ambitious agenda aimed at building a self-sustaining platform to identify, mentor and uplift local start-ups, through the Ingenuity Awards.

“We have decentralised to regional in search of innovations and start-up potential, and are targeting applicants from three levels, provincially: schools, universities and commercial ventures,” explains Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum Board Director Anura De Alwis. “We are also combining these preliminary provincial competitions to a national level to identify the best innovators in Sri Lanka, so that we can recognise them, provide funding opportunities, international pitching breaks and accelerate their growth. Hence the competition is a launchpad for a journey of entrepreneurial success.”

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum is also collaborating with the Women Technopreneurs Forum (WTech Forum) to enhance the Ingenuity Awards to recognise Sri Lanka’s next generation of female innovators, thus filling the current gap of a platform of such nature, scope and potential. “We want to recognise upcoming female entrepreneurs while acknowledging those females who have contributed to the economy through tech innovations and entrepreneurship,” shares WTech Board Director Shehani Seneviratne. 

The competition will have 10 broad categories: commercial ventures (companies and freelancers) who will be able to apply in product, disruptor, delivery innovation, internal process innovation, frameworks, service and BPM categories. 

“The Regional Forum will build capacity in the provincial areas of the country to generate an eco-system that helps attract IT graduates join the industry. We are partnering with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum on this great initiative to recognise provincial innovators, disruptors, entrepreneurs and commercial establishments who will uplift the Digital Economy of Sri Lanka,” says Board Director for Regional Development Haridhu Abeygoonaratne.

Anura added, “The competition will bring out the best innovators in IT/BPM and then we will transfer them to our accelerator ‘Start Up Sri Lanka’ to groom them.” The accelerator will consist of government agencies, facilitators, facilities, and community partners who will provide mentoring, curriculum design, learning and development and investors.” 

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum is driven by multiple objectives: to identify novel iwwnnovators with potential to be successful entrepreneurs, to uplift and give equal opportunities for female innovators to rise up, to portray Sri Lanka as a hub for innovation, increase its global innovation index ranking and create a big impact in the forthcoming years to achieve export targets.

“With multiple impacts at both industry and social levels, the competition will induce job creation and peer learning, enable services like Human Resource Management, Finance and General Management, while creating a conducive and sustainable entrepreneurship/start-up culture in the local industry. We will increase opportunities and chances for the rural entrepreneurs to be more successful as well,” further explained Anura.

Participants are encouraged to try out their ideas to commence their own business and contribute to the growth of the industry and the country. “You don’t have to go through the traditional channels, because entrepreneurs have to think differently,” says Anura, adding that SLASSCOM is “opening doors, making connections and taking the right steps to bring young innovators’ future forward.”