Pic by Kushan Pathiraja
By Zahara Zuhair
Expressing their enthusiasm to support Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and businesses, a top US official recently stressed the importance of boosting Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem.
“I’m here to underscore that our companies are ready to partner with your business community, as Sri Lanka realizes its potential and is ready to move to the next level,” Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs of the US Charles Rivkin told IT entrepreneurs at the Trace Expert City in Colombo, during his brief visit to
His visit is part of the ongoing series of the US State Department Innovation roadshows across Asia, which was launched by Secretary John Kerry, showcasing American brand of innovation in entrepreneurship with the objective of promoting shared property of inclusive growth.
“We like to support entrepreneurs because we like to back winners. We believe investing in Sri Lankan people is an investment for a better future. You can only imagine what more you would be able to do when further reforms allow investors and financiers to support new ideas and more new companies would be able to do,” he said.
In Sri Lanka, he said, they have seen the power of entrepreneurship already,
as the entrepreneurs in this country create thousands of jobs particularly in areas
such as Information and Technology (IT)
and tourism, noting that there are many groups from US government and the private sector who are keen to participate in new ideas and companies.
“That is why we are here, to fully embrace the innovation. Right now we want to increase the level of American investment here. Skill transfer, technology transfer etc are the things we have to look at,” he said.
Noting that he was extremely pleased to be in Sri Lanka, he said that he will be meeting the Sri Lankan government officials and business leaders to discuss on fastening the economic development. “We could do this by encouraging foreign investment and increasing trade,” he noted.
Further, asserting the importance of building a culture of entrepreneurship, he advised the entrepreneurs to take the first step in faith in order to move to the next.
He also said that entrepreneurship and innovation play a key role in driving economies and societies.
“You know the constrains better than anybody else and it is about you creating jobs, and what is truly exciting in my opining is how many pieces of the puzzle are coming together before our eyes,” he said.
Prior to his appointment as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, he served as the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco and headed several companies.