This initiative aims to connect the innovation and start-up ecosystems in Europe and Sri Lanka. Between 2020 to 2021, a network of incubators and accelerators from Europe and Sri Lanka will meet in three networking events and explore opportunities for matchmaking, scaling up, co-creation, co-development and co- investment for incubators, accelerators and start-up entrepreneurs and innovators. Connecting incubators in such a way will enable them to support their portfolio startups with reciprocal market access to Europe and to Sri Lanka and South Asia, with Sri Lanka acting as an important gateway to the wider region.
The initiative also entails an EU-South Asia start-up helpdesk and facilitates corporate and investor open innovation tech scouting. The aim is to kick-start a self-sustaining ecosystem that fosters high-level interactions and technology & innovation partnerships that benefit both regions.
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The EU through the EU delegation to Sri Lanka launched a first project in early 2020 with the aim to foster innovation cooperation between Sri Lanka and Europe.
Fostering partnerships with Sri Lanka’s growing innovation and start-up ecosystem is seen as an important tool to strengthening overall EU-Sri Lankan Partnership. The first EU-Sri Lanka innovation week took place in March 2020 where EU and Sri Lankan stakeholders had the chance to initiate collaboration. The EU-Sri Lanka Innovation Partnership initiative will provide a great opportunity for Europe and Sri Lanka to foster research and innovation networks, and to collaborate in implementing incubation, acceleration and scaling up programs that can support start-ups from both sides to co-create and scale to the other region. Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan innovation ecosystem can further build up their capacity by benefiting from good practice examples and innovations from Europe.
To achieve the above, three key activities are foreseen:
This activity entails networking of start-up incubators and accelerators from Europe and Sri Lanka, in particular to:
You already have some links to the other region’s start-up communities and would like to build on these relationships
You don’t have previous links to the other region but are interested in internationalising and have a genuine interest in how innovation and business work in the other region
You want to connect to entrepreneurs from the other region and participate in relevant events to exchange ideas, expertise, explore partnerships for co-product development or market leverage
You want to benefit from the skills and knowledge of partners in the other region to develop innovative products, service and solutions to common challenges, best practise and staff exchanges
You support/host start-ups in sectors such as energy, agriculture, healthcare, robotics, and SDG related sectors
This initiative focuses on creating incubator/accelerator level partnerships that should act as multipliers to ultimately benefit a larger number of start-ups than could be reached otherwise. The initiative does not only include incubators/accelerators but also involves VCs, angel investors, corporates, and bilateral support agencies and government organisations that support innovation.
Here is a list of the incubators/accelerators involved in this EU initiative:
Sri Lankan incubators/accelerators:
4 December 2020 - Virtual event
On 4 December, 10 carefully selected European and Sri Lankan incubators and accelerators came together in a virtual setting. The objective of the First Networking Event was to familiarise the 5 Sri Lankan and the 5 European incubators/accelerators with each other and to help them kickstart collaboration. Thus, the first event provided space for each incubator to introduce themselves, clearly outlining their motivation for participating in the EU-SLIP project, and stimulated discussion of joint activities during the networking sessions.
In addition, the event aimed to provide useful information to participants on how to build successful partnerships between the EU and Sri Lanka. The presentation of Giordano Dichter shed light on factors and steps that should be taken to ensure long-lasting and fruitful collaborations. Lastly, the event also introduced the support that the EU Service Facility team will provide to facilitate corporate and investor open innovation and tech scouting. For this purpose, three corporates (CISCO, John Keells and Growrite) were invited to the event to discuss potential opportunities for cooperation with tech hubs and start-ups.
The event was a success and collaborations are underway between the Sri Lankan and European incubators.
Here is the PowerPoint deck presented at the event.
22 April 2021 – Virtual event
The second networking event reconvened the 5 Sri Lankan and the 5 European incubators/accelerators that participated in the first EU-SLIP incubator networking event in December 2020.
The objective of this event, which was achieved was to:
Finally, parallel training workshops were organised respectively for the EU and Sri Lankan incubators during this event. The EU incubators participated in the workshop on how EU start-ups can be concretely supported to accelerate into the Sri Lankan market and the opportunities in the South Asian ecosystem. This workshop was facilitated by Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Chairman, Council for Startups at The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka. (Downloadable recording of the workshop).
In parallel, the Sri Lankan incubators participated in the workshop on how start-ups can concretely accelerate into Europe and the opportunities available in the European market, facilitated Olivia Exton, the Programme Manager, Startup Campus and Rodrigo Olmedo, Director, uGlobally. (Downloadable recording of the workshop).
Here is the PowerPoint deck presented at the event.
17 December 2020
This Webinar was designed to connect Sri Lankan incubators with the European counterparts in order to drive international connections and opportunities. Thus, all Sri Lankan innovation and entrepreneurship enablers were invited to take part in the webinar.
Delivered by international private sector development experts, European incubator managers and by representatives of leading EU and international networks, this Webinar covered the following:
Here is the PowerPoint deck presented at the workshop.