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Dialog Axiata powers Venture Engine startup acceleration programme

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Supun Weerasinghe (left), Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata PLC and Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co- Founder/Managing Partner – BOV Capital

Supporting the viability of entrepreneurs against the backdrop of the pandemic and the challenging economic and operating environments posed by it, Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, once again powered the 2021 edition of the Venture Engine start-up acceleration programme as it has done since inception, with Dialog Television joining hands as the Pay TV Partner.

Founded by BOV Capital and the Indian Angel Network, Venture Engine is partnered by the Lankan Angel Network (LAN) and supported by Dialog Axiata PLC. Venture Engine has returned for its tenth year with plans to help innovative and scalable start-ups solve a genuine pain point. While the programme will look at Seed and Growth stage start-ups that are interested in scaling, it will also cater to entrepreneurs opting to submit new, early-stage business ideas with large addressable markets. Registrations are open for applicants until 12th November 2021 via www.ventureengine.lk.

This year’s Venture Engine programme will, for the fourth time, offer a special Impact Entrepreneurship Award that highlights for-profit Social Enterprises that are tackling pressing social, environmental, and economic issues in Sri Lanka. The programme is sponsored by promoted by Ford Foundation and Indian Venture Capital firm Aavishkaar. Other sponsors and partners for 2021 include Dialog Axiata PLC, ICTA, SL@100, Council for Start-ups, SLASSCOM, HATCH, KPMG, PwC, AOD, Shift and CPP.

Commenting, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC, Supun Weerasinghe said, “Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, has been a long-term partner of the Venture Engine programme and is pleased to once again join hands with the platform as the official Telecommunication and Pay TV Partner in our shared vision of nurturing and strengthening the Sri Lankan start-up ecosystem.”

Speaking on the initiative, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of BOV Capital said, “Venture Engine has been a catalyst in helping start-ups raise funding over the past 10 years. As a foremost funding platform in Sri Lanka, Venture Engine has funded over Rs. 2Bn investments into 35+ start-ups. We are proud that Dialog has continued to support venture engine since inception and shares our vision and goal to create exceptional companies in Sri Lanka.”



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Passport Office collaborates with banks to boost international monetary transfers from migrants

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Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal hands over a new account to a young migrant worker which he opened at the new HNB counter at the Passport Office yesterday, where Jonathan Alles, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of HNB was present. Pic by Thushara Athapaththu

by Sanath Nanayakkare

People’s Bank, National Savings Bank , Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka yesterday established new banking counters at the Department of Immigration and Emigration, at ‘Suhurupaya’, Battaramulla.

The initiative is intended support the Central Bank’s ongoing effort to boost the country’s foreign reserves by offering migrant workers access for safe, official remittance channels from the time they obtain new passports or renew their passports for international jobs.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka who was the chief guest of the opening ceremony said,” A lot of Sri Lankans go overseas for jobs and send their hard-earned money to Sri Lanka. Sometimes they face various issues when remitting money. So we thought we should provide the opportunity for them to open an account as they obtain their passports at the passport office which they can operate with greater ease and trust when sending money to their families from abroad. The Controller of Immigration and Emigration, his staff, the officials at the Central Bank and at other relevant banks worked in unison to establish their counters here just within a week. This shows that government institutions can collaborate with the private sector and quickly accomplish any task for the benefit of the country and its people. Our hard-working migrant workforce will enjoy the convenience and reliability of this service. As a result of it, more foreign money will flow into the country and the nation will reap benefits from it,” he said.

Workers’ remittances have been a key pillar of Sri Lanka’s foreign currency earnings that has nearly 100 per cent of domestic value addition, providing a substantial cushion for external sector resilience of the country. Workers’ remittances have covered around 80 per cent of the annual trade deficit over the past two decades, and strengthening remittances inflows to the country brings several socio-economic benefits including the smooth supply of forex inflows to the formal banking system.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka established a new department named ‘Foreign Remittances Facilitation Department’ with effect from November 3, 2021 to facilitate and streamline workers’ remittances inflows to the country.

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SLT-MOBITEL powered SLIOT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 fostering innovation

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider was the proud sponsor of SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020, championing innovation in Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics to reward and further develop a pipeline of tech talent and critical skills among Sri Lanka’s youth. The winners of the competitions were honoured at a special ceremony held recently.

SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 was a collaborative effort between SLT-MOBITEL, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the University of Moratuwa and the IT and Computer Engineering Sectional Committee of Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL). Recognising the value of promoting digital inclusion among youth and to develop new generation technology concepts, SLT-MOBITEL sponsored the event for the fourth consecutive year. Both competitions encourage technological innovation among youth which in turn provides avenues for SLT-MOBITEL to capitalize on its futuristic thinking towards a connected future.

The SLIoT Challenge 2020 theme centred around the current pandemic ‘Overcoming COVID-19 with IoT’ and over 77 submissions were received. SLT-MOBITEL comprehends that IoT is being widely embraced with the number of connected devices growing rapidly. SLT-MOBITEL recognizes that driving an IoT competition for Sri Lankan youth allows students to unleash their potential in the IoT domain and acts as a gateway to support the country’s evolution towards digital transformation.

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Akshata launches unique new tea blends

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Akshata brand, a pioneer in promoting health and wellness the traditional way presents herbal tea alongside honey/jaggery as an alternative to sugar, redefining tea consumption.

Akshata ‘Ranawara’ herbal tea which promotes clear skin and health benefits for the body is dedicated to Queen Soma Devi who was acclaimed for her beauty, bravery, and sacrifice to save King Valagamba in 77 BC.

Managing Director of Grains N Green, Roshan Perera says, “In addition to the myriad of health benefits, consumers are encouraged to experience a taste of nostalgia with each sip of Akshata herbal tea. Today’s health-conscious consumers increasingly buy items that support their nutrition and fitness. Sugar is no longer included in this list due to its negative impact on one’s health. That’s why we have introduced healthy alternatives for sugar. Putting honey or jaggery in tea is a much healthier choice than using sugar as it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly, and with our product you can get the tea as well as

the sweeteners all in one pack. This saves time, money, and is a healthier alternative to drinking tea with sugar.”

Akshata herbal tea with bees honey/Jaggery is available at Spar and Glomark supermarkets and can also purchase online at askshatastore.com

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