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Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando

Sri Lanka has been featured for the first time in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017, where the country’s ecosystem was estimated to be worth over US$30 million with over 300 active ventures.

Taking cues from the burgeoning global entrepreneurial ecosystem, Sri Lanka’s government has a forward-looking vision to build a fully integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem so that the country would have the best chances of competing regionally, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando said last week.  He said that Sri Lanka being recognized as such was a ‘useful benchmark’ to analyze and compare the country’s standing against how the rest of the world is doing.

“Our Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has spearheaded initiatives towards this and we have witnessed a spurt of startups and a major growth in entrepreneurship in the last few years,” observed the Minister.

He added: “While the recent growth of our startup ecosystem is impressive our continued success to build the capacity of these startups will hinge on our ability to not only put the right policies and strategies in place, but in forming definitive collaborations amongst entrepreneurs, support organizations, and investors,”

The statement further said that the Tech Start-up and IT SMEs Support Programmes of ICTA have recorded positive results in supporting the industry through its seed funding, market access, mentoring and training initiatives. The Agency’s ongoing Spiralation Seed Funding programme which provides seed funding for promising startups has shown impressive outcomes with about 86% of the beneficiary companies being able to continue business without any disruption.

“Building the capacity of the majority of local startups is imperative as they often have great ideas but not enough money to implement them. Sri Lankan ICT businesses especially startups are at the tipping point of transforming our nation with many expanding beyond our borders. We must remain committed to supporting them with government and private Sector coming together in a concerted effort working towards helping them develop on a global scale,” the minister said