Sri Lanka Unites (SLU)– thecountry’s largest youth movement for reconciliation and leadership development – recently launched Shark’s Tank live via the Sri Lanka Unites Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The Sri Lanka Unites movement is engaged in every district of the nation and has established 9reconciliation centresacross the island. The Business Entrepreneurship course which is taught at these centers provides an introduction to entrepreneurship, problem-solving, market research,branding, sales, financial management, expansion, and much more. Students are then guided to create their business plan,the most innovative and investable of which are then selected for the final round. The finalists then pitch their businesses to some of the country’s renowned investors and business tycoons at the final event which is usually hosted in Colombo.
Funded by the Canadian High Commission, the 2021 edition of Shark’s Tank focused on 4of the poorest districts of the country – Monaragala, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa and Nuwara Eliya– where Sri Lanka Unites has alreadyestablished itsreconciliation centers and has been engaging with the communities over the years. The youth of these districts have limited opportunities and reportedlyrecord the highest rates of unemployment and poverty.
Over 200 youth in all 4 districts participated in the trainings, and 20 young men and women were selected and brought down to Colombo to pitch their ideas to anesteemed panel comprising Jeevan Gnanam–Serial Entrepreneur, Shalin Balasuriya– Director and Co-Founder of Spa Ceylon, Nayana Karunaratne – Founder of Salon Nayana, DulithHerath– Founder and Chairman of Kapruka.com, Fouzul Hameed – Managing Director of Hameedia Group, and SammaniPathiranagama– Founder and Head Designer of O:LIVE.couture.
Sri Lanka Unitesexpresses its gratitude to the panelists who continue to work towards empoweringyoung entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. Together, they have pledged over a million rupees – in addition to their time – to mentor these young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Kalayarashi is a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Mullaitivu with a unique business of making healthy snacks for her community as she sees a pattern of unhealthy eating habits. Her ideawon a total investment of Rs.200,000 from Jeevan Gnanam and Fouzul Hameed. Kalayarashi – who was only 10 years old when SLU began engaging with the Mullaitivucommunity – has now grown up to be a powerhouse in her community and a true epitomeof transformation and inspiration.
Mangalika from Monaragala– who is a mother with a disability, running her own business of ornamental fish farming to support her family – also won an investment of Rs.150,000 from SammaniPathiranagama, Duluth Herath and Nayana Karunaratne, to expand her business by building four more tanks. SLU is inspired by Mangalika who, despite her circumstances, strives to work hard for her family and the development of our economy.