Many reveal at some point or another of becoming an entrepreneur, and having their own ideas made into profitable business ventures. But making such dream a reality is not as easy as it seems, since it requires knowledge, experience, investments, hard work, dedication and also that little bit of luck.
Having met with many budding entrepreneurs and assisted most of them to establish their own businesses in Sri Lanka and providing the legal advice necessary to get established, it is yet a daunting task to commence business operations and ensure sustainability of the company since it is an ongoing process with numerous ups and downs and some of the reasons for such instability is due to the lack of funding and the lack of know-how to operate one’s own business.
With such lacuna existing in most businesses, a unique concept has been introduced by Blue Ocean Ventures and the Indian Angel Network who has collaborated to host Venture Engine 2014, a project aimed at fostering entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. This project having been initially launched in 2012, has served as a springboard for 12 businesses by providing Rs. 200 million in investment for these businesses.
In Sri Lanka, most entrepreneurs are held with a daunting task of attracting investors, where they have the option of entering into dubious financial arrangements to fund the business and as a result most of the time such businesses are closed down; or the other option of seeking financial assistance through banks, which is well monitored yet the borrower is required to provide collateral for the funding provided by the bank for the business. Thereby it is not always feasible to start up just any business in Sri Lanka. Therefore this project can be considered an answer to any budding entrepreneur with zero collateral but with a well researched business plan looking for that backing towards starting up the business.
The uniqueness of this project is that it involves high risk investments being made by 3rd parties on the equity of the company and nothing else, which is something anyone could hardly find and can be considered the perfect solution for any budding entrepreneur, especially in Sri Lanka.
Another feature of this project is that the entrepreneur is granted the opportunity to convey their business proposal directly to the investors and the selected candidates are mentored by the Indian Angel Network and also the Lankan Angel Network. The selected top ten candidates have a good opportunity to gain the required investment and mentoring to set up and expand their company.
The project might seem not-so-practical from a capitalist’s point of view but proof of the project’s success actually exists in Sri Lanka in the form of thriving businesses such as takas.lk, Wild Trails, Nithya, Lanka BPO Academy, Saraii, House of Lonali, etc.
This initiative is sponsored by Expolanka Holdings PLC, Orion City and also Dialog Axiata PLC. The calling for business plans was officially launched on the 29th of April 2014 and the last date for submissions is scheduled for the 26th of May 2014, after which a selection process will proceed where a panel of local and overseas investors will review business plans of applicants and thereby select a minimum of 20 applicants who will be participating in the second round where the applicants will be provided with valuable critique and insight during the competition process and thereafter these entrepreneurs will be provided an opportunity to pitch to a panel of local and international investors with the most exceptional business plans which shall be announced at the finale.
It can be suggest that Venture Engine is any budding entrepreneur’s solution to starting up and most importantly it generates cultural entrepreneurship which is currently lacking in our society. With the end of a 30 year civil war, and many business potentials springing up, it can be recommended as the perfect opportunity for anyone with entrepreneurial interests to take part in which is definitely an opportunity not to be missed out on.
For more information on the project, the application process and resources visit the official Venture Engine website www.ventureengine.lk. Applicants can submit their applications via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further assistance regarding the project and competition contact email@example.com