Youth in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province turn towards innovative startups
The Yarl IT Hub (YIT) in Sri Lanka established in 2013 has reportedly resulted in more youth from the Northern Province turning to innovative startups under the initiative.
According to reports, they are made competitive via the Yarl Geek Challenge Accelerator which runs for six months for a selected cohort of early-stage startups twice a year.
During these six months, the startups will be offered training, mentoring, seed funding, and networking opportunities. In doing so, the accelerator aims to help its entrepreneurs generate revenue, acquire the skills needed to build a startup, expand their networks, and to be investor-ready, the Daily FT has reported.
When initial applications were called, the Yarl IT Hub had received over 15 applications and the shortlisted startups were called for an interview following an initial filtering. Finally, six startups were accepted into the first cohort of the Yarl Geek Challenge Accelerator programme. These six startups are namely Cookoo Eats, Olai Shop, HEUX STUDIO, Chicke, Treety and Thoory Store.
The Accelerator programme was officially launched in mid-2020 and over a six-month period, the startups were paired with mentors whom they had regular interactions with. At the end of this, a demo day was held where the startups pitched their businesses.
The event has witnessed 50 investors and well-wishers from several countries. With its first cohort having graduated from the programme, the YGC Accelerator has already kicked off its second cohort with nine startups now going through the programme, the news report has further stated.
YIT says over the years talented youth from the Northern Province have been entering the local IT industry and that the YIT was formed to realise the underlying potential for this part of the island to be the next Silicon Valley.
YIT was initiated with the goal of inspiring, supporting, and fostering the upcoming generation in the north in the fields of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Accordingly, historically, the Yarl Geek Challenge had been a gateway for its participants into the startup ecosystem, offering the participants mentoring, networking opportunities with industry leaders, and additional resources.
The business/development opportunities in Sri Lanka are now expanding to more areas from the country’s commercial capital, Colombo. There has been an increase in the number of start ups in the business sector from all parts of the country. This is also indicative of the growth and strength of the country’s economy. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have made it a business hub in the South Asian region. Given the expanding business potential in Sri Lanka, foreign businesses/investors could explore opportunities in the country as well as look at the possibility of forming partnerships/joint ventures with the upcoming business start ups with the aim of further diversification.
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