Launch of SPARX Lab by ICTA: Where Sri Lankan future entrepreneurship will be fostered
The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) is the apex ICT institution of the Government mandated to drive digital transformation with a vision to make Sri Lanka a digitally inclusive nation. In line with the Digital Economy Strategy, ICTA develops, supports, and helps nurture the startup ecosystem of Sri Lanka.
ICTA recently announced the launch of SPARX Lab with an opening ceremony held recently with the participation of Jayantha De Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Technology, Oshada Senanayake, Chairman, ICTA/ Director General, TRCSL, Eng. Mahinda B. Herath, Chief Executive Officer, ICTA, Anura De Alwis, Chief Digital Economy Officer ICTA, and representatives from the startup ecosystem including Jeevan Gnanam, Founder, Hatch Works graced the occasion.
SPARX Lab is a physical space dedicated to nurturing early-stage startups in Sri Lanka. In line with ICTA mandate to develop, support, and help nurture the startups, this dedicated workspace will foster budding entrepreneurs and provide orientation, consultation, guidance, and mentoring for entrepreneurs planning to establish their own startup. In addition, these entrepreneurs will get the chance to develop networks with like-minded people, academia, government, and all other entities within which the ICTA Startup Ecosystem Development unit closely works.
Since 2010, ICTA has supported developing startup ecosystems by creating awareness, instilling entrepreneurship culture, incubation, market access, early-stage seed funding, consulting, and mentoring. In addition, initiatives such as ‘10,000 Ideas’, STEP Pre-Incubator, StartupSL, and Regional Startup Hubs will further support the development and growth of the startup ecosystem in Sri Lanka.
Commenting on this initiative, Jayantha De Silva, Secretary of the Ministry of Technology, stated, “Within the prevailing cultural and economic setup in Sri Lanka, initiating startups is a huge challenge. Therefore, the Ministry of Technology, along with ICTA facilitates and nurtures these startups to create a technology-driven environment conducive for the growth of startups”.
Chairman of ICTA Sri Lanka and DG TRCSL, Oshada Senanayake addressing the opening ceremony, stated, “I think it’s indeed a significant moment for ICTA. The key pivotal point for us is the development of the next generation of technopreneurs and startup enablers. Therefore, ICTA has an important role to play in enabling and empowering the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem.”
Primarily, SPARX Lab will act as a hub for budding entrepreneurs and early-stage startups that can to come together and be groomed with the support of ICTA, the startup ecosystem, and the government. In addition, SPARX Lab will be the central hub for all regional startup hubs and University incubator networks formed due to the roll-out of the Entrepreneurial University framework. Finally, it allows key ambassadors to get together and work on one national agenda along with ICTA.
“ICTA has been incubating startups for a long time, and it comprises a mature, though young, team to support and nurture startups. The facilities that have been developed by ICTA here will be a massive addition to the startup ecosystem,” said Eng. Mahinda B. Herath, CEO of ICTA Sri Lanka.
SPARX Lab will be open for any team or individual whose idea qualifies or has already qualified as one of the ‘10,000 Ideas’ Tech-innovation Program initiated by ICTA, to empower the next generation of tech innovators. In addition, the registrants in the StartupSL platform who do not own a business registration or who have not completed one year since registering their business would also be eligible. StartupSL is the national online platform for startups in Sri Lanka, which allows its registrants to connect with the startup ecosystem enablers and vice-versa. Cohorts of ‘STEP’, the ICTA pre-incubator program will also have access to the SPARX Lab.
ICTA has remained particularly close to the startup ecosystem and have played an important role in changing the lives of many entreprenuers in Sri Lanka” stated Mr. Jeevan Gnanam, Founder of Hatch Works, who was recently awarded ‘The Best Co-working Space’ in the world at the Global Startup Awards 2021.
The occupants at SPARX Lab will receive numerous supports from the entire startup ecosystem. SPARX Lab can be accessed from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm on weekdays, with multiple facilities including video conferencing, free high-speed Wi-Fi powered by Dialog, SLT and Mobitel. Based on the requirements, they will also receive access to a pod to house their startups with two team members for two consecutive weeks or daily. One-on-one meetings could be facilitated, along with a dedicated space for startups seeking a business place for recruitment. For more details contact us via email@example.com.
SL needs laser-like focus on IMF programme implementation: Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy
‘If it gets suspended, it would have pretty dramatic consequences’
by Sanath Nanayakkare
There are three most important priorities for Sri Lanka in the wake of the IMF Programme; implementation, implementation and implementation of the agreed upon benchmarks of the programme. Last thing we need to suddenly find is that we have gone off the track of the programme and it is suspended, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Former Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka said on Friday.
He said so while giving the keynote speech at a Central Bank hosted webinar titled “What is next for Sri Lanka in the wake of IMF Programme?”
Deshal De Mel, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Murtaza Jafferjee, Managing Director, JB Securities, Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank were the panelists at the forum where the moderator was Shiran Fernando, Chief Economist at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
The following are a few comments made by Dr.Coomaraswamy.
The IMF EFF has now been successfully negotiated. This is in some way the beginning. There is lot more to do. It’s time to start thinking about what happens next. A little under a year ago, there were acute shortages of the most essential good. There were long queues and one or two people passed away while in queue. Prices were skyrocketing and exchange rate was collapsing, inflation was spiking and the Central Bank had to push up interest rates. All this happened only a few months from where we are today. The fact that things have stabilized to a significant extent clearly is a very favourable outcome but actually there is no room for complacency because the stabilization has happened at a low-level equilibrium.
