'Spark iT' empowers ICT entrepreneurs
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) awarded the four finalists of
the 'Spark iT' ICT Entrepreneurship Development Initiative recently. The
winners were Atiral, Ridgecrest Asia - AutosLK, Search Sri Lanka Portal
and TopDocOpinions while each of the winning start-ups were awarded Rs.
1 million to fund their projects' development.
Ten finalists were shortlisted from over 60 applicants, from which
four finalists were selected for the 'Spark iT' grant by a panel
comprising industry experts and opinion leaders.
"This is a proud and significant moment for Sri Lanka's ICT industry.
The 'Spark iT' initiative is just one of many that we have planned to
uplift the sector by empowering the country's increasing number of
talented ICT entrepreneurs.
The ICT industry has seen rapid growth and at this opportune time we
should continue to invest in its growth and development," said Chairman,
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Susantha Ratnayake.
Chairman, CCC ICT Steering Committee, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya said,
"The response to the 'Spark iT' venture competition from ICT
entrepreneurs has been most encouraging, and it is our hope that the
program would add value to their business creation aspirations."
"The 'Spark iT' program has been designed to provide winners with
start up funding in the form of investment awards from blue chip
corporates and to provide a platform for all shortlisted contenders to
engage with the members of the Ceylon Chamber and at the upcoming
Venture Engine competition to take their innovations to market," he
said. "Spark iT could not have been made a reality if not for the
support of our partners and sponsors and I would like to take this
opportunity to thank them on behalf of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce,"
The initiative by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is supported by 'Event
Partner' Venture Engine, 'Strategic Partner' SLASSCOM, 'National
Partner' ICTA, 'Platinum Sponsor' Etisalat and awards sponsors Brandix,
Dialog, John Keells, MAS Holdings, with sponsors Microsoft, 99x
Technology, Orion City, hSenid, IFS, and Informatics.
Founding partner, Blue Ocean Ventures, and co-founder, Venture
Engine, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam said, "Conceptualised by Blue Ocean
Ventures and The Indian Angel Network, Venture Engine has successfully
pioneered the creation of a start up ecosystem that provides Sri Lankan
entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring to build their businesses. We
are committed to extending our success and know-how by partnering with
other associations to create wider opportunities for entrepreneurs."
"As the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 174th anniversary
we are happy to partner with them on the 'Spark iT' entrepreneurship
program for the ICT sector," he said.
"Given the quality of business ideas showcased at 'SparkiT', the
Venture Engine panel of judges decided to forward the top ten plans
through Venture Engine 2013, in May," Balasubramaniam said.
"Access to participate in VE will help fast track these businesses as
they get direct exposure to potential investors from India and Sri
Lanka, who will provide high quality mentoring," he said.
'Spark iT' attracted a variety of applications across diverse
industries. The top ten finalist's shared their unique and innovative
start-up ideas, contrasting from fashion and gaming to automobile and
travel. One of the innovative start-ups selected, Atiral, creates cloud
based social networking and collaborative platform for educational
While another one of the four grand finalists, Ridgecrest Asia -
AutosLK's creates web solutions for maintenance of vehicles.
"SLASSCOM has always believed that knowledge based industries lending
themselves to entrepreneurship as Intellectual capital is the biggest
input. SLASSCOM is delighted to partner with the Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce in this laudable initiative which will encourage Sri Lanka's
youth to become entrepreneurs and pave the way for job creators rather
than job seekers," said Chairman, SLASSCOM, Sujiva Dewaraja.
The initiative extends ICT entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka an opportunity
to present their business plans, aided by informative workshops with
some of the region's top entrepreneurs, industry experts and business
All proposals were evaluated by a panel of judges comprising 12
renowned ICT professionals, venture capitalists' and private equity
The entrepreneurs were given an opportunity to present their business
module, opening them up to multiple capital and partner prospects.
Program Head, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), Fayaz Hudah said
"Creativity is 'boundless' and has the potential to transform the world.
And programs such as 'Spark iT' help further enable the ecosystem. ICTA
is happy to be a partner through its 'spiralation' initiative which
looks at developing new technology entrepreneurs in the country. Great
synergies are being exploited, between the commercial sector and those
with great ideas looking to 'disrupt' pre-existing business models
through CCC's members and the corporates."
Director and CEO, Etisalat Lanka, Dumindra Ratnayaka said, "We are
pleased to partner CCC in this project as Platinum Sponsor. This
initiative that will help to recognise, and fund ICT entrepreneurs. We
believe in empowering our people's dreams in becoming reality through
innovation and a customer centric approach."
"Therefore, the value of the Spark-IT initiative is synonymous to our
brand values in energising imminent innovators of the country. Powering
'Spark iT' is similar to our commitment in the development and growth of
the ICT community, at a time when we are reaching its peak. Through
initiatives such as 'Spark iT', great ideas now have the ideal platform
to take flight," he said.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce together with all 'Spark iT' partners,
will continue this initiative annually to empower young ICT
entrepreneurs in the country.