WTECH via the SLASSCOM Foundation to offer funding to support women technopreneurs
The Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM), the key catalyst for the country’s IT/BPM industry, who launched the SLASSCOM Foundation last year with the aim of establishing technology inclusivity and technology-enabled growth and development across the country, is embarking on several value driven projects to fuel more female-led tech startups during 2022.
Three long-term, sustainable Entrepreneurship Development Programmes are being launched that will be specifically region focused and will support female tech entrepreneurs across all regions to scale to the next level in their businesses. This will be enabled by equipping them with skills and competencies to develop a sound and viable business plan, improve their capacity to access funding and be granted funding required to scale. Another important focus area will be to support female entrepreneurs to adapt to digital platforms to gain the required market access and leverage on the IoI- Island of Ingenuity brand.
Further initiatives in the pipeline are directed towards Seed Funding, where SLASSCOM will champion funding from its member companies, with a % of this funding to be based on tech and non-Tech startups.
An Entrepreneur loan scheme is another key initiative to be launched in partnership with PWC, who will help structure a viable assessment scheme. They will also leverage the ICTA credit rating system already available and published and will collaborate with ICTA on certain stages of this scheme and programme. The entrepreneur will be expected to submit an MVP idea and the WTech Donar fund via the SLASSCOM Foundation will provide 50-75 % of funding. They would be issued this loan on interest rates below the current market interest rates.
Additionally, WTech is also structuring a startup grant scheme to fund deserving entrepreneurs who were impacted by the pandemic.
In 2021 WTech who also collaborated with NIBM for a Diploma for females entrepreneurs for which they are providing technical support for the participants who select a Tech project, the forum hopes this year to grant potential entrepreneurs who have committed to commence their tech business, a fully paid scholarship. The donations will be used encourage those aspiring to be entrepreneurs to gain the knowledge and skills required to commence their entrepreneurial journey.
Outlining the vision behind these initiatives Chairperson for SLASSCOM Ms. Sandra De Zoysa stated “whilst it makes economic and business sense to ensure that women entrepreneurs gain access to equal opportunities as their male counterparts, particularly
in the case of the technology and innovation space, many women face pronounced barriers when it comes to creating funding for their businesses. We hope to provide support to our talented female entrepreneurs through the many initiatives planned this year in giving access to funding which will encourage more female tech entrepreneurs to join the workforce and enhance female representation within the IT/BPM landscape”
Zahra Cader, Director- Consulting at PWC added “to empower growth via targeted support and financing for women-led businesses and putting them on a stronger footing for the future, will help to embed gender equality as a central priority for our collective future, and we are very happy to partner with SLASSCOM in this very timely initiative “.
The Wtech forum will support, promote and help women technopreneurs to make the best use of these funds to accelerate the growth of their start-ups within the country, and to connect them to global business opportunities.