Innovate Lanka recently concluded with its 2022 Demo Day and Finale, where 10 finalists pitched their exceptional ideas to a high profile panel that encompassed Corporate Leaders, Domain Experts and Angel Investors.
Adjudged this year’s winner, AGC Innovate is a sustainable initiative pioneering technology to convert non-recyclable waste plastics into an industrial raw material called Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) in Sri Lanka, which will be used for paving roads, car parks and yards. Since its inception in 2018, the company has already completed more than 15 projects, including for RDA, PRDA, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, John Keells Holdings (Cinnamon Life and Crescat), CBL, French Embassy, etc.
The runner-up for 2022 was DirectPay, which connects everyone digitally, bringing them one step closer to a cashless society, by introducing modern payment methods for the financial and telecom industries. DirectPay is a FinTech application that provides direct debit facilities, Internet Payment Gateway and LankaQR and JustPay (National QR) technologies to enable customers to make payments across any boundary.
Also awarded was the “Best Female Entrepreneur” title, which was handed out to Bluefish Ceylon. This fish food manufacturer is dedicated to providing ready-to-eat, flavourful, and nutrient-dense fish products made with hand-picked natural ingredients with an authentic and distinct taste, while adhering to 100% hygiene standards.
A national initiative bringing together Sri Lanka’s main startup and SME ecosystem partners, Innovate Lanka is a programme initiated by the Council for Startups (CFS) of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Lankan Angel Network (LAN) and Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM). This programme will ideally also serve up the systematic change required to rebuild Sri Lanka, by providing personalised support for every entrepreneur while offering a one-stop-shop for incubation and acceleration, until exit, at the global level.
In addition to the winner, runner-up and “Best Female Entrepreneur” title holders, the Innovate Lanka Demo Day and Finale also offered up presentations by other top 10 finalists. These included WorkXFlow, EDUS Lanka, INGROW Holdings, Ceylon Dhee Ayurved, Stag Space, Edutoys and CrossBorder Payments.
Garnering an exemplary 70+ entries during its initial, applications stage, Innovate Lanka later went on to thoroughly vet these submissions, ultimately whittling down its pool of startups and SMEs to just the top 10. This was achieved via an intensive pitching and evaluation process, which was facilitated by LAN.
LAN Chairperson Chandi Dharmaratne said: “We at LAN, along with our global, national and eco-system partners, and the many incubators and accelerators that participated, are committed to supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs during the tough economic times ahead. Programmes such as Innovate Lanka will keep dreams of scaling alive, until such time as our economy recovers and more startups and SMEs can bootstrap themselves into the global marketplace.”
Commenting further, CFS Chairman Prajeeth Balasubramaniam said: “Entrepreneurship is critical to stimulate long-term economic growth and national prosperity. As an entrepreneur, today there is no one private sector body representing them to help in all spheres of growth at the different stages. Innovate Lanka platform was created with this in mind as a national initiative that brings all the start-up and SME ecosystem partners together”.
Adding to this, SLASSCOM Chairman Ashique Ali said: “We were happy to partner in this programme as start-ups play a significant role in innovation, creating social, economic, and environmental impact, and generating export revenue. There are a significant number of start-ups which have the potential to scale regionally and globally. SLASSCOM together with other ecosystem partners aim to support these startups through their incubation to scale up journey, realising SLASSCOM’s goal of catalysing 1000 startups by the year 2025.”
Those designated by Innovate Lanka’s high profile panellists will now go on to access the following stellar opportunities:
1. Participating in the GEN (Global Entrepreneurship Network) Entrepreneurship World Cup 2022 boot-camp programme
2. Gaining entry to Accelerators and Incubators such as Venture Frontier, Hatch, Lanka Accelerator, Indian Accelerator, Good Life X, Centre for SMEs of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Youth Business Sri Lanka (YBSL)
3. Go-To-Market (GTM) advisory services facilitated by the Council For Startups; and
4. Funding, Mentoring and Coaching support via LAN and SLASSCOM.