A sort of nervous energy had filled the room. Everyone was completely silent, except for Mr. Jeevan Gnanam, one of the two keynote speakers at the Grand Finale, who would go on to conclude his speech shortly. The 7 participants sat anxiously, although visibly calm and composed, one could only imagine the chaotic state their heads would have been in. They had done the best they could, presented their ideas in the most flamboyant of ways. It was now up to the accomplished panel of judges to decide which one of the four teams deserved the coveted title of ‘Winner – Jumpstart 2018’.
The four teams in the Grand Finale; Team Dawn, Team CardiZen, Team Loggers and Team ViCode had all made it through a tough first round, which saw a host of other teams eliminated. Each team had to pitch their ideas to a group of professionals that represented all spheres of the corporate world, who would decide if they are worthy for the Grand finale. Team Dawn had pitched a fascinating idea for a website and app that would encompass the musical world, from artists to instruments. Team ViCode pitched a smarter, more efficient way to find parking around the city by proposing an app that let you book a parking slot. Team Loggers presented a compelling idea, to create an app that would help you recruit the perfect person for a vacant job position. Team CardiZen showcased an interesting idea for a wearable health monitoring system that could quickly alert loved ones and medical personnel in case of an emergency.
Next, the teams that progressed to the Grand finale were treated to a very insightful workshop. It was good! How good? Well it was good enough to make not only the participants, but a majority of the members of Rotaract Achievers who were present at the workshop, to sit down at the back, with their eyes wide open, listening eagerly to the two industry experts, Mr. Michael Moonasinghe and Mr. Ganadaran Jeyakumar, as they showcased and passed down tips, tricks and advice they had gathered over the years of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
And coming back to the day of the Grand Finale, the participants were ready to put their best foot forward and were certainly dressed to impress! Proceedings were underway shortly after 3 pm and the presentations of the 4 teams were accompanied by the keynote speeches, Mr. Michael Moonasinghe being the first and Mr. Jeevan Gnanam delivering the second.
As the evening progressed, a generous crowd built up inside the rather sophisticated and modern looking Hatch Auditorium. They certainly got their money’s worth as the competition began to heat up after strong performances from Team Loggers and Team Dawn to finish things off. The three judges, Mr. Ganadaran Jeyakumar, Mr. Saman Wimalaratne, and Mr. Gnanam, certainly had a tough job on their hands.
After much deliberation, the judges finally handed over the results to the members of the organizing committee who swiftly started to arrange the certificates and awards in accordance with the results while Mr. Gnanam took center stage to deliver his keynote speech.
After the speech, the two comperes walked into the middle of the brightly lit room, with the results in their hands, the trophy for the Winner gleaming radiantly just behind them on a table. Everyone in the room leaned in eagerly from the edges of their seats anxiously waiting for the results.
All the teams had put up strong performances but there was one performance that stood out amongst the rest. Teams Loggers, ViCode and CardiZen came in second, third and fourth respectively, but first place and the prestigious title of Jumpstart 2018 was awarded to Team Dawn! Shimar Ahamed, the sole member of Team Dawn was elated and collected the magnificent trophy and his other prizes from Mr. Gnanam as the room was filled with applaud and cheer.
As the evening came to a close and the participants, audience, and judges slowly started to leave, the members of Rotaract Achievers breathed a sigh of relief. They had successfully pulled off yet another glamorous event. The late nights and frequent meetings had definitely paid off. It wasn’t just about pulling off a successful event, they made an impact on something bigger, a project that showcased and encouraged an entrepreneurial culture in Sri Lanka. Rotaract Achievers, as always, made the difference.
Rtr Yasiru Gunaratne