Tuesday, 4 November 2014 00:22
By Waruni Paranagamage
Marking its third consecutive year, ‘Sahasak Nimavum’, the national invention exhibition organised by the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC), which functions under the Ministry of Technology and Research, was inaugurated at the SLECC on Friday by Minister of Technology and Research Patali Champika Ranawaka.
The exhibition, which continued over the weekend, is the only national level exhibition that is open to the inventors across the country who represent various groups such as students, university students and professionals as well as all innovators which that have identified in various fields.
Over 200 selected Sri Lankans innovators displayed their inventions and innovations under 13 technical fields. There were many students from rural areas in the country among the exhibitors.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Champika Ranawaka said there is a lack of investment in the inventions and innovations sector in Sri Lanka due to unavailability of cheap labour and financial support.
“In Sri Lanka the key demand is led by the global middle class and their daily expenditure varies from $ 10 to $ 100, so the innovations and the inventions of the country must aim for this community to get the maximum benefits,” Minister said.
The Minister added that Sri Lanka couldn’t derive the maximum benefit from innovators in the country such as Ray Wijewardene who believed in development through green technology. “Ray Wijewardene’s vision was ‘grow your food, grow your agriculture and grow your fertiliser’ to achieve development in the production sector, but we still import them.”
Ranawaka emphasised that Sri Lanka can achieve sustainable economic development not through casinos and tourism, but by developing the innovation market.
“Some time ago Badulla District experienced drought and nowadays it is facing earth slips. People in drought-stricken parts in the country face hunger. The time has come to move on to green technology to achieve sustainable development,” he added.
One of SLIC’s main concerns is finding access to the market to commercialise their inventions. Towards this end, SLIC has entered into partnerships with a number of organisations such as the Sri Lanka Angel Network, SLASSCOM, Brandix, Elpitiya Plantations, Hemas, Jinasena Group and Watawala Tea.
Through the SLIC, inventors are provided technology support through ITI and NERD. SLINTEC has also made a commitment to provide incubation support to suitable inventions.
SLIC Commissioner Deepal Sooriyaarachchi said that the Commission was making every effort to link up innovators with investors to obtain financial support to develop their products. He added that SLIC would be recommending 10 inventors for next year’s International Invention Exhibition in Geneva.
Parallel to the exhibition, a commemorative stamp recognising pioneering Sri Lankan inventor Vidyajothi Dr. Ray Wijewardene was also issued by the Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust.
Pix by Shehan Gunasekara