Board members of The Startup Council-Standing (L to R) Chandula Abeywickrama(Founder & Chairman – Lanka Impact-Investment Network). Achala Samaradivakara (Co-Founder & Managing Director – Good Market) Imal Kulathotage (CEO – nCinga) ,Yasura Samarakoon (Manager – Business and Trade Promotion, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce).Seated (L – R) Prajeeth Balasubramaniam (Managing Partner -BoV Capital- chairman- Startup Council). Shalin Balasuriya, (Co-founder -Spa Ceylon), Brindha Selvadurai-Gnanam (Co Founder –Hatch),Mangala Karunaratne -(Founder & CEO – Calcey Technologies)
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Rising startups in Sri Lanka are keen to tap the stock market for external funding for product development, product launches and scale up and expand their their businesses in new markets, The Island Financial Review learned at a forum held by the Council For Startups, established by the The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The Council provides entrepreneurs with exclusive opportunities and access to international markets
Prajeeth Balasubramaniam Founder, Lankan Angel Network/Managing Partner, BoV Capital who is also the chairman of the Council speaking to The Island Financial Review said,” Today people who have money pour that into the stock market because interest rates have come down. People who used to make higher interest rates are not making that and they are putting that into the stock market because they feel they can get better returns. Similarly if they can channel some of that money through the banking sector or other sources into startups it would be good. The CSE is regulated and the private sector is not going to put money into startups. If the government regulates startup projects and their funding structures then banks and private investors will feel that the risks are minimized and then they will join in to reap the rewards by investing in them”.
“Spring Singapore is a government startups initiative. Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has put a lot of money into that. If we can create a similar situation people will be convinced that they won’t end up in trouble by investing in startups,” he said.
Imal Kalutotage, CEO of nCinga said,”nCinga was highly fortunate to expand regionally with the support the Ceylon Chamber and its global partners. Via the Chamber, its global partners and members, we were able to attract customers for accelerated growth and investors who also helped us with exit in December 2019. We now have a national body to help provide invaluable market access for startups and am happy to be a part of this to help other entrepreneurs grow”.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently established the Council for for Startups to address the key needs and challenges of SMEs and startups through allocation of a range of easily accessible opportunities, including access to local and international markets for various partnerships.
Inaugurated in September 2020, the Council for Startups primarily aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship, which facilitates economic growth and empowerment of startups and SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Offering a highly influential and knowledgeable advantage, the CCC provides the cumulative support of 600 members to promote business opportunities for startups. These alliances (20 Global Chambers, 38Trade/Product and Service Associations and 21 Bilateral Business Councils) position the Chamber in an ideal position to promote business opportunities.
The Council recognizes the benefits of sustaining ripe economic conditions and marketing opportunities for startups and further aims to use its resources and partnerships with high commissions, foreign Chambers of Commerce for startups, and consulting firms in order to create a secure infrastructure that drives optimal business performance.
Latest model of OPPO F- Series tipped to launch in March
It is learnt that OPPO is set to unveil the latest addition to their range – the F19 Series in early March 2021. A rectangular camera module with four lenses, LED flash, and AI support adorns the rear design of the F19 Pro while a smart band which may get launched simultaneously – is seen alongside, in a post revealing the series.
OPPO F19 Pro looks quite elegant its design & features a button on the right side which is believed to be the power on/off button. As per the poster image, there is no physical fingerprint sensor at the back panel, which suggests the phone might come with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
While OPPO might be working on the low-light camera performance, it is also suggested that it will have features like AI Colour Portrait Video, and Dual-View Video, which allow recording videos from both front and rear cameras.
Wrapped in Ultra Slim Body, the device is tipped to come in at least two shades.
The OPPO Smart Band could also be expected in Sri Lanka alongside the launch of the new F19 Series, similar to the OPPO watch which was released with OPPO F17 Pro. The Smart Band is said to handle message notifications which will include incoming call notification & call rejection, apart from having whole host of other features. Both products are expected to be in stores from mid- March 2021.
Dialog Axiata revolutionizes digital payment acceptance for small business owners
eZ Cash, Sri Lanka’s Largest Mobile Money platform has enabled instant access for small businesses to accept contactless and remote payments using LANKAQR. With the Central Bank of Sri Lanka led initiative to digitize small value payments in Sri Lanka through an inter-operable, standardized LANKAQR, Dialog Axiata PLC (“Dialog”) is committed to empowering the nation with simple, easy solutions which add value to small businesses who are now able to self register for this service through their mobile phones.
Small business and self employed persons such as retailers, street vendors, three wheelers etc. with a Dialog mobile number can now download the eZ Cash app and use a simple registration process to sign-up for an eZ Cash Classic Wallet at no additional cost. On using the “MyQR” feature via the eZ Cash app, they can start accepting payments from their customers using their unique LANKAQR code. Payments can be accepted from any mobile banking app or payment wallet in the country which has enabled LANKAQR transactions, and proceeds will be received instantly to their wallet. Transactions using the LANKAQR payment network will be charged a nominal fee of 0.5% of the transaction value. Businesses are able to withdraw cash from the wallet at over 20,000 eZ Cash retailers located island wide or at any commercial bank ATM. Proceeds from the wallet can be used to settle over 100 utility or institutional payments to companies such as CEB, LECO, the Water Board, SLIC, AIA, Ceylinco Insurance, HNB Finance, CDB, AMW Finance etc. eZ Cash Wallet holders can also send money to an eZ Cash Wallet or pay for good and services at any retailer in the country which has enabled LANKAQR payment acceptance.
The revolutionary MyQR solution can also be used by online businesses to accept payments by posting a saved image of their LANKAQR code on their website or Facebook page. Businesses can also accept remote payments from their customers by forwarding their saved LANKAQR code via email and WhatsAapp so that customers can scan the image of the LANKAQR code and make payments through their bank’s mobile payment app which has enabled LANKAQR. Payments to the value of Rs. 10,000 per day can be accepted into an eZ Cash Classic Wallet while payments in excess of this value and up to Rs. 50,000 per day can be enabled through an eZ Cash Power Wallet. Customers can enhance their Classic eZ Cash Wallet to a Power Wallet by visiting any Dialog Customer Experience Centre or Service Centre.
Hirdaramani takes bold new steps in transparency
The Hirdaramani Group has yet again taken bold strides towards energy accountability by being the first in Sri Lanka to receive International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs) for its energy usage. With this robust tracking standard, the group hopes to add new layers of accountability and credibility to its operations, living up to the commitments outlined in the company’s own sustainability vision.
As Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), I-RECs serve to increase transparency in the energy sector and provide clarity about the use of renewable electricity among end-consumers. The I-REC Standard (www.irecstandard.org) ensures that issued certificates comply with major international sustainability and carbon accountability standards and adhere to stakeholder expectations of industry best practice for the avoidance of double counting, double certificate issuance and double attribute claiming. The system also helps individual companies seeking to improve their environmental credentials, while raising awareness among consumers and industry players.
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