The first member meet-up since the Covid-19 lockdown of the Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) was an eventful one that comprised of the Oslo Innovation Week Award Ceremony .
Hosted by the SLASSCOM Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum and sponsored by PwC Sri Lanka, the evening was graced by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Sri Lanka H.E. Trine Jøranli Eskedal, embassy staff, SLASSCOM members and well-wishers.
SLASSCOM Chairman Channa Manoharan highlighted that this meet-up was a special one not only since it was the first post-Covid event for the association but also because it was the celebratory platform to recognize the winners of the Oslo Innovation Week Accelerate 2020.
Launched in partnership and under the patronage of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka, the Oslo Innovation Week Accelerate 2020 was a competition to recognize and support Sri Lankan tech start-ups. The competition revolved around innovative products and services that can help fight the pandemic while addressing social issues arising from same. The competition also required applicants to focus their innovations on the UN17 Sustainable Development Goals in one of five areas namely, Ocean, Healthcare, Energy, Equality and Smart Cities.
“The aim of the competition was to inspire Sri Lankan start-ups to explore the opportunities of using digital technology to solve social issues and more importantly, to support them with financial aid, mentorship and guidance to successfully commercialize their innovations,” explained SLASSCOM Director Anura De Alwis.
The six winners of the Oslo Innovation Week Accelerate 2020 competition were selected from a pool of over 50 shortlisted applicants by an expert panel of judges made up of local and foreign specialists in business and IT domains. They included the teams Q-bus, Magicbits, Studybuddyzone, Fusion Lab, Ananke IoT Services and Ultraclass.
From these winners, the team Ultraclass have been selected to represent Sri Lanka and showcase their innovations at the Oslo Innovation Week 2020 Top 100 pitches, which will be held virtually this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Our dependency on digital infrastructure and online services has never been more than it is today,” mentioned H.E. Trine Jøranli Eskedal. “Over four billion people use digital technologies, but this means that half of the world still doesn’t, and we need to pay special attention to these people and support them,” she added.
She congratulated the winners and thanked SLASSCOM for their initiation in recognizing local innovators and start-ups. “With SLASSCOM’s continued commitment to promote start-ups, we can expect this kind of initiatives to continue and for the country’s start-up ecosystem to bloom,” she commended.
The evening also included the recognition of six innovators from Cutting Edge 2020 – an innovation-centred exhibition hosted by Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) – namely, Gayalie Jayawardhane, Mohamed Irfan Ismath, Jittendran Jude Sajith Hector, Nisal Sudila, Safiyaah Thur Rahman and Stelan Briyan Simonsz. These students will be taken into the SLASSCOM mentorship programme to be guided in the lines of commercializing their innovations.
The evening ended with the members networking and celebrating Sri Lanka’s next generation of innovators and tech start-ups.
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Author: Isma Izzath
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