ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP):South Asian Association Regional Chamber (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has organized ‘Startup Boot Camp’ to strengthen startup ecosystems in South Asia for Young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.

The SAARC CCI Startup Boot Camp was successfully held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 13th to 14th of December 2019, organized by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) and in collaboration with Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and Academy of Digital Business (ADB).

The Boot Camp was a training programme for Sri Lankan young entrepreneurs who had just started their business ventures, said a press release issued here on Wednesday.

In fact, the Boot Camp held in Sri Lanka has been the 5th training programme in a series of SAARC CCI Boot Camps scheduled to be held in every country in South Asia.

In line with the recommendations of SAARC Startup Vision Summit 2018, the series of SAARC CCI Boot Camps are being organised with the intention of developing a mechanism to ensure cross border learning, exposure and mentoring for startups and to strengthen startup ecosystems across South Asia, especially in the South Asian countries with no startup ecosystems or least developed startup ecosystems.

The 1st SAARC CCI Boot camp was held in Kathmandu Nepal in April 2019, the 2nd Boot Camp was in Dhaka Bangladesh in June 2019, the 3rd Boot Camp occurred in Male Maldives in September 2019, the 4th Boot Camp held in Lahore Pakistan in October 2019, the 5th Boot Camp was successfully organized on 13th-14th December 2019 in Colombo Sri Lanka.

The main objective of the SAARC CCI Boot Camp in Colombo was to guide and train the young Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to develop their startups into the next levels of their business ventures, to give them an opportunity to present their startups to a panel of mentors and business experts thereby gaining their feedback on the startups, direct constructive advice, and to give the young trainers an opportunity to have access to valuable business networks across South Asia and beyond.

It was significant that over 40 selected young entrepreneurs and university students who are in business studies actively participated at the training programme.

Sagarica Delgoda, Country Director – Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Secretary General (Interim) – SAARC CCI, Prasanna Liyanage, Immediate Past President – Colombo Chamber of Commerce, Waruna Dhanapala, Additional Secretary (Development) – Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology, Dr. Hugo Wisidagama Founding Director at LDR Technology Pte Ltd, Damith Gangodawilage, Chief Academic Officer – Academy of Digital Business, Kanishka Weeramunda, Founder PayMedia and Leading Business Mentor, the two Indian expert mentors; Saravana Mani, Head – Open Innovation, and C. Subramanian, Author and International Sales Trainer, and Tilan M. Wijesooriya, Associate Director – SAARC CCI Sub Office South, took part in the event as distinguished guests, mentors and resource persons.

Sagarica Delgoda, Country Director – FNF (Friedrich Naumann Foundation) Sri Lanka, addressing the young entrepreneurs, mentioned, “in terms of startup ecosystems in South Asia, we encounter terms such as “Infancy” (Nepal), Coming of age (Bangladesh), Making strides compared to last few years (Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and building up from zero (Bhutan). Although the Indian startup ecosystem has evolved dynamically in the last two decade, the ecosystem has not reached full maturity with lacunas in active investors and support organisations such as incubators and accelerators. Therefore, this particular series of programmes done by SAARC CCI to boost the Startup ecosystems in South Asia is not only timely, but has great value. FNF is proud to be a partner of such a programme.”

The Boot Camp covered all important dimensions of development of startups such as Idea Pivoting, Lean Converse Model, Design Thinking, Digital Quoting Improvement, Sustainable Digital Influence for Startup, Financing and Compliance Management, Tales from the Trenches and Role Models. The training programme was in fact rich with both theoretical perspectives and creative activities for the trainees. All the young trainees were awarded with certificates at the closing ceremony of the SAARC CCI Boot Camp.

The young trainees were extremely happy about the training programme of SAARC CCI Boot Camp and they enthusiastically commented, “Thank you very much SAARC CCI organizers and expert mentors, all the great personalities for the given opportunity and sharing your expert knowledge with us. It was an excellent workshop and we would like to take part in SAARC CCI future events as well. Also, we would like to suggest that in future programmes it’s better to have participation of young entrepreneurs from all South Asian Countries at a one common forum giving us an opportunity to directly share experiences and knowledge with our counterparts in other South Asian countries. We again thank SAARC CCI very much for organizing this wonderful Boot Camp in Colombo, Sri Lanka.”