The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Start-up Labs (MIT GSL) promotes entrepreneurship by nurturing young technology entrepreneursin emerging nations, to innovate in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs). MIT GSL has operated 43 programs in multiple sites in fifteen countries and 150 MIT Global Start-up Labs instructors have mentored over 2000 participants internationally. An average of 83% of MIT GSL participant-graduates have either registered their own start-up or plan to in the near future.
The collaboration between Brandix, the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) and the MIT GSL- Sri Lanka Challenge 2014 programme called ‘The Demo Day’ was successfully held on Wednesday, 30th of July 2014 at Hilton Residence Colombo with the seven finalist start-ups including Dolawa, Eagel Eye, Organic Hug, Softbeetles, D-care, Topnotch and ShopIn. The finalists are provided with a SLASSCOM membership fee waiver for the first year to help them with their start-up businesses. The four MIT instructors tasked with guiding the seven start-ups through their development to prototype level in time for the Demo Day are Darshini Thiagarajan (Entrepreneurship Lead), Champika Fernando (Technical Lead), Tiffany Yeh (Entrepreneurship Assistant) and Sarah Edris (Technical Assistant).
The Brandix Group has pledged to fund the MIT-GSL Sri Lanka programme for five years in collaboration with SLASSCOM and MIT. The Global Start-up programme will be conducted twice a year to current undergraduates and recent graduates of Sri Lankan universities.
On the Friday 29th of August 2014 at Cinnamon Grand Colombo, A celebratory lunch was hosted by SLASSCOM to the winners including Dolawa, Organic Hug and Eagle Eye of the MIT GSL - Sri Lanka. SLASSCOM had invited board representatives as special guests; including Jayantha De Silva – Chairman (Managing Director of IFS R&D Pvt Ltd), Madu Ratnayake– Chairman Emeritus (Senior VP & General Manager of Virtusa) and Ruwindhu Peiris- Director (Managing Director of Stax Research Inc). This was a networking opportunity provided for the Entrepreneurs of MIT Global Start-up – Sri Lanka.
SLASSCOM feels very optimistic about the ability to embark on a challenging journey towards helping 1000 start-ups under the Vision 2022 to support and empower tech-entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.