In a joint effort to empower startups in the country, PwC Sri Lanka has joined hands with SLASSCOM (Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies) to introduce Sri Lanka to Europe’s largest and leading annual startup and technology event, SLUSH, while also giving local startups a unique opportunity to help solve pressing challenges the world is facing today.
For the first time in the country’s history, PwC Sri Lanka and SLASSCOM organised the SLUSH Global impact accelerator 2016 – local competition to select the best Sri Lankan impact oriented startup which will go on to take part at the international event to be held in Helsinki, Finland from November 22 to December 2, 2016.
SLUSH Global Impact Accelerator is a programme created in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and multiple global partners including World Bank. The purpose is to create a leading global accelerator to support startups that are looking to solve some of the most pressing global challenges and contributing to the discussion on impact investing.
SLUSH Global appointed PwC Sri Lanka as the exclusive hub manager for the SLUSH Sri Lanka event. The Sri Lankan leg of the competition was held on September 14, 2016 in Colombo, where out of a total of 22 applicants, 15 of the best startups selected by panel of judges took part in the local competition.
The 15 startups were selected based on their individual and unique business concepts with the main criteria being that the startup had a measurable positive impact on people, society or planet, and with the concept having the potential to scale and drive to succeed.
At the September 14 final pitching competition, three of the best teams were shortlisted and the final selection committee based in Helsinki will evaluate the best concept and choose the Sri Lankan winner after conducting interviews with the three shortlisted candidates.
The local leg of the competition is seen as an important platform to help local startups progress to a global level. In 2015, SLUSH brought together 15,000 participants from 100 countries in Helsinki helping startups connect with top-tier international investors, executives, and media.
The winner of the Sri Lankan competition will receive online pre-mentoring organized for all selected participants, along with access to various skill building workshops and capacity building programmes organized with leaders from across the world. The Sri Lankan winner will also have the opportunity to take part in the boot camp in Helsinki and industry specific matchmaking sessions co-organised with leading organisations of global repute.
SLUSH will cover the transportation, accommodation and other programme related costs for the Sri Lanka winner which will also have access to the slush matchmaking tool for organizing 1-on-1 meetings with investors, apart from the opportunity to be featured in the Slush 100 Pitching Competition & Slush Impact Showcase.
SLASSCOM is the national chamber for the IT/BPM industry in Sri Lanka and acts as the catalyst of growth for the Sri Lankan IT and BPM industry by facilitating trade and business, propagation of education and employment, encouragement of research and innovation, and by supporting the creation of a progressive national policy framework. It has an ambitious 2022 Vision to become a $5 billion industry, creating 200,000 direct jobs and launching 1,000 start-ups.
PwC’s SLUSH partnership head Lauri Lehtovuori said that PwC is a global sponsor for the startup and technology conference SLUSH. “As part of the collaboration, PwC is committed to support SLUSH’s expansion worldwide. Our collaboration with SLUSH provides a win-win opportunity to work with fast-moving and ambitious companies at the start of their lifecycle and with more established companies looking to build entrepreneurial businesses within their existing businesses,” she said.