Shark’s Tank Support To Local Businesses
Posted 22,July

By Chaveendra Dunuwille

In Local News

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Intending to serve as a platform to connect small and medium enterprises with Sri Lanka’s top investors and business personalities, Sri Lanka Unites, the country’s largest reconciliation and leadership development youth movement launched Shark’s tank via its YouTube and Facebook pages. 

The Youth organization is engaged in all of Sri Lanka’s districts with 9 reconciliation centers across the country. The business entrepreneurship course taught at these centers introