Ceylon Chamber to broadbase Startup Funding Network
By Ishara Gamage
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) urged the local and foreign investor community to come forward to building the strong innovative entrepreneurship culture in Sri Lanka through a broad angle funding network.
They also stressed that around 100 of the 400 identified startups in the country are currently under threat of closure due to the current epidemic.
Speaking at the event yesterday (19th) Business and Trade Promotion Manager of the CCC and the Council for Startups-in-charge, Yasura Samarakoon stated that the recently established Council for Startups of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce hopes to provide assistance and coordination from local and foreign and public and private sectors to the problems faced by local startups.
The CCC recently established the Council for Startups to address the key needs and challenges of SMEs and startups through allocation of a range of easily accessible opportunities, including access to local and international markets for various partnerships.
The Council primarily aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship, which facilitates economic growth and empowerment of startups and SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Any start up/SME seeking to solve a problem with innovative ideas/solutions, willing to grow fast and go global are eligible to get Council membership.
Anyone who can help support the startup ecosystem and help it to grow can apply for Associate membership.
Speaking at the event, CEO of nCinga Imal Kalutotage said “nCinga was fortunate to expand regionally with the support of the Ceylon Chamber and its global partners. Via the Chamber, its global partners and members, we were able to attract customers for accelerated growth and investors who also helped us with exit in December 2019. We now have a national body to help provide invaluable market access for startups and I am happy to be a part of this to help other entrepreneurs grow.”
Offering a highly influential and knowledgeable advantage, the CCC provides the cumulative support of 600 members to promote business opportunities for startups. These alliances (20 Global Chambers, 38Trade/Product and Service Associations and 21 Bilateral Business Councils) position the Chamber in an ideal position to promote business opportunities.
The Council recognises the benefits of sustaining ripe economic conditions and marketing opportunities for startups and further aims to use its resources and partnerships with High Commissions, Foreign Chambers of Commerce for startups, and consulting firms to create a secure infrastructure that drives optimal business performance.
As a representative of startups, the Council provides imperative engagement with Ministries. This helps advocate for policy frameworks in favour of startups that will minimise legal and regulatory barriers.
“To battle any lack of industry knowledge and provide a boost in terms of business acumen, the Council will provide partnerships and access to advisory service providers including consultancy firms, State agencies, legal, and secretarial firms,” he said.
Startups can gain access to a wider market that enables opportunities overseas through support of diplomatic missions and the international network of Chambers. Alongside access to market and business opportunities, the Council will also provide professional BDS services such as business registration, legal, finance and other related support services.
“52% contribution to the GDP comes from the SMEs and startups. They also contribute 45% to employment. Thus it is in the national interest to empower them. The ‘Council for Startups’ was launched in September 2020, with the sole purpose of solving the problems faced by startups and SMEs. The Council will be equipped to help entrepreneurs with ‘go-to-market’ and work towards making it conducive for startups and other startup ecosystem players to thrive.
As a Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce/National Agenda Council, It will also be the largest private sector body in the country to collectively take up startup issues with the Government and help nurture and grow small companies seeking to solve a pain point with innovative ideas that has a market product fit.
I would like to invite any SME or startup and other companies that wish to help them grow to be a member of this Council, ‘’ said Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, General Partner, BOV Capital Ltd.