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    Sri Lanka No: 2 destination among startup ecosystems for talent

    The annual domestic eCommerce sales and services in Sri Lanka is estimated to be at $40 million and expected to grow $400 million by 2022, the 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network which was launched yesterday at The Ecosystems Couch Conference said.

    The report also identified the strong potential of Sri Lankan startups in the eCommerce and FinTech sectors.

    It has identified the Sri Lankan government’s support for technology companies and competitive talent as reasons for startups to operate in Sri Lanka. The report recognized Sri Lanka for being the number two destination among global startup ecosystems for affordable talent.

    New regulations by the Central Bank has empowered Sri Lankan FinTech startups, which have also found new support with the launch of HatchX, which is Sri Lanka’s first FinTech accelerator and the first virtual accelerator in South Asia. The accelerator was launched in April 2020 and is an initiative by Hatch in partnership with the Lankan Angel Network.

    The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) engaged Startup Genome to benchmark Sri Lanka’s performance against more than 250 startup ecosystems globally in the report.

    Chairman of ICTA, Jayantha De Silva said, “The value of Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem has more than quadrupled from Rs 5.4 billion to Rs 21.8 billion in the past two years. We, as the ‘Island Of Ingenuity,’ take pride in our product engineering talent pool which has delivered world-class products and gained investor confidence globally.”

    Despite the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, local investors have also reassured their commitment to supporting local startups. Chairman of the Lankan Angel Network, Mano Sekaram said, “Over the past decade, regional VCs, foreign investors, and other parties have made significant investments into tech startups.”

    PayHere CEO, Dhanika Perera shared, “The COVID-19 pandemic expedited consumer adoption of eCommerce out of necessity. PayHere recorded a remarkable 4x growth on daily payments processed for local eCommerce businesses. This shift in consumer behavior has now convinced traditional businesses to move online.”

    With an expanding footprint, the 2020 GSER provides insights and guidance to foster thriving startup ecosystems and leveraging them to restart economies following the COVID-19 lockdowns. “This is the time for policymakers, community leaders, and foundations to double down on their support of local startups, the number one engine of job creation and economic growth,” said JF Gauthier, Founder & CEO of Startup Genome.

    “For Sri Lankan startups, there are opportunities in several industries they can capitalize on to grow their business and the national economy,” COO of SLINTEC, Heminda Jayaweera said.

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