SLASSCOM and the OBA of Zahira College Organize Techstars Start-up Weekend
The Sri Lanka Association of Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) have pledged many of their initiatives towards the service of developing tech start-ups and encouraging the nation’s future workforce to pursue careers in the IT/ BPM sector, contributing to their current outlook as a guiding light in the development of the IT/ BPM industry in the country. The Old Boys Association of Zahira College, Colombo has joined hands with SLASSCOM to organize the Techstars Start-up Weekend to educate the youth of the nation about the basics of how a tech start-up company is established and operated.
The program was conducted between the 10th and the 12th of September of 2021 and was well attended by more than 200 participants that were guided through the process of the establishment of a tech start-up; from ideation through to creation and provided them with a comprehensive foundational understanding of the operational aspects of a tech start-up.
The panel of speakers at the Techstars Start-up Weekend featured a truly star-studded lineup. The participants of the event were educated by Bathiya Jayakodi, the Managing Director of BNS productions and one half of Sri Lanka’s preeminent pop music group BNS. He was joined by Mohommed Mafaz, the Co-Founder and Chief Story Teller at Show and Tell, Sri Lanka’s first dedicated presentation design and training agency, that helps professionals and organizations transform how they communicate. Senela Jayasuriya, the Founder and CEO of Women Empowered Global also spoke on the weekend with enthusiasm and inspirational wisdom. Anjana Somatilake, the Co-Founder and CTO of revolutionary online insurance broker InsureMe.lk and Mohammed Fawaz, the Founder and CEO of pioneering Sri Lankan online educational platform known as CurveUp rounded out the panel of illustrious speakers.
Each of the speakers were given the fore to speak on their experience and to provide valuable insights to a large number of eager participants looking to make their own journeys into the burgeoning start-up sector of the country. Bathiya Jayakodi provided a stirring presentation that inspired them and guided the attendees through the journey of BNS Productions as they built their organization around technology. A presentation of a Lead Start-up Canvas model was very ably presented by Mohomed Fawaz, which outlined the essentials one must be accounting for when establishing a start-up
Senela Jayasuriya directed her segment to encouraging, inspiring and empowering all potential women technological entrepreneurs, stating that the world needs more women to be part of this journey and that the time to act is upon us. This was no doubt a well-received segment that encouraged many female participants.
Seeing the development of business skills as a critical element in one’s journey as an entrepreneur, Anjana Somatilake of InsureMe.lk provided the attendees of the program with a detailed and well informed guide of the product development cycle. The segment on the improvement of presentation skills was received as a game-changing experience as participants were guided through it by Mohammed Mafaz of Show and Tell.
The program also played host to a competition that was won by team Clean Tech, where 13 year-old youngster Yusuf Jasny and his team proposed the Smart Bin; a waste-bin with tracking and monitoring capabilities. The sheer breadth and variety of information presented at the event was lauded by many as they felt it to be a transformative experience. Speaking on the value provided by the event, one of its principal organizers Fathi Mohammed stated, “The business landscape is changing at a rapid pace due to digitalization. Despite these changes, especially local businesses and entrepreneurs lack an understanding of the process of digitalization and we hope we have delivered that understanding through the Techstars Start-up Weekend.”
The development of the start-up sector of Sri Lanka is seen by many as a key step in the establishment of the country as an economically stable hub for commercial and technological markets. The local government’s target of growing the start-up sector by 1,000 companies by the year 2025 is a driver that SLASSCOM is working hard to achieve and with the success of the Techstars Start-up Weekend they have taken one more step towards achieving that target.