Gamata Technology, an accelerator platform initiated by youth-tech entrepreneurs covering every corner of Sri Lanka was officially launched recently at a ceremony held in Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The event was delegated by young entrepreneurs, leading tech companies, renowned personalities and Locals covering 19 Districts over Sri Lanka.
The concept of Gamata Tech was build based on a research done on technological usage for several years, across Sri Lanka. The research exposed how a high percentage of youth misuse the technology at their hands due to lack of knowledge and empowerment. On the other hand they explored the lack of technological knowledgeof government officials and other parties. Drawing along the conclusions received, the founders explored the avenues and potential of the youth in rural areas who lacked a platform to enhance their strengths and execute their innovative ideas.
The event was also used as an arena to introduce several innovative mobile applications to strengthen the technological revolution in rural areas introduced and innovated by I.C.A.N Advertising. The applications included Friends Belt (A genuine social media platform suitable to Sri Lanka), Gedarata Plus (A multi-vendor shopping platform from home), Esenin (A taxi app which passengers and drivers use) and Paara.lk (A comprehensive directory).
The event had several sessions which educated and shared the opportunities for youth entrepreneurs from rural areas in Sri Lanka. One of the highlight’s of the day included the panel discussion which cultivated Dialogue on Digital Sri Lanka with the participation of erudite speakers of the industry. The experienced panelists included Kushil Gunasekara, Founder and the Chief Trustee, Foundation of Goodness, Achala Samaradiwakara, co-founder Good Market, Fathhi Mohamed, Co-founder of PickMe and Yoho Bed, Isura Silva, Consultant, Strategic Management of Sarvodaya Fusion and Dr. Ashan Perera, UN SDG Action Award Winner 2018, Youth Advocate, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of The Road to Rights Youth-Led Organization. The panel was moderated by Dr. Nirmal De Silva- Co founder and CEO of Paramount.
The discussion was built around subjects such as opportunities and challenges of the rural entrepreneurship in SL, Responsibility of a society powered with technology, Why Sri Lanka needs entrepreneurship, Social entrepreneurship and a wide range of subjects that cover the arena of rural entrepreneurship.
Welcoming the gathering Dr. Ashan Perera commented on the importance of a platform such as Gamata Technology “While we were conducting the initial researches, I met many young Sri Lankans who had wonderful innovative ideas; web sites to promote tourism, integrate and notify people and business places, platforms to reach the international audience of historical monuments while being at their own hometowns. But these innovators lack the technology and the knowledge to execute these ideas. So if we all can take the right technology and right technological resources to the rural areas, we can build our countrywith these ideas to great heights. Eventhough there’s people are waiting to change the world in rural areas, there’s no stage built for them to do so. World is moving in great speed with technology. If we do not transport technological knowledge and skills to rural areas, we won’t be able to join the international arena.”
He further added “This launch of Gamata technology program, we hope to take the program to the people in all 25 districts. We will be meeting the youth, government officials etc. If we can give the right technological knowledge to these groups, we can find many resources for every industry. These resources are the ones which will change Sri Lanka, strengthen the culture, traditions and the unity we hold. We should identify them. I welcome Business sector, Entrepreneurs, Policy makers to join with us in strengthening them. The people who are behind this program can change the cities, our country and win the world.”
The generation of innovative ideas was given much attention at the panel discussion as the panelists discussed how the trend of business models has given way to the course of evolution. They emphasized how businesses are no longer profit oriented, but socially responsible businesses modeled around changing the society can sustain in the market. Achala Samaradiwakara, co-founder Good Market mentioned that it is all about using the current issues of the system, and changing the system using technology. It’s not always about doing something new, but doing it differently adopting to the context and customers. Co-Founder of PickMe Fathhi Mohamed added. Environment and other social crisis are discussed at every platforms today, and the panelists provided examples on how we can prepare ourselves as a country to face such adversities in the future through social entrepreneurship, by solving the issues in the rural areas, by the youth entrepreneurs, using technology.
Isuru Silva, Consultant, Strategic Management of Sarvodaya Fusion explained how norms and attitudes of education in Sri Lanka has to change. They discussed how as opposed to the popular myth, we can elevate and promote traditions and culture of Sri Lanka through technology.
Many businesses complaint how Sri Lanka’s market is less competitive as we are limited with a population of 21 million. The panel conversed on how such factors does not matter, as long as a strong business model with flexibility is used. The probability of expanding Sri Lankan initiatives such as Pick Me into the global market was also discussed.
Gamata Tech is an independent national initiative collaborated with The Road to Rights Youth-led Organization and Mithuru Mithuro Movement. The event was supported by I.C.A.N Advertising; a grassroots initiative which has made an impact on lives of people in over 15 districts through tech-based platforms. I.C.A.N has been engaged in the technology and advertising industries for over three years and with a team of experts in this field for over six years.