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New ICTA initiative to grow IT to $ 3 b industry

09 Sep 2021

By Shenal Fernando The “10,000 Ideas” initiative was launched by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the realisation of the digital economy under the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” national policy framework. This initiative is expected to assist in expanding the IT industry of Sri Lanka to $ 3 billion by 2024 from $ 1.2 billion in 2020. According to ICTA CEO Eng. Mahinda B. Herath, this target shall be achieved by increasing the contribution of the IT creation and high-end product development to 60% of the total technology industry of Sri Lanka from its current levels of around 35%. ICTA Director – Start-up Ecosystem Development Sachindra Samararatne stated that the “10,000 Ideas” initiative is the “culmination of understanding a requirement that was there in the start-up ecosystem, where the ideation-stage stakeholders were needed to be linked to budding entrepreneurs and vice versa”. Explaining further, Samararatne stated that the initiative shall seek to link the start-up with a suitable ecosystem partner to support it during the ideation phase. Therefore, this initiative is a collaborative journey involving ICTA and multiple ecosystem partners such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Hatch, Dream Space Academy, and Yarl IT. ICTA plans to have 25 ecosystem partners on board with the initiative by 2024 in order to ensure the ideation phase in Sri Lanka is streamlined. Commenting on the importance of the initiative, ICTA Chief Digital Economy Officer Anura De Silva claimed that for the development of the digital economy, merely supporting the existing IT companies isn’t sufficient and that the growth of start-ups must be supported, adding that growth of tech start-ups during the pandemic has exceeded the pre-pandemic growth rates. Therefore, through the “10,000 Ideas” initiative, ICTA hopes to maintain this improved growth rate. He further stated that the initiative is not a standalone project and is part of the digital ecosystem ICTA is building. According to ICTA, currently there are 566 start-ups registered on its StartupSL platform, with over 100 start-ups registering during 2021 alone. This increase in registrations is believed to be due to increased traction among the tech start-up community to join the StartupSL platform in order to enjoy the benefits it offers and also due to the launch of Spiralation, the tech incubator introduced by ICTA to provide seed funding, trainings, networking sessions, and business promotion opportunities, both locally and internationally.

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