Venture Engine, a platform already widely recognised for empowering Sri Lankan entrepreneurship is keen to attract high growth potential companies, both start-ups and firms looking
to expand, which also have a social impact.
As such, in 2016, Venture Engine has added a new award, sponsored by Aavishkaar and the German government-owned KfW development bank, to recognise high growth business plans with social impact. Aavishkaar is recognised globally for pioneering the approach of investing in companies, which not only have high growth potential, but also have high social or environmental impact, and is now investing in Sri Lanka.
However, this is by no means the first time that Venture Engine has fostered social enterprises, as the programme already has a long tradition of mentoring and funding sustainable and ethical, as well as high growth, companies.
One such enterprise is Saraii Village, an unique eco tourism resort in the South of Sri Lanka created for ecologically responsible international travellers. “First conceived as part of my MBA in 2012, Saraii entered Venture Engine in 2013 and advanced to be showcased as a ‘Top Fundable’ company. Angel investment also enabled us to continue to expand, with a second round of funding, completed in December 2015, allowing us to grow even more. Most recently, we were also proud to be named as a nominee at the ‘World Luxury Hotel Awards’”, said Charitha Hettiarachchi, Founder/CEO of Saraii Village. Another is sustainable and ethical fashion label House of Lonali, a Venture Engine 2012 participant that creates one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories using upcycled, apparel factory discards and other sustainable materials.
“Venture Engine helped me realise my dream of creating a sustainable and ethical fashion business. The funding and business guidance that was given to me helped me immensely in launching and building House of Lonali”, said Lonali Rodrigo, Founder/CEO of House of Lonali.
Conceptualised by Blue Ocean Ventures, in collaboration with the Indian Angel Network, Venture Engine is run by strategic partner Lankan Angel Network, and backed by platinum sponsors Expolanka Holdings, Orion City, Dialog and Aavishkaar, supported by KfW.
With a focus on real world results, Venture Engine has, since 2012, provided Sri Lankan entrepreneurs with every opportunity needed to fast track business success, specifically by developing stronger business plans, aided by mentoring sessions, in addition to educational workshops on Accounting, Governance, Marketing Legal, Recruitment, etc. that feature some of the region’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders. To date, the programme has witnessed 20 start-ups being mentored and funded, valued at more than US$ 5 million, with this year’s Venture Engine being its fifth successful year.
Open to new business ideas and start-ups, as well as existing enterprises looking to go to the next level, Venture Engine has already begun accepting applications via www.ventureengine.lk. Entries will close on May 11, 2016, at 12 midnight.