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hackX 2021

  • The anatomy of a startup 

HackX is a technology-oriented innovation-based Inter-University Innovative Startup Challenge organised by the Industrial Management Science Students’ Association of University of Kelaniya. HackX 2021 is the sixth consecutive iteration of the initiative; with three consecutive hackathons and two innovative startup challenges. 

Speaking to one of the two Co-Chief Co-ordinator’s for the event Heshan Nanayakkara (the other Co-Chief Co-ordinator being Shalani Wijesinghe), he shared that this year’s theme for the competition is “Sustainable Innovation”, and that this year the hackX 2021 Innovative Startup Challenge is not only limited to tech-based solutions: “We are also open to any sustainable eco-friendly idea that will help the planet Earth to survive.”

He explained that hackX is only open to university undergraduates from Sri Lanka and they are allowed to compete in the event by forming teams of three to five members. Having received over 120 registrations along with project proposals including innovative ideas of the participating teams, the applicants’ proposals were subject to a screening process by a judge panel, following which the best 30 proposals were selected.

The initial pitch 

The final 15 were then selected from another round of judging where the contestants were encouraged to make an initial pitch to win the favour of a panel consisting of industrial experts from the corporate sector. The finalists were then appointed a mentor who would guide them through their journey to the finals and technical and business support was offered to them via capacity-building workshops along the way.

The best teams selected among the 15 finalists will be directed to the ICTA Pre-incubation Programme 2021 where these teams will be given further support and guidance to develop their innovative ideas into real-world startups.

The startups 

The innovative ideas for the startups ranged from mobile apps, websites, software, IoT devices, and wearables, all supporting the categories of medical/healthcare, visual assistant, environment conservation and sustainability, gaming, and agriculture. 

Heshan shared that while the individual start up ideas are yet to be revealed as they are in the developing stages and not even the fellow contestants have been made privy to that knowledge, it can be revealed that the startups making their way to the final would be well equipped on how best to utilise both technical and business aspects of developing and eventually launching a successful startup. 

He said that the finalists will gain knowledge on elements of cloud computing, applications of machine learning, and most importantly, the adaptation of an idea into a venture that is successful in the real world.

HackX 2021 grand finale

The 15 finalist teams will demonstrate their four-week mastered production and battle for the grand prize at the event held on 3 October 2021. Heshan shared that the finalists will be pitching their innovative ideas in front of a panel of Sri Lankan investors and corporate partners and the the judge panel will consist of: ISM APAC Technical Manager (SL Sana Projects) Harshani Ranawaka, Creative Software Cloud and Data Head Duminda Prasad, ICTA Senior Manager – Startup Ecosystem Development Nevindaree Premarathne, social entrepreneur and gudppl Founder and CEO Harinda Fonseka, and a senior lecturer from the Department of Industrial Management, Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya.

The winner, first runner-up, and second runner-up will be awarded cash prizes of Rs. 75,000, Rs. 50,000, and Rs. 25,000, respectively.

For more details, visit:

Website: https://hackx.lk

Facebook: HackX

Instagram: @hackx_uok

YouTube: hackX UoK