27th April 2009; Colombo, Sri Lanka: Technology driven globalization is creating unprecedented opportunities for anyone from anywhere to create business in a way which was unimaginable several years ago. The next generation of Google, Microsoft, FaceBook and YouTube can come from anywhere in the world. The potential to create significant business in the globalized world will only be limited by one’s imagination.
20 young, bright and aspiring graduate entrepreneurs, selected for the their innovative business ideas were trained on business planning and enterprise start-up in a five day residential workshop series conducted by two eminent enterprise trainers from the UK. This workshop was conducted as the second stage of the Graduate Enterprise Challenge ’09.
British Council and Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) have come together to lay the foundation of technology entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. Graduate Enterprise Challenge ’09 (GEC) is a business plan competition that is open to undergraduate and graduate students in Sri Lanka. It is jointly organised by the British Council and SLASSCOM Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum.
The workshop participants were chosen from a business idea competition held in March 2009. 11 teams were selected based on their innovation of idea, use of ICT and feasibility of their proposed business ideas.
Two members from each team participated in the residential workshop held from 28 March to 1 April. The workshop was jointly conducted by Lionel Bunting from University of Central Lancashire and Prof Gareth McCormick from Leeds Metropolitan University. Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) an enterprise training organisation in Sri Lanka also facilitated the workshop by conducting a business simulation game.
During the workshop participants learned essential areas of business planning such as business models, market research, competition, market segmentation, e-Marketing, product pricing and sales forecasting. Each team also had to present their business idea in the form of an “elevator pitch” thereby training them on selling their business idea or plan within few minutes. Their presentations were evaluated by the trainers as well as members of the GEC ’09 organising committee and were given immediate feedback.
The final stage of this program will consist of mentoring the participants to prepare their business plans and to present them to potential investors. The 11 teams are currently preparing their business plans.
Upon completing the workshop, Madhumal Gunetileke an undergraduate student from the University of Moratuwa said, “I am sure I speak on behalf of all the others when I say that it was truly a life changing experience for all of us. Though we went there to learn some tips on starting businesses and writing business plans, I believe we all got a lot more out of it than we ever thought initially and we are looking forward to the competition up ahead.”
All parties interested in joining this event as potential investors are welcomed to contact Eranda Ginige Manager Education Partnerships, British Council Sri Lanka on 0114 521521 .