Six new mobile technology companies with innovative solutions are likely to be born today as the end result of an intensive six-week start-up incubator run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Accelerating Information Technology Innovation (MIT AITI) initiative in collaboration with the University of Moratuwa (UOM).
At the event, six teams of young entrepreneurs from UOM will pitch their mobile software startups before an audience of distinguished guests from industry, academia and Government. Their goal will be to attract seed funding and, ultimately, build sustainable and profitable enterprises.
The potential of these startups is so great that for the first time in the nation’s history, all three of Sri Lanka’s major mobile operators – Dialog, Mobitel, and Etisalat – are cooperating to co-sponsor the event.
Nearly 100 Sri Lankan luminaries are set to attend this invitation-only event, which will take place at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo this afternoon.
The event is intended by its organisers to serve as a catalyst for technology entrepreneurship in the Sri Lankan market, which is rich in technical talent. “Our programme is meant not only to produce companies, but to increase both innovator and investor confidence in a market whose time has come,” said Samidh Chakrabarti, Lead Entrepreneurship Instructor with MIT AITI.
Judging and feedback of the companies’ pitches and products will be provided by industry leaders such as Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat and pioneering entrepreneurs of WSO2 and Microimage. Awards for outstanding business, technical and social innovation will also be presented.
The MIT AITI programme in Sri Lanka commenced this year on 27th June. During the six-week programme, three MIT-affiliated instructors have been coaching a select group of 29 UOM students in how to build software start-ups. The teams have undergone rigorous training in both business and technology en route to developing mobile apps that provide innovative solutions to important problems.
The teams were tasked with not just planning, but also executing every facet of creating a start-up, from engineering to finance to marketing and sales. With the assistance of local mentors, they have been working tirelessly to get their companies off the ground. One of these companies may well become Sri Lanka’s next big success story. On demo day, they will reveal themselves for the first time.
Since its inception in 2000, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Accelerating Information Technology Innovation programme has been operating in partnership with universities across seven nations. The programme focuses on promoting global economic development by cultivating a new generation of technology entrepreneurs around the world. This year marks MIT AITI’s inaugural programme in Sri Lanka.