It has happened when the economy experienced a 7.6% contraction last year. It was better than what was anticipated by the IMF and the World Bank, but still it is a very sharp contraction. And we need to get to a situation where we have macro-economic stability with a growth rate of about 4%. There is a lot to be done for this. But this is a very commendable place to get to after all. The Paris Club comprising G7 countries has endorsed our efforts to restore debt sustainability. The non-Paris Club creditors such as India and China also have endorsed and supported our efforts too. So the largest countries and creditors are willing to support Sri Lanka to get back on track in terms of debt sustainability. So this is not a bad place to be.”
“IMF programme implementation has always been a weakness on our part. This time we have already done a lot as prior action but there is more as you would have seen from the documentation tabled in parliament including structural reforms and institutional reform. So we have to have laser-like focus on implementation and move forward with the programme. If the programme gets suspended, it would have pretty dramatic consequences. So we need to keep it on track. We can’t give up the absolutely compelling need for fiscal discipline. What is next for us is; discipline and making the needed economic policy and implementing what e have agreed to do. During our past IMF programmes, the issue was lack of implementation by the Sri Lankan authorities.
Earlier this week Dr. Chandranath Amarasekare, Executive Director at the CBSL arranged for the Irish authorities to brief Sri lankan authorities on the implementation unit set up in Ireland when the global financial crisis hit Ireland which led them to go into an IMF programme. Ireland was meticulous in the way they set up the implementation framework. They identified all the action that had to be taken and assigned parts of it to relevant government entities to implement them. Ireland is back on track now. We need to have the same degree of laser-like focus on implementing the benchmarks. We have to figure out what needs to be done and ascribe responsibility for each action and monitor
carefully how we are going about it. We have to make sue we are hitting all the targets and structural benchmarks as we go along. These are embedded in the IMF programme. Last thing we need is to suddenly find that we have gone off the track of the programme and the programme is suspended. That will constrain the inflows to the country and it will affect the confidence beginning to build up now. All that will get undermined if the programme gets suspended because we are not able to keep it on track. So the Implementation Unit will need a very good authority to reach out to any part of government and get things done. We need this Implementation Unit to be well-structured and running well. And it should have the authority of the President behind it,”he said.
Exterminators PLC opens a training and R&D center
Exterminators PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier pest tech and environmental tech company, opened a 5,000 plus square foot training, research and development center to enhance the quality of service via in-depth innovation to create a circular economy inorder to meet the growing demand in environmentally sustainable public health pest management, agricultural pest management, livestock, plantation and landscape pest management, sanitation and disinfection services in Sri Lanka and emerging and developing markets. The facility includes simulated environments for training in pest management, termite management, mosquito management, sanitation and disinfection, health and safety for new recruits and continuous professional training and development for existing employees.
The company plans to provide training for international pest management professionals in emerging and developing countries as well as serve as a training facility for its strategic franchising partners in the region.
SLT-MOBITEL ‘Hosting Cub’ for MSMEs enables critical infrastructure and value-added hosting services
Understanding the importance of supporting Micro, Small, And Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to drive growth and efficiencies, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider is offering its Hosting Cub – Shared Web Hosting service catering to vital hosting requirements.
SLT-MOBITEL provides hosting facilities for MSMEs with affordable pricing, easy expansion of MSMEs cyber presence and other value-added offerings via its Shared Hosting and Virtual Private Server (VPS) solutions.
The Shared Hosting proposal is offered as the most economical option available for hosting. The overall cost of server maintenance is shared, also catering to low traffic websites that do not require higher bandwidth such as smaller websites and blogs.
The Share Hosting solution is available via four levels – Stellar, Stellar Plus, Stellar Pro and Stellar Business. The ‘Stellar’ package 1 GB VSAN Disk Space to balance storage usage, monthly 20 GB Bandwidth, 2 Mbps speed, 10 websites allowed, secure connection through SSL, FTP Accounts to manage file transfers, Unlimited email accounts, Unlimited MySQL Database to manage data, Unlimited Sub Domains, Hosting in SLT’s state-of-the-art Data Centre and WordPress supported. The pack is priced at only Rs 7500 per annum.
Similarly, the Stellar Plus presents an enhanced package with 2 GB VSAN Disk Space, monthly 40 GB Bandwidth, approval of 15 websites in addition to all the other value-additions. It is priced at Rs 12,000 per year. The Stellar Pro delivers 3 GB VSAN Disk Space, monthly 100 GB Bandwidth and 30 websites allowed while the Stellar Business provides 5 GB VSAN Disk Space, monthly 150GB Bandwidth and 40 websites. All other features are also enabled. The costs for Stellar Pro and Stellar Business are Rs 16,500 and Rs 25,500 respectively, per annum.
Showers in Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Galle, Matara, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya districts
Outgoing BASL chief asks lawyers to continue struggle to safeguard rule of law, democracy, judicial independence
SC summons IGP for disregarding court order
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Features3 days ago
Happy Birthday dearest Mrs. Peries !
News2 days ago
Mano says LG and PC elections equally important
News4 days ago
Decorated gunship pilot blacklisted for appearing on political stage
Breaking News6 days ago
SRI LANKA RECEIVES IMF EXECUTIVE BOARD APPROVAL FOR THE EXTENDED FUND FACILITY (EFF) ARRANGEMENT
Midweek Review5 days ago
Growing foreign dependency and India’s USD 4 bn lifeline
News4 days ago
No more selling of Hajj visas, assures Minister
Breaking News5 days ago
Property tax to be replaced with Wealth Tax, Gift Tax and Estate Tax – President
Editorial5 days ago
Celebration of debt