WTECH: The Women’s Technopreneurship Forum
The world over, women have played a key role in the development of ideas and innovation. As we know, a man invented guns but a woman invented the bullet-proof vest. This narrative is a true testament to the power of women’s creativity and game-changing ideas that have shaped the way the world works. In this same spirit, our Women Technopreneurs forum is designed to inspire and motivate the key women players in Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem and was launched on 22nd September 2020 at Shangri La, Colombo
The Women Technopreneurship Forum is closely connected to the SLASSCOM target which aims to generate a revenue of USD 5 billion in technology exports, create a 200,000 strong highly-skilled workforce and eventually facilitate the launch of 1,000 new startups by 2025. These goals are achieved by way of the various SLASSCOM forums and accelerators of which the Women’s Technopreneurship Forum is a key component. The forum will create a hands-on effort to help women entrepreneurs in the technology sector expand and achieve their goals. Here at SLASSCOM, we believe it essentially important to harness the potential of female tech entrepreneurs.
We believe that the Woman Technopreneurs Forum will create a necessary positive change across the tech ecosystem in Sri Lanka by supporting, promoting, and growing Women Technopreneurs, Startups & Businesses with women holding a majority or equal shareholding or at CxO Level.
The forum will collaborate closely with other SLASSCOM forums and partner with like-minded external chambers, trade associations, and organizations to leverage resources, knowledge, and expertise for women in the industry.
WTECH TALKS: Forging Forward with Inspiring Stories & Case Studies
Since the launch of WTECH in September 2020, Women Technopreneurs in Sri Lanka at all levels in the industry have begun to forge ahead and create new ways of doing business, which in turn sets an example for the entire industry. The innovations and ideas presented by leading women in the sector are now being featured as a series of WTECH Talks which share stories and case studies with others. In an effort to make the sessions more inclusive, they were delivered across the island in all three languages as well.
The success stories showcased at the talks included how one founder created a blockchain-based traceability solution connecting the entire supply chain of an organization. This groundbreaking solution attracted significant funding from a Japanese VC firm to a young PR maven named the “Most Influential Content Marketeer” by WMC, who turned that talent into founding a news aggregator and publishing company.
Another case study presented was a technopreneur’s journey into healthcare innovation. This project involved 3D printing technology for healthcare and an innovation consultancy that designs groundbreaking solutions that change the way we access healthcare and how healthcare providers deliver health services.
Also showcased was a startup woman technopreneur setting up a platform that offered unique product lines and digitization services that spanned across multiple verticals, including healthcare, HRM, virtual solutions, collaborative games, and more
Also, we invited Hira Fernando CEO of Careerly, a Washington D.C.-based career platform to deliver a talk at the session. She helps thousands of students and recent graduates find jobs and now supports and provides leadership to the ambitious Women Technopreneurs Forum.
We look forward to seeing more inspiring stories and case study presentations of this nature as we continue to help drive Sri Lankan women techies and tech founders who are changing the way we see and use technology.
The DesignTech Colombo Conference: at SLDF presented by SLASSCOM
Women Technopreneurs Forum in partnership with AOD
SLASSCOM Women Technopreneurs Forum was the ideal initiative to partner with the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) and the festival’s initiator, the Academy of Design (AOD).
This partnership helped push Colombo Design Tech Conference forward, as the forum comprises an innovative group of dynamic Lankan female entrepreneurs who use technology to create disruptive solutions from start-ups serving international markets.
The DesignTech Colombo Conference presented by SLASSCOM Women Technopreneurs comes together with AOD and SLDF to explore several key themes including the remarkable impact that drives innovation in Sri Lanka. The benefits of equal gender representation in this industry, as well as the role and value addition that women can bring into tech, are important points to highlight in the global south where gender pay gaps and imbalances are rife in many other industries.
The forum already works on several other initiatives that increase the number of women-run tech businesses in the country while also nurturing women technopreneurs to venture into export-oriented businesses. The members of our forum provide in-depth insights as to what Sri Lanka must do to use technology that can revitalize the economy and involve a massive untapped female workforce in the process. Bringing these ideas to SLDF through the DesignTech Conference was a culmination of these many forward-facing initiatives.