• Last Update 2024-06-13 18:08:00

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023: Sri Lanka Thrives in Entrepreneurial Spirit

Opinion

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023: Sri Lanka Thrives in Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka successfully hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Sri Lanka for the second consecutive year, spanning from November 13th to 19th. Themed "Entrepreneurs Thrive Here," GEW 2023 in Sri Lanka placed a spotlight on ecosystems, education, inclusion, and policy, aiming to celebrate and empower entrepreneurs across various industries by fostering collaboration among local entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) stands as a dedicated celebration of visionary entrepreneurs globally who dare to dream big and bring their startup ideas to life. Organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), GEW is a signature event spanning nearly 200 nations to recognize and promote entrepreneurship worldwide. Each November, collaborators worldwide join forces to organize events and activities that honor and empower local entrepreneurs, reaching diverse individuals of all backgrounds and age groups through local, national, and global events.

The official launch of GEW 2023 in Sri Lanka was held on November 13th at the Presidential Media Centre.  Kanaka Herath, State Minister of Technology, highlighted the initiatives under the DIGIECON 2030 roadmap during the launch, emphasizing a startup ecosystem development strategy encompassing mindset creation, establishment of incubators and accelerators, connection to angel investors, global market access, and venture funding. The State Minister expressed his belief that startups have the potential to drive Sri Lanka's economic growth.

Notable figures such as Thilaka Jayasundara, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries, Suresh de Mel, GEN Global's National Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Mahesha Amarasuriya, Director of Mastercard Sri Lanka, Sachindra Samararathne, Associate Chief Digital Economy Officer of ICTA, and representatives of industry associations, partner organizations, and ICTA officials attended the launch. Jonathan Ortmans, Founder and President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, cited the launch of GEW 2023 in Sri Lanka as one of his favorite highlights from this global celebration.

In 2022, ICTA was named the host of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Sri Lanka. Remarkably, despite it being ICTA's first time hosting GEW, Sri Lanka climbed into the top ten of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) leaderboard last year. This year, Sri Lanka impressively placed 7th on the GEN Leaderboard at the end of GEW 2023. As well, ICTA was recognized as a finalist at the prestigious GEN Compass Awards 2023, for its pivotal role during GEW 2022. This underscores ICTA’s unwavering commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology-driven growth in Sri Lanka.

Under ICTA's stewardship, GEW 2023 in Sri Lanka achieved notable success with Mastercard as the Title Sponsor and Bug Zero as the Silver Partner, along with 65 ecosystem partners. A spectrum of over 160 events, such as educational talks, awareness sessions, introductory sessions, hands-on workshops, competitions, and many more events were held across the Sri Lankan entrepreneurial ecosystem, attracting more than 10,000 individuals from 21 districts. These events targeted students, young entrepreneurs, startup founders, and MSMEs, covering a wide range of topics, such as entrepreneurship, technopreneurship, tax, company registration, and cybersecurity.

Globally, GEW 2023 brought together 10 million people across nearly 200 countries at over 40,000 events and activities organized by 20,000 partners, inspiring action and providing tools for entrepreneurship. Beyond a single week, GEW 2023 extended its impact throughout November, offering a platform to open the doors of entrepreneurship and innovation for everyone and instilling a passion for business among the next generation.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka, established in 2003, is the apex ICT institution of the Government. ICTA is a wholly-owned institution of the Government of Sri Lanka, mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan related to ICT. Startup Ecosystem Development is one of the key sub-verticals under ICTA's Digital Economy pillar, and it has played a pivotal role in fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem through a number of initiatives, including Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“Spiralation” provided diverse support to tech entrepreneurs and startups; the "Spiralation Demo Day" offered a platform for presenting concepts to investors; "Startup SL" facilitated networking among startups and connected with stakeholders; "Sparx Lab" provided a collaborative workspace for startups; the "STEP Pre-Incubation Program" guided entrepreneurs toward incubation and seed funding, and "10,000 Ideas" served as a platform for novel startup concepts. These Startup Ecosystem Development initiatives, part of ICTA's Digital Economy pillar, have left a lasting impact on the entrepreneurial landscape of Sri Lanka, leading to a robust digital economy.

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