John Keells to encourage innovators with Open Innovation Challenge

JKX

May 02, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s blue chip John Keells Holdings plans to boost local creative and intellectual talent with the launch of its second John Keells X “Open Innovation Challenge 2017”

The programme will allow teams of aspiring innovators to compete for a chance to win entry into a six-month accelerator programme at John Keells Holdings that offers two million rupees in seed investment, the company said in a statement.

The winners will also be eligible for a curated growth oriented curriculum, office space in Colombo, access to legal, finance and secretarial expertise, access to mentors involving senior JKH leadership, active interaction with JKH businesses, as well as the prospects of further investment during or after the six month Accelerator Program.

John Keells X was first launched in 2016 with the goal of boosting creative and intellectual talent through a public competitive format.

Competing teams must work to exhibit disruptively innovative ideas that hold the potential to complement the core sectors that John Keells Holdings PLC is currently engaged in, such that growth of their early stage business can be accelerated through aligning with any JKH business unit or industry vertical spanning leisure, transportation, consumer foods and retail, property, financial services, information technology and plantation services.

Applications for the challenge open from 2 May to 25 June 2017,and can be submitted through the event website: www.johnkeellsX.com. There, participants can also discover more information about the Accelerator Programme, including details of the selection process and basic guidance on how to get started.

Shortlisted candidates will go on to a ‘Demo Day’ where they will pitch their ideas to an eminent panel of judges.

The panel of judges for this year will (Deputy Chairman – JKH), Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director – JKH), Krishan Balendra (President, Leisure Sector/Director – JKH), Gihan Cooray (President, Retail Sector/Director – JKH), Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya (Regional CEO – Axiata Group South Asia/Non-Executive Director – JKH), Jonathan Alles (Managing Director/CEO – Hatton National Bank PLC), and Ramesh Shanmuganathan (Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer – JKH)

Upto seven of the best teams from Demo Day will thereafter be selected to participate in a six month Accelerator Program running from November through to April 2018.