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Jumpstart 2020

Being a spur for budding Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs to Initiate their Ideas, Elevate their Journey and Triumph in the field of Business, the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School presents, Jumpstart 2020

With the threat posed to the Sri Lankan economy by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lankan business owners and startup founders have been in need of an extra push to continue their day-to-day operations. From the valuable guidance and mentorship it offers, to being a platform that can validate their business ideas and find investments for their businesses, Jumpstart 2020 has been a tremendous boost for all participating startups. 

JUMPSTART is the signature Professional Development initiative of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, which took place for the 4th consecutive year in 2020. It was staged under two categories, namely the Pitch it! Win it! category and the Shark Tank category. Pitch it! Win it! was a platform for early stage business startups, or business ideators to pitch their business idea before a panel of judges, and stand a chance to win valuable prizes worth LKR 200,000. On the other hand, the Shark Tank round opened an incredible opportunity for businesses in the growth stage, where they were brought to the same table with renowned investors in the country in numerous fields. They were given the opportunity to present their businesses to the investors and stand a chance to win investments for a return of equity in their businesses. Jumpstart also comprised of a valuable Series of Workshops, conducted with the aim of improving the entrepreneurial skills of not only its participants but also the general public. 

Despite having to conduct the whole competition on a virtual platform due to the prevailing health care regulations in the country, we humbly believe Jumpstart 2020 equally served its purpose in the quality of competition it offered to its participants, as well as the experience and exposure it gave to all upcoming entrepreneurs. 

Jumpstart 2020 kicked start on the 7th of November 2020 with the first workshop of its workshop series, Pitch Perfect. Conducted by Mr. Biman Liyanage, CEO & Founder of CirQ Technologies, the workshop addressed on how to effectively pitch one’s business idea. He introduced many important techniques such as the elevator pitch, and the 3-to-5-minute pitch, and also guided the audience on how to prepare a sound business plan.

Following this, the preliminary round of Pitch It! Win It! took place on the 21st of November 2020, with 28 teams pitching their unique business ideas. The Esteemed Panel of Judges consisted of Mr. Aloka Gunasekara, Mr. Milinda Thilakaratne and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Having had the opportunity to witness all the pitches, it was a pleasure to watch the participants engage in not only a heated competition but also genuine teamwork, where each participant spoke about their idea with extreme passion.

Five talented finalists with the most outstanding pitches were chosen to compete for the ultimate award at the Grand Finale!

Jumpstart 2020 would not have been possible if not for our wonderful partners. We are extremely grateful for our partners, namely, 

  • CIMA Sri Lanka- Bronze Partner
  • Venture Frontier- Knowledge Partner
  • Shirtworks- Gift Partner
  • PwC- Advisory Partner
  • E-Law Chambers – Legal Consultation Partner
  • Hub9 coworking- Co-working space partner
  • StartupX Foundry – Mentoring Partner
  • Myshopbox – IT solutions partner
  • Chokolate – Media Partner
  • Thuru – Reforestation Partner

The five finalists of the Pitch It! Win It! category were assisted and overlooked for two weeks leading up to the finals by industry experts from our advisory partner PwC, to help them perform effectively at the finals. 

The remaining workshops took place during the last two weeks of November. Mr. Kavinda Dasanayaka conducted the workshop on Finance and Bookkeeping while the workshop on Marketing and Sales was conducted by Mr. Ahmed Irfan. Next was the Fundraising workshop conducted by Mr. Kishan Nadarajah followed by the final workshop of the series on Legal Aspect of startups conducted by Mr. Revan Weerasinghe. 

The Grand Finale of Jumpstart 2020 consisted of the Pitch It! Win It! Finale and the Shark Tank round. The 6th of December was a day much eagerly anticipated not only by the participants of the Pitch It! Win It! and Shark Tank but also by the organizing committee. The Pitch it! Win it! finalists pitched their business ideas once again before the esteemed panel of judges which comprised of Mrs. Nevindaree Premaratne, Mr. Enosh Praveen and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Following this, the finalists were given a realistic business scenario customized to their business and industry to be solved within an hour, where they had to present the built strategies and solutions to the judges and audience. 

While the heated Finals of Pitch it! Win it! was brewing, Shark Tank was simultaneously taking place with 13 well established Growth Stage startups. They presented their businesses to the sharks, who were prepared to offer investments for the startups they deemed worthy. 

The closing ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 started off with the address of the chief guest, Mr. Dulith Herath who himself had been very impressed after listening to some of the pitches that had taken place. He inspired the audience as he spoke about how he too had started from rock bottom and built Kapruka and Java Lounge into what it is today. 

Team ‘Plutous’ topped the list in this year’s event and went on to be crowned champions of jumpstart 2020, securing prizes worth more than LKR 200,000 inclusive of coworking from Hub9 Coworking, mentoring from StartupX Foundry, legal consultation from E-Law chambers and IT solutions from Shopbox LK. Team Flash came on to take the spot of runners up and received prizes worth LKR 100,000. The remaining finalists also won valuable prizes worth LKR 50,000.

The Award Ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 was held on the 2nd of January 2021 at Hub9 CoWorking Spaces, Colombo 8, where all Finalists were invited and handed over their awards and certificates. After knowing each other from a months long virtual project, it felt wonderful to finally meet our contestants face to face and have a chat. It was agreed by everyone that having to conduct Jumpstart 2020 virtually was truely an experience to remember for both participants and organizers alike. 

The project’s success owed to not one or a few, but to our entire club. Each and every member did their utmost to make sure this project lived up to its potential. A very big thank you to our wonderful club, our generous sponsors and to our eager participants.

Thank you for making Jumpstart 2020 tougher, bigger and better!

Written by: Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

RACALBS

The author RACALBS