ICTA committed to inspire the next wave of growth | Sunday Observer

ICTA committed to inspire the next wave of growth

The 2018 edition of Disrupt Asia, a Start-up Conference and Innovation Festival, was held at the Trace - Expert City recently.

Organised by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), Disrupt Asia 2018 is the progression of an increased effort by the organisation to broaden the start-up landscape of the country and inspire the next wave of growth.

The Innovation Festival part of Disrupt Asia 2018 was the most significant addition to this year’s edition of the event and showcased many technological innovations that included advanced assistive technologies, works of art and digital activations for the public to experience and interact with.

Several elements of Disrupt Asia 2018 drew praise from young participants. One such group of youngsters was from the ‘Uki - Stepping Stone to Tech Life’, a full scholarship based Accelerator program for Coding in Jaffna, targeting students who have completed Advanced Level examinations but do not have access to university education or any other form of vocational education.

The students described how they were inspired by their interactions with other entrepreneurs and startup companies, established potentially long-term connections with numerous tech personalities and even picked up skills such as public speaking, pitching and presentations.

The Creative Pavilion of the Festival helped boost the local game development community by providing a platform for Sri Lankan game developers from across the island to showcase several locally-developed games. Some of them included the ‘Koombiyo’ by Kodex, ‘Extraction Valley’ by RAM Studios, ‘Zombie Rage’ by Motion Miracles and Ceylon Driver by RFactory.

The ICTA’s flagship program ‘Spiralation’, a Tech Startup Support Program which focuses on supporting new technology ventures, has been running since 2010.

The program has supported 56 companies during this period through funding and other benefits including mentoring, capacity development training as well as global and local exposure.

Similarly, ImagineIF is an initiative of ICTA which aims to initialise and develop the entrepreneurial mindset in universities and higher education institutes in Sri Lanka.

This year, the program will be hosted in six national universities with an open invitation to all other national universities and higher education institutes to take part in.

Project Manager of ICTA, Ahamed Nishadh said, “Disrupt Asia is a program that is constantly expanding and plays an important role in setting up a road map for start-ups to plan their journey towards success.

“With the help of the ICTA and our various other Industry - such as Spiralation and ImagineIF - that engage with all stakeholders, the start-up ecosystem in Sri Lanka now has a clear vision and focuses on action that will generate long-term results. This is exactly what is required to take Sri Lanka’s start-up ecosystem forward to compete in the regional and global stage,” he said.

Several experts from USA, Netherlands, UK, Singapore, Bangladesh, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka expressed their views on Artificial Intelligence, digital marketing, security and set the stage for disruptive thinking around STEAM education, creative industries and social entrepreneurship.