SLASSCOM WTech Forum’s Dr. Harshani Perera gears to boost women-led start-ups
The Women Technopreneurs Forum (WTech Forum) is an initiative by SLASSCOM to create positive change across the start-up ecosystem in Sri Lanka for women and to harness the potential of female
tech entrepreneurs to contribute to the achievement of SLASSCOM’s goal of 1,000 start-ups by 2025. It aims to support, promote and grow women tech entrepreneurs or ‘Technopreneurs’, start-ups and businesses with the potential to generate additional export revenue into the country.
This forward-thinking forum is headed by Inqbaytor CEO Dr. Harshani Perera. She is driven by the passion to augment the forum’s skill development, mentoring, funding and PR pillars through her unique expertise, the appointment promises to take SLASSCOM’s WTech Forum forward in its journey of enriching and uplifting the country’s tech industry.
The WTech Forum aims to make an impact within Sri Lanka’s tech ecosystem through the facilitation of entrepreneurship development initiatives specifically tailored to support existing and potential female tech entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs using digital platforms at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. It focuses on encouraging more females to pursue tech start-ups and on helping women overcome barriers through mentoring, skill development, networking and funding.
Having begun her career as a software engineer at Virtusa and Zaizi, Harshani embarked on her journey in entrepreneurship while pursuing her PhD at Murdoch University, Australia and co-founded Inqbaytor.
During the pandemic, Inqbaytor reset and repositioned its business strategies for stability and growth using tech by launching a revolutionary travel agent super app called ‘Ticket Gadget’ dedicated to small and medium travel companies that gave them the power to continue working even during lockdowns. This travel app is now the largest online travel consolidator in Sri Lanka and the third largest International Air Transport Association (IATA) accredited agent in Sri Lanka.
The head of the WTech Forum had stated her intention to introduce impactful initiatives that focus on breaking stereotypes and empower women to become technopreneurs. Noting the difficulties women have along their entrepreneurial journey, WTech has planned a series of programs to educate them on scaling, pitching, fundraising and much more.
From her own observations as an active participant in Sri Lanka’s start-up sphere, Dr. Harshani stated: “The first thing to work on is changing your mindset. Stop thinking of the past, and don’t wait for things to go back to what it was, because it will not. Instead, look for new market opportunities, and if you play your cards right, it’s the perfect opportunity to disrupt the market using tech.
“Social distancing and lockdowns have now created the urgency and need for businesses to strengthen their digital capabilities. The beauty of technology when applied right is that it doesn’t just open up paths to survive, it can make you thrive. It doesn’t matter how dark the cloud is, there’s always a silver lining, and it is up to you to find it.