SLASSCOM signs MoU with Uva Startup Hub to fuel regional collaboration

Wednesday, 21 July 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The MoU signing between SLASSCOM and Uva Startup Hub


With the aim of expanding regional inclusivity, Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uva Startup Hub – a non-profit foundation renowned for its commitment to facilitate technological development in the Uva region.

The MoU was signed between SLASSCOM Immediate past Chairman Channa Manoharan and Uva Startup Hub Chairman Kalinga Gunawardhana, further cementing the existing mutual collaborations and relationship between SLASSCOM and the Uva Startup Hub. 

Through the collaboration instilled by this MoU, Uva Startup Hub will extend entrepreneurial, startups, SME, capacity and skills building, technology diffusion, and gender specific initiatives of SLASSCOM in the Uva region across the IT/BPM companies, tech start-ups, higher education institutes as well as schools. These initiatives will enable access to foreign markets, internationally organised competitions and exchange programmes, access to investor funding, mentorships for startups and scaleup, support for women led tech startups and businesses, and skills and capacity building through workshops and industry university collaborations. 

SLASSCOM in turn will actively support to expand the IT-BPM industry in Uva Province, with initiatives such as the proposed Trace Expert Factory project which will be established in the outskirts of Ella tourism zone by inviting SLASSCOM member companies to establish their satellite offices in Uva.

SLASSCOM Chairperson Sandra De Zoysa outlining the future plans with the Uva Startup Hub added that both parties will place priority in helping other regions emulate the model of Uva province in order to launch similar chambers across the country. “SLASSCOM is focused on expanding regional reach in order to develop the IT-BPM sector across Sri Lanka, therefore having regional benchmark chambers such as Uva Startup Hub is an inspiration and a great example of what can be achieved with close collaboration,” she said.

SLASSCOM has been working with Uva Startup Hub for around two-three years, and they have been a great strength,” added Haridhu Abeygoonaratne who initiated this MoU whilst holding the Board Lead position for Regional Development at SLASSCOM earlier this year, citing that this MoU will lead the next level of regional focus for the industry. 

SLASSCOM Immediate Past Chairman Channa Manoharan explained that the need to ensure close partnerships and collaborations with regional chambers was an important factor: “Uva Startup Hub has been a trailblazer in the region in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, and is an excellent example and yardstick for others to follow. SLASSCOM looks forward to supporting Uva Startup Hub to integrate its member companies more closely with all activities of SLASSCOM, including all our forums, policy influencing programmes and upskilling initiatives to accelerate their growth trajectory.”

Launched in 2016, Uva Startup Hub comprises a community of entrepreneurs, investors, professionals and freelancers jointly working towards bringing foreign currency to the Uva Province through startup investments in IT and technology. Backed by IT firms in the Uva Province, the chamber is committed to supporting regional IT organisations and professionals to set up startup businesses, start freelancing careers and develop skills. 

Ceydigital Founder/CEO and Sabaragamuwa University Lecturer Kalinga Gunawardhana, speaking on the close collaboration between Uva Startup Hub and SLASSCOM stated, “We have worked closely with SLASSCOM for the last couple of years and with this collaboration, we can expect more formal initiatives to enhance the capacity and startup culture in the island.”

Overall, the partnership with SLASSCOM will be a platform for regional entrepreneurs and technopreneurs to acquire more skills, knowledge, referrals, networking opportunities and access to funding, whilst being a part of the national chamber’s many initiatives to boost entrepreneurship

Inclusive growth is a key objective for SLASSCOM, in its journey of achieving its vision of growing the IT and BPO industry of Sri Lanka to generate revenue of $ 5 billion in exports creating 200,000 highly skilled workforce and facilitating 1,000 startups by 2025. As such the chamber is keen to ensure that Sri Lanka’s entrepreneurial capabilities are uplifted and will look at initiating similar collaborations with relevant partners across the country.