The Kandy IT/BPM Week’s event focusing on entrepreneurs and exporters, organised by SLASSCOM together with Export Development Board (EDB), was held on 11 June at Queen’s Hotel, Kandy. The first half of the event focused on how exporters could leverage through the existing ecosystem to grow their businesses and take their products to the global marketplace. Case studies and success stories were shared with 200 exporters and entrepreneurs who attended the event, providing them insights to challenges, opportunities and support available in the country.

Current market potential in different international markets and support available from the Government was presented by EDB Director Export Services Saman Maldeni. ICTA Program Manager, Industry Development Program Sachindra Samararatne shared insights on national IT/BPM strategy and the digital Sri Lanka plan. This was followed by a talk on how technology is disrupting exports by SECQUORO Consulting Founder/CEO Naresh Abeysekera citing trends and examples technology development impacting international trade.

Square Mobile Founder Tharindu Dasanayake shared the story of Square Mobile at the forum followed by a research backed presentation on the findings from the SLASSCOM study on the potential for setting up a BPM operation in Kandy by Ernst & Young Senior Director Praveen Ruberu. 

The second half of the program featured a thought provoking entrepreneurship workshop, which commenced with the launch of the report ‘Country Overview of the Start-up Ecosystem in Sri Lanka’ initiated by Startup Sri Lanka – a SLASSCOM initiative providing insights on growth barriers, opportunities, skills and future outlook for start-ups in Sri Lanka compiled through surveying 300 participants including, entrepreneurs, investors and key stakeholders. The report was formally launched by SLASSCOM Chairman Mano Sekaram and SLASSCOM Vice Chairman and Head of the Entrepreneurship forum Ruwindhu Peiris. This report can be accessed online via www.slasscom.lk/reports.

The launch was followed by three inspiring knowledge sharing sessions by entrepreneurs and investors in the IT/BPM industry; Stax Managing Director Ruwindhu Peiris, Calcey Technologies CEO/Founder Mangala Karunaratne, Cinergix CEO and Co-founder Chandika Jayasundara and OpenArc Systems Management Ltd. Chairman/CEO Daya Hettiarachchi, who spoke about their experiences starting businesses in Sri Lanka, insights about the local start-up eco-system and policy and industry initiatives which are required to develop the eco-system further. The program also featured Ganidu Nanayakkara, inventor of the i-Helmet, who shared the journey of creating his brainchild.  The program wrapped up in a high note with a segment where the participants were able to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges for validation. This interactive session was well received by the participants who capitalised on the platform offered for them to obtain advice and validation. The judges of the panel included the speakers of the entrepreneurship workshop and Talliance Director Ashique M. Ali.