Pix by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi
Venture Engine 2012 comes to a close amidst much appreciation from Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs and Businessmen at the concept behind the event and the opportunities created. Winning the coveted first place was 24/7 Techies, with Lanka BPO in second place and Trekurious in third.
"Expolanka is always looking to empower budding entrepreneurs who encapsulate the dare-to-do spirit that is part of our DNA. This is why Venture Engine was the ideal project for us to support, and the immense potential we have seen throughout this event has only strengthened our commitment to help develop Sri Lankan entrepreneurship ," said Hanif Yusoof, Group CEO of Expolanka.
“We are honored and privileged to partner with Venture Engine 2012 in their efforts to empower entrepreneurs across Sri Lanka.“ Kavan Ratnayaka, Group Chief Corporate Officer for Dialog Axiata PLC said. “Dialog has long been at the forefront of endeavors that promote a structured approach to business by introducing means of empowerment via programs aimed at honing the skill set required to be a successful entrepreneur, such as SMEToolkit and Dialog Viyapara Diriya.” “Events such as Venture Engine 2012 resonate strongly with our ethos of empowering and enriching Sri Lankan lives and serve as a natural extension of our promise of delivering the Future. Today.”
On March 1st, Entrepreneurs around Sri Lanka were given the chance of a lifetime, with the launch of Venture Engine, a unique initiative geared to provide real opportunities to build their business. The response was overwhelming with a multitude of high quality business plans coming in, so much so that not only did the organizers extend the submission deadline to meet demand but also added more evaluation sessions to the event calendar to give further opportunities for each team to pitch to investors.
After nearly 4 months of preparing their plans, presenting to eminent judging panels and receiving invaluable mentoring sessions by leaders in the industry, the Top 9 were selected and went onto make a final presentation to a panel of 13 leading Indian & Sri Lankan investors with global expertise.
The finale held on the 20th of June, was an exciting event that celebrated not only the achievements of the winners but also that of each of the teams and individuals who participated in the event showcasing the vast potential of entrepreneurial ideas in Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the event on behalf of the participants, finalist Ms. Lonali Rodrigo thanked the event organizers and sponsors for creating a platform that took each entrepreneur closer to realizing their vision and the panel for their invaluable advice. "You have twisted our tales now, and we are all excited to start action soon," she added.
The international panel of judges that flew in for the finale expressed their excitement at the potential and ideas showcased at the event. “Venture Engine is a unique model as it helps ignite the entrepreneurial engine in Sri Lanka which will only help drive the economic growth in the region. At IAN, we are very excited to see unique propositions with very robust plans and high quality teams with high growth potential and IAN will not only help them open Indian markets, but world markets as well through its large global networks,” said Ms. Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel Network
Overall the sentiment at the event was one of appreciation for this initiative as the only one of its kind in terms of creating opportunities for funding, an essential element for most budding businesses.
A concept visualized and created by Blue Ocean Ventures and the Indian Angel Network, the event was made possible by the Platinum Sponsors Expolanka and Dialog Axiata. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Blue Ocean Ventures, expressed great appreciation for the sponsors whose unwavering support and commitment to empowering entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka made this event possible.
The potential showcased at this event was so immense that it prompted a team of investors, namely Prajeeth Balasubramaniam (Co-Founder & Managing Directors of Blue Ocean Ventures), Mafaz Ishaq (Director Calamander Capital), Jeevan Gnanam (Director/CEO Orion City/Anton), Apurva Udeshi (Managing Director, Argent Capital), Sanath Fernando (CEO, Ridgecrest) and Rajan Anandan (Chairman, Blue Ocean Ventures) to create the Lankan Angel Network. The LAN will focus on continuing to provide mentoring and creating investment opportunities for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs.
A resounding success Venture Engine will be back in 2013 and all signs point towards an even bigger response from budding entrepreneurs.