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ICTA launches ‘10,000 IDEAS’ to foster NextGen tech entrepreneurs

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The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex ICT institution of the Government and a catalyst in driving the startup ecosystem forward, recently launched the’10,000 Ideas’ national tech innovation program with an aim to empower the next generation of tech entrepreneurs along with startup ecosystem enablers. Facilitated by ICTA in collaboration with startup ecosystem enablers and partners for entrepreneurs, ‘10,000 Ideas’ sets the tone to achieve ICTA’s vision of establishing 1,000 tech startups by 2024.

ICTA through this initiative supports anyone with an innovative technology-based business idea, from school aged children onwards, who are willing to kick start their entrepreneurship journey by bringing them together to a globally scalable platform for them to come up with innovative ideas, validate a business plan whilst helping them to convert their ideas to successful businesses. In doing so, ICTA along with the partners hope to generate high quality and globally scalable business ideas from all parts of the country and benchmark global standards for tech entrepreneurship. ICTA will then facilitate these individuals/groups by connecting them further with the ecosystem of partners who will help them through mentoring, training, networking, funding etc.

Commenting on the ICTA’s latest entrepreneurship drive, Anura De Alwis, Chief Digital Economy Officer, ICTA shared, “We are indeed proud to set the stage for the next generation to thrive as successful entrepreneurs. Tech or tech-enabled businesses have a huge potential to succeed in the global arena with the level of assistance we can offer together with our partners. Our core message is to encourage innovative business ideas as ICTA and our partners are there to guide you in the entrepreneurship journey under this ‘10,000 Ideas’ initiative. This would indeed be a collaborative effort through which we can contribute to the growth of the economy and achieve individual aspirations as well.”

While creating a level playing field for more and more ideas to emerge from every corner of the island, ‘10,000 Ideas’ will be instrumental in creating a supportive structure for entrepreneurial activities in Sri Lanka, empowering the community building and education sector with an entrepreneurship-led approach and creating interest in entrepreneurship from the very young ages.

“We have implemented numerous ideation-level programs through the strong network of 20 University Student Branches of IEEE Sri Lanka Section, including University Level Hackathons and National Level Programs like IEEE Innovation Nation Sri Lanka. With the involvement through these, we have seen that it is needed to have a sound support system while having their ideas brought up to a recognizable level through mentors via a good standardized framework.

“Filling the gap between having an idea and building that up to a product, the ‘10,000’ Ideas campaign allows future entrepreneurs to rise above the ideation level. This initiative will give Start-up Industry massive support from the ecosystem collaborators of the program. With that, we at IEEE are more than happy to get on board with this initiative hoping to reach towards the common goals of Sri Lanka together.” says Dhammika Marasinghe – IEEE Sri Lanka Section, Student Activities Chair.

“10,000 idea launch is a great start to inspire youth to identify some crucial problems and to find solutions with the help of technology. The structured process which will be introduced through this programme will definitely help someone to bring their ideas to life and start their own venture by providing guidance and mentoring. Once these companies start growing and scaling, they will create a lot of job opportunities. It is also crucial to take this to the rural areas of the island and to work at the grass root level too.” says Ms. Abarnah Kirupananda – Yarl IT Hub, Organizing Chair – Yarl Geek Challenge.



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SLTMobitel-PEOTV and DP Education launch ‘Videsa DP Education’

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider has teamed up with DP Education, to launch ‘Videsa DP Education’, a dedicated educational channel on CH.215 of SLTMobitel–PEOTV, ensuring school children from Grade Five to Advanced Level have access to a high-quality learning experience with Rewind TV.

The revolutionary services of SLTMobitel-PEOTV includes ‘Videsa’ a series of educational channels hosted on the platform, that comprise of 06 TV channels dedicated to individual grades covering grades 06 to 11, that enhance the knowledge sharing with curriculum-centered lessons from a panel of reputed teachers. DP Education, a unique online learning platform, leverages digital solutions to deliver quality education to empower students. Together, Videsa and DP Education, enrich the educational arena further with the ‘Videsa DP Education’ channel, a dedicated television space for the students at home.

This path-breaking partnership is a commitment by SLTMobitel–PEOTV to support the education of children, whose options are limited due to the challenges convergence posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will use the home TV screen and mobile devices as a ubiquitous medium to impart knowledge providing access to quality education for students across the country.

Commenting on the initiative, Rohan Fernando, Group Chairman, SLT said, “We understand that parents are now faced with the challenge of keeping their children safe during the pandemic as well as having to deal with the ongoing disturbances to their children’s education. As a solution to ensure that their learning remains uninterrupted, we have already introduced six different channels for Grade 6 to Grade 11 students through our Videsa digital platform. Our latest initiative and partnership with DP Education has now enabled us to launch a dedicated channel with unique learning experiences in key subjects such as Mathematics, Science and English for students from Grade 5 to Advanced Level with the Rewind TV facility. We are appreciative of the exceptional efforts extended by Mr. Dammika Perera and his team at DP Education and are grateful for the opportunity to connect the two learning platforms together in unison to create a revolutionary learning experience for our children”.

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Thornton and Dane’s combined projects portfolio tops Rs 5.9 billion

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Thornton Engineering, the Nextventures owned civil engineering company, has announced the acquisition of a 100% stake in Dane Engineering (Pvt) Ltd. for Rs 350 million, creating a construction business with a combined portfolio of Rs 5.9 billion.

The new entity, Thornton and Dane Engineering, expects to add new construction projects with a cumulative value of Rs 5 billion within the current financial year, nearly doubling its projects portfolio, the Company said in its announcement.

“We are excited at the post-acquisition prospects for the new company, because we strongly believe that it is a good example for the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” said Thornton and Dane Director Dinesh Schaffter. “The combined strengths of Thornton and Dane create a formidable as well as extremely flexible engineering company that is capable of executing projects of varying scope and scale.”

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Capacity-building programs for SMEs

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Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (SLCSMI), the apex body for SMEs in Sri Lanka has been at the forefront in supporting the SMEs during the pandemic. The chamber took several measures since the pandemic first hit the country in the first quarter of 2020. The Webinar series “Way Forward for SMEs” was a grand success among other initiatives, which was conducted with the participation of prominent scholars, leading business personalities as well as top rankers of state and private sector organizations.

The president of SLCSMI, Prof. Rohan De Silva said: “We are always there to represent and support the SMEs in the country and that’s our prime duty. During the first wave, we understood the need to share the knowledge and provide psychological support for the business owners to withstand the difficult times and that’s how the webinar series was born. Our initiative was well received by the businesses and our audience was not limited to Sri Lanka alone, as we witnessed participants from around 12 countries.”

Prof. Rohan further said that the chamber has looked at the possibilities of providing sustainable solutions to the SMEs beyond merely conducting knowledge sharing sessions and the Executive Committee has decided to introduce a range of Capacity Building programs to develop the SMEs. These programs include different solutions to address various gaps among the SMEs and the chamber intends to issue a valuable certificate for the participants of these programs.

The chamber has partnered with the Asia Pacific Institute of Money and Entrepreneurship Development (iMED) to design and deliver the programs and the details of the Programs will be unveiled at the launching event scheduled to be held on the 25th of September.

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