The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), the apex body for Information and Communication Technology in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with PwC Sri Lanka, yesterday introduced a new Credit Evaluation Framework to be adopted by lenders when lending to tech companies with minimal collateral.
The new framework was launched in an event held with the participation of Prof. Lalith Gamage – Chairman of ICTA, Mahinda B.Herath – Chief Executive Officer ICTA, Anura De Alwis – Chief Digital Economy Officer of ICTA, Kavinda Weerakoon, Director – Deals, PwC Sri Lanka, Ashok Goonesekere Chief Risk Officer DFCC Bank, Indika Ranaweera, Vice President – SME, Middle Market & Business Banking, NDB Bank and Kanishka Weeramunda, Founder/CEO of Paymedia (Pvt) Ltd. a technology company who has successfully gone through the evaluation process.
Expansion of a tech company is a daunting process due to challenges in obtaining debt facilities, as traditional credit evaluation methods require borrowers to provide tangible collateral in order to be eligible for a business loan. Furthermore, technology companies are evaluated using existing generic credit evaluation frameworks, which have inherent shortcomings in evaluating the merits and demerits of a technology company. Against this backdrop, the launched framework becomes an alternative mechanism for the traditional framework. The new framework has been built around four pillars, namely; Founder, Market, Product, and Financials and has thus provided technology companies to be evaluated on quantitative and qualitative factors that are most relevant to them.
The framework has been formulated with the due support and consultation from an industry-leading steering committee which consisted of Mr. Mangala Karunaratne – CEO, Calcey Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Chalinda Abeykoon – CEO, Lankan Angel Network, Mr. Nilendra Weerasinghe – Head – Chief Corporate Advisory Officer, NDB Investment Bank Limited, Mr. Wellington Perera – Director, Cemex Software(Pvt.)Ltd., Ms. Jayomi Lokuliyana – CEO, ZMessenger (Pvt) Ltd.
Commenting on the new framework, ICTA Chairman Prof. Lalith Gamage said, “ICTA, as the apex body for IT industry, is proud to launch this novel credit evaluation method, which is a timely approach to support emerging tech startups and existing tech companies to expand their businesses at a time when the tech startup ecosystem started to revive the country’s economy, it is vital to extend financial support for the growth of these tech companies, also considering their huge export capacity. This alternative credit evaluation process will enable tech companies to access funding without the need to rely on personal collateral”.
It is noteworthy that the framework has been designed with the recommendations of credit evaluation officers from several banks in order to streamline the mechanism further. Seylan Bank, DFCC Bank, Union Bank, and NDB bank have already expressed their willingness to consider the new framework when assessing technology companies for debt financing.
Chief Digital Economy Officer of ICTA, Anura De Alwis, said, “Technology industry is core to the country’s economic growth with the highest potential for employment opportunities. But most tech companies are faced with difficulties in obtaining loans due to a lack of physical collateral. Moreover, the pandemic has forced many challenges for tech companies, derailing the growth to some extent. In this background, the new framework launched with PwC will play a crucial role in boosting the tech industry. We are thankful to PwC for partnering with us to design the new framework and for the expert advice and guidance from the steering committee in making the whole process a success.”
Kavinda Weerakoon, Director – Deals at PwC Sri Lanka, expressed, “Technology enterprises are generally underserved by banks which create a funding gap for these businesses. We are thankful for ICTA in pioneering this valuable initiative and having PwC onboard. PwC brought in deep banking sector insight from a cross-functional team of experts to develop this framework. We are optimistic that this framework will act as a catalyst for lending institutions to provide flexible and innovative financing facilities to develop high-impact technology-driven sectors of the economy.”
CSE Continues Regional Awareness Drive in Negombo
The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) successfully concluded yet another virtual forum organized as part of an awareness drive for island-wide Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). The second event of the series which was held for SMEs in Negombo, drew strong interest among the entrepreneurial community based in the region. The series of virtual forums is hosted by CSE with the objective of promoting the advantages of listing on the Empower Board.
Ms. Hansinee Beddage, Senior Analyst at Acuity Partners (PVT) Limited, Mr. Rohan Senewiratne, Managing Director of Atarah Capital Partners (PVT) Limited, Mr. Suraj Surwaweera, Managing Director of Chrissworld Limited and Mr. Nuwan Chathuranga, Manager of CSE Negombo Branch made a strong case on a number of potential advantages available for SMEs through the Empower Board. The speakers further joined in a Question-and-Answer session which fostered an engaging and open conversation with the participating entrepreneurs.
Ms. Hansinee Beddage, elaborated on the process of listing and the relaxed policies applicable to SMEs through the Empower Board. A comprehensive comparison between the growth of listed companies and companies opting for other sources of capital were discussed.
She further commented on the multitude of benefits of listing, including capital acquisition for growth prospects, elevation of business value and defining the market value of the company, investor attraction, improvement of business recognition, business opportunities and regulation of business processes.
Mr. Suraj Surwaweera, Managing Director of Chrissworld Limited, shared the company’s experience in the listing process. He explained the specific and demanding capital requirements of the warehousing industry and how listing on the Empower Board has benefited them. He further elaborated on the recognition among the business community and the national and international stakeholders they have attracted to the company within a short period since listing.
As the advisors and sponsors to Empower Board’s first listing, Chrissworld Limited, Mr. Rohan Senewiratne, Managing Director of Atarah Capital Partners (PVT) Limited added that the main objective of sponsors is not to list a multitude of companies but to bring suitable companies to the correct standard to list.
