The Brandix Group has pledged to support efforts by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura to stimulate invention and innovation as one of the initiatives of the latter’s World Class University Project.
As a first step in this partnership, the Brandix-led start-up seed accelerator Disrupt Unlimited accepted an invitation to be one of the presenters at a recent workshop organised by the University at which selected inventors who have commercialised their products presented their success stories under the topics of Solutions, Ideas, Inventions, Innovations and Products/Patents.
Addressing aspiring inventors and innovators participating in the workshop, Surendra Karunakaran, Chief Operating Officer of Disrupt Unlimited said his company’s support to the university’s initiative would take the form of working with the entrepreneurial pool that will be built by the University to solve apparel sector specific challenges.
The principal challenge for the apparel industry, Mr Karunakaran said, is to make substantially lower prices possible through innovative products, accurate demand forecasting, integration of supply chains and application of technological innovations in manufacturing processes.
Among the opportunities for innovation he highlighted were harnessing Big Data for demand forecasting; customised 3D printed garments as a result of the integration of technology and the supply chain, and innovative products such as health-tracking garments, nanotubes and nanobots.
The workshop at the auditorium of the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura brought together senior academics, entrepreneurs, inventors, undergraduates and Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne, Secretary of The Ministry of Higher Education and representatives of the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka.
The World Class University Project under Prof. Ranil de Silva, has been developed as a focal point for harnessing, encouraging and promoting innovative skills of undergraduates and postgraduates of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura to provide socio-economic development and nation building through inventions and innovations, to formulate strategies and to inspire the nation by instilling an innovative culture with the facilitation of appropriate technical and financial frameworks.
Launched earlier this year, Disrupt Unlimited runs a seed accelerator that seeks to inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough, technology-driven solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the Apparel, Textile and Accessories sectors. Among the company’s identified roles are collaboration with industry partners, securing the support of private partners, mentors, and advisors, development of idea/entrepreneur pipelines, building a network of investors in Sri Lanka and overseas, investing in start-ups, running seed accelerator programmes and supporting start-ups through commercialisation.
In order to build a stronger ecosystem for innovation in Sri Lanka, Brandix already has partnerships with the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayewardenepura and Wayamba and the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT). The Group also partners the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Global Start-up Labs (MIT-GSL) Sri Lanka programme, and sponsors the robotics competitions of several other universities and institutions as well.