ICTA’s Disrupt Asia: Spotlight on driving digital innovation | Sunday Observer

ICTA’s Disrupt Asia: Spotlight on driving digital innovation

Ajith P. Perera
Ajith P. Perera

The fourth edition of the Disrupt Asia Conference and Innovation Festival, will begin on October 12.

Organised by ICTA (Information and Communication Technology Agency), it will provide a platform to share best practices and ideas across the entire innovation and startup ecosystem.

Disrupt Asia 2019 will not only showcase start-ups that speak about their ideas, products and services, but also strengthen their efforts by guiding young entrepreneurs, offering them valuable tools, and putting them in touch with experienced partners and mentors.

“As technology is a key driver in causing disruptive change, and proven to be a game-changer, our objective is to ensure that Sri Lanka can optimise on emerging digital opportunities through progressive policies and innovation by public and private sectors creating a vibrant economy and digital society for the benefit of all,” said Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology, Ajith P. Perera.

With an aim to map and strengthen the local startup ecosystem, Disruption Asia has for consecutive years continued to focus on new technologies, innovation and talent.

The conference also coincides with another Ministry initiative, the ‘ICT and Innovation Week’ which will be held from October 7-14. Organised by the Ministry, it aims to drive Sri Lanka towards a digitally empowered society and fast-track socio-economic growth through technology.

With Central Bank reports revealing that earnings from the export of telecommunications, computer, and information services have increased up to $ 995 million in 2018 and the knowledge services industry in Sri Lanka poised to grow to $ 5 billion annual export revenue by 2022, achieving this target will entail going up the value chain, with new players emerging and the expansion of the IT workforce enabling growth in the sector, an ICTA spokesman said.

Minister Perera said, “The ICT sector is growing to be the one of the mainstays of the Sri Lankan economy and become one of the major stakeholders in the Sri Lankan economy through its contributions to the export market.”

“To accelerate economic growth based on digital technology, our strategy includes a framework with the digitisation of priority sectors in the economy, accelerating growth and improvement of digital sectors and building the required digital infrastructure,” he said.

An important task undertaken by the Ministry is the facilitation of Sri Lanka’s National Digital Policy which outlines the country’s digital agenda from 2020 to 2025. It proposes building an innovative economy which creates a broad-base of opportunities for large companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups as key to achieving this digital vision.

“We aim to create a systematic, sustainable and enabling environment, conducive to building an innovation ecosystem by bringing together various technology stakeholders, paving the way towards a strong economy built on the twin engines of innovation and disruption,” the Minister said.