Top row from left: ICTA CEO Eng. Mahinda B. Herath, ICTA Chief Digital Economy Officer Anura De Alwis, ICTA Director – Start-up Ecosystem Development Sachindra Samararatne, and ICTA Senior Manager – Start-up Ecosystem Development Tamasha Fernando
Bottom row from left: IEEE Sri Lanka Chair – Student Activities Dhammika Marasingh, Hatch Head of Programs Minuri Adasuriya, DreamSpace Academy Co-Founder/Director Kishoth Navaretnarajah, and Yarl IT Hub Organising Chair – Yarl Greek Challenge Abarnah Kirupananda
The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex ICT institution of the Government and a catalyst in driving the start-up ecosystem forward, recently launched the ‘10,000 Ideas’ national tech innovation program with an aim to empower the next generation of tech entrepreneurs along with start-up ecosystem enablers.
Facilitated by ICTA in collaboration with start-up ecosystem enablers and partners for entrepreneurs, ‘10,000 Ideas’ sets the tone to achieve ICTA’s vision of establishing 1,000 tech startups by 2024.
ICTA, through this initiative, supports anyone with an innovative technology-based business idea, from school-aged children onwards, who are willing to kick start their entrepreneurship journey by bringing them together to a globally scalable platform for them to come up with innovative ideas, validate a business plan whilst helping them to convert their ideas to successful businesses. In doing so, ICTA along with the partners hope to generate high quality and globally scalable business ideas from all parts of the country and benchmark global standards for tech entrepreneurship. ICTA will then facilitate these individuals/groups by connecting them further with the ecosystem of partners who will help them through mentoring, training, networking, funding etc.
Commenting on the ICTA’s latest entrepreneurship drive, Anura De Alwis, ICTA Chief Digital Economy Officer shared: “We are indeed proud to set the stage for the next generation to thrive as successful entrepreneurs. Tech or tech-enabled businesses have a huge potential to succeed in the global arena with the level of assistance we can offer together with our partners.
“Our core message is to encourage innovative business ideas as ICTA and our partners are there to guide you in the entrepreneurship journey under this ‘10,000 Ideas’ initiative. This would indeed be a collaborative effort through which we can contribute to the growth of the economy and achieve individual aspirations as well.”
While creating a level playing field for more and more ideas to emerge from every corner of the island, ‘10,000 Ideas’ will be instrumental in creating a supportive structure for entrepreneurial activities in Sri Lanka, empowering community building and the education sector with an entrepreneurship-led approach and creating interest in entrepreneurship from the very young ages.
“We have implemented numerous ideation-level programs through the strong network of 20 University Student Branches of IEEE Sri Lanka Section, including University Level Hackathons and National Level Programs like IEEE Innovation Nation Sri Lanka. With the involvement through these, we have seen that it is needed to have a sound support system while having their ideas brought up to a recognisable level through mentors via a good standardised framework.
“Filling the gap between having an idea and building that up to a product, the ‘10,000’ Ideas campaign allows future entrepreneurs to rise above the ideation level. This initiative will give start-up industry massive support from the ecosystem collaborators of the program. With that, we at IEEE are more than happy to get on board with this initiative, which hopes to reach towards the common goals of Sri Lanka together,” says IEEE Sri Lanka Chair – Student Activities Dhammika Marasinghe.
“The ‘10,000’ idea launch is a great start to inspire youth to identify some crucial problems and to find solutions with the help of technology. The structured process, which will be introduced through this program, will definitely help someone to bring their ideas to life and start their own venture by providing guidance and mentoring. Once these companies start growing and scaling, they will create a lot of job opportunities. It is also crucial to take this to the rural areas of the island and to work at the grassroot level too,” said Yarl IT Hub Organising Chair – Yarl Greek Challenge Abarnah Kirupananda.