ICTA launches ‘10,000 Ideas’ initiative
By Eunice Ruth
The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex ICT institution of the Government, and a catalyst in driving the start-up ecosystem forward, has launched the ’10,000 Ideas’ national tech innovation programme, with an aim to empower the next generation of tech entrepreneurs along with start-up ecosystem enablers. At present, the ICTA has stepped into a phase to enrich the start-up ecosystems in Sri Lanka through different means, which will facilitate the Nation towards a start-up Nation.
The ICTA has facilitated the technology start-up development within the country and start-up ecosystem was successfully continuing for the past few decades. Whilst continuing its support in uplifting start-ups and the start-up ecosystem, ICTA has already begun the callings for start-ups in different dimensions, along with the partners. Meanwhile, this journey will empower all other ecosystem enablers, potential enablers and all other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Also, in order to solve some problems, innovative solutions are needed and technology can help to create high impactful solutions to them. Technology has a positive impact on quality of life and the start-up solutions will penetrate in many industries. Through this initiative, the ICTA will support anyone from schoolchildren, university students and other individuals, who come up with an innovative technology-based idea.
Chief Executive Officer of ICTA, Mahinda B. Herath, noted that, we need digital ideas for business transformations and the digital economy features are very prominent. In the post-pandemic era, the need for technology innovation has become mandatory, with work from home, online education patterns and others. Even the people, who have not used the digital platforms, have started engaging with them and not only in Sri Lanka, globally, the technology has become as an essential need, he said. Innovations will be featured highly in our agenda and it is important to pick and select the correct seed (the idea) which will grow into large trees (large network), in order to get the maximum benefits to the industries, in the future. Meanwhile, he further said the contribution of the public sector is mandatory, as the public sector acts as the main engine of the digital transformation strategy.
In addition, we have set a target to achieve Three Billion IT Industries by the end of 2024/2025. In order to achieve them, public sector intervention and contribution is a must and we expect the public to cooperate with us. Chief Digital Economy Officer of ICTA, Anura de Silva, said Sri Lanka is going through a tremendous transformation at present in developments and in developing the digital economy in the country we are working towards both Government and private sector industries. The ’10,000 Ideas’ project is important in our digital economy journey.
Digital economy is covering five major areas or regions. Accordingly, the five areas are industrial development, technology development, start-up ecosystem development, technology diffusion and capacity-building. “The 10,000 Ideas project initiative comes under the start-up ecosystem development and it plays a huge role in the development of the national digital economy. The main aim of this project is to select the seeds which will enrich the growth of the digital economy within the county. This will contribute to the GDP of the country and it will also support the National Export Target,” said de Silva.
In order to grow our economy, we need to reach schools, universities, institutes and other occasional places to find new ideas and also, we need to support and guide them to reach their goals at industrial levels. Just like nurturing and supporting the existing companies, it is important to help and guide the new ideas in order to make them reach international companies. At present, technology is everywhere and, in the future, without technology, we won’t be able to do anything. Director of Start-up Ecosystem Development, ICTA, Sachindra Samararatne, said the ‘10,000 Ideas’ initiative is about understanding the requirements in the start-up ecosystem, where the ideation stakeholders were needed to be linked to the budding entrepreneurs.
It has identified the gaps in terms of funding and expansion of start-ups, new opportunities and it will act to provide a longterm roadmap for the development of the ecosystem. The ICTA has started working with multiple partners to support the beginners from various sectors by supporting them to conduct market research and market validation. ICTA, along with the multiple ecosystem partners, facilitates the connection between the budding entrepreneurs and the industries. Also, every ecosystem stakeholder should envision seeing the ultimate national goal of 10,000 start-ups by 2024 is being achieved and it is expected to have 25 ecosystem partners by the end of 2024, he said.
Meanwhile, Student Activities Chair of IEEE Sri Lanka Section, Dhammika Marasinghe, a partner of this ‘10,000 Ideas’ initiative said, the gaps between the final solution and the idea will be met in this project and also this initiative will give a massive support for all the ecosystem collaborators and others of the programme. Individuals who are willing to join can email [email protected] for more information and also the application form link is available on the official Facebook page of ‘10,000 Ideas.’