Five months after they embarked on a mission to identify, develop and commercialise successful tech enterprises, a group of young Sri Lankans began the third and final phase of the Brandix-funded MIT Global Start-up Labs (MIT-GSL) Sri Lanka 2014 challenge on 16th June at the University of Colombo School of Computing.
Eight possible start-ups that will pitch their ideas to a panel of investors in Colombo on 30th July will now work with four instructors from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the six-week 'Refine & Launch' phase of the programme.
A collaboration between Brandix, the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT-GSL Sri Lanka programme commenced on 9th January 2014 with 73 participants from several higher education institutions including the Universities of Moratuwa, Colombo and Sabaragamuwa, the Open University of Sri Lanka, the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), and Alliance Française de Kotte.
The Brandix Group has pledged to fund the MIT-GSL Sri Lanka programme for five years in collaboration with MIT and SLASSCOM. The programme is to be offered twice a year to second-year or older undergraduates as well as recent graduates of Sri Lankan universities.
The four MIT instructors tasked with guiding the eight start-ups through their development to prototype level in time for the Pitch Day are Darshini Thiagarajan (Entrepreneurship Lead), Champika Fernando (Technical Lead), Tiffany Yeh (Entrepreneurship Assistant) and Sarah Edris (Technical Assistant). The MIT-GSL global entrepreneurship incubator is currently run by MIT in collaboration with 15 international universities.
A Group that employs approximately 48,000 people at manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, Brandix has partnerships with the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayewardenepura and Wayamba and the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT). A preferred supplier to many global apparel labels, Brandix is credited with many firsts on the global stage, and recently launched its own seed accelerator ‘Disrupt Unlimited' to inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough solutions that disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the apparel, textile and fashion accessories sectors.