He elaborated on the importance to ensure minority shareholder protection, sharing his experience in listing Chrissworld and wished that company a successful journey ahead. Senewiratne explained reaching the required standard to list is not a hard process but an organized restructuring process, in order to bring the business to a better standard so that a company gains the trust of investors.
For more information on the Empower Board and CSE visit www.cse.lk or contact Mr. Purasisi Jinadasa, Head of Origination & Issuer Relations at CSE.
(CSE news release)
LAN and GBAN to promote Sri Lankan startups globally via Entrepreneurship World Cup
Lankan Angel Network (LAN), the country’s largest network of angel investors, has been appointed the Entrepreneurship World Cup’s Official National Organizer for Sri Lanka.
This long-term, strategic initiative follows on from LAN joining the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN) as a committee member. GBAN is affiliated with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). LAN and GBAN aim to take local entrepreneurship to a global level with the Entrepreneurship World Cup’s Global Hosts MISK, GEN and TGELF.
The Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) will offer Sri Lanka’s national champion, to be selected in July, the chance to pitch on a global stage for a share of USD 1 million in cash prizes, plus additional investment opportunities, and another USD750,000 in in-kind support. EWC in 2020 featured 175,000 entrants applying from 200 countries.
According to LAN Chairman Mano Sekaram, “Lanka Angel Network is proud to be entrusted with organizing the national finals for the Entrepreneurship World Cup, a testament to our longtime efforts in pioneering and building the local startup ecosystem and promoting local talent worldwide. We are also pleased that the top startups of Sri Lanka are participating in this endeavor, especially considering the challenging business environment experienced by so many both here and abroad.”
With a goal to grow to 250 angel investors by 2025, with 30% of its membership from abroad, LAN’s future is closely linked with the growth of the local startup ecosystem. During these trying times in particular, LAN relies on the deep domain expertise of its unmatched pool of mentors and investors to assist startups in traversing the difficult business environment they are experiencing.
Most importantly, LAN also strives to provide startups with networking, training, and even follow-on funding, an essential part of its efforts to grow its portfolio.
EWC is more than just a global pitch competition with a shot at life-changing prizes. It elevates entrepreneurs from all stages—idea-stage, early-stage, growth-stage or beyond— by providing them with tools and resources to grow their venture. EWC Accelerates is a virtual training and mentorship program that helps entrepreneurs hone their skills and increase their chances of winning their national competitions – as well as those who advance to the Global Finals.
The EWC online platform also offers all contestants who complete an application, access to more than USD 25,000 in perks from partners such as Google Cloud, Hubspot, Stripe and more.
National Finals competitions are held through June and July 2021. In November 2021, 100 startups will be flown to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to participate in the EWC Accelerates program for an intensive startup bootcamp and to compete in the EWC Global Finals.
To learn more, visit the Entrepreneurship World Cup at entrepreneurshipworldcup.com
Amãna Bank’s Dilan Joseph becomes Sri Lanka Toastmaster Champion
Amãna Bank’s Toastmaster (TM) Dilan Joseph was adjudicated as the Sri Lankan Champion of the Toastmasters District 82 International Speech Contest which was recently held on a virtual platform and will now go on to proudly represent Sri Lanka in the Region 13 Quarter Finals.
Having previously won the Club, Area and Division contests with his enthralling speech, TM Dilan Joseph competed amongst the country’s finest orators in the national competition representing 8 Divisions constituting of 179 corporate and community clubs in Sri Lanka. Titled ‘The Gap’, TM Dilan’s heartwarming speech gave one key message, which is applicable to all, that is accept yourself for who you are.
Going forward with his dream of becoming a World Champion, TM Dilan Joseph, representing the entire Sri Lankan Toastmasters fraternity, will compete amongst country winners from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia at the Region 13 Quarter Finals. District 82 of Toastmasters International is known to be a breeding ground for champion public speakers, witnessing 3 World Champions of Public Speaking during the short span of the last 7 years, including producing Sri Lanka’s one and only world champion TM Dananjaya Hettiarachchi.
TM Dilan Joseph, who is attached to Amãna Bank’s Retail Banking Division as the Manager Digital Customer Experience, is the incumbent President of Amãna Bank Toastmasters Club. Prior to this victory, TM Dilan Joseph also won the Division F Humorous Speech Competition in 2018.
Commenting on his success, the Bank’s Head of Human Resources Farhan Refai said “We are very honoured of Dilan’s achievement. I believe it is a great example in showcasing dedication and hard work to achieve one’s dream. Since joining Amãna Bank TMC in 2015, Dilan has been an active member of the club and has come a long way, having won many other speech competitions. On behalf of the Bank, we would like to wish Dilan all the best as he represents the entire country in the forthcoming Quarterfinals, and pray he becomes successful in reaching his ultimate goal of becoming a World Champion.”
Sharing his views, TM Dilan Joseph said “I am truly blessed to have won this competition and would like to congratulate all other participants who gave out their best at the District contest as well all others who contested in the runner up from Club level onwards. I am thankful to the support extended by Amãna Bank and Amãna Bank TMC to me in this journey. Toastmasters is a wonderful program that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. I am humbled to say that I have come a long way and benefitted immensely from the Toastmasters program.
Amãna Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. The Bank was recently recognized with the Best Employer Brand Award at the Sri Lankan edition of the Best Employer Brand Awards 2020 organized by World HRD Congress. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than its flagship CSR initiative ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.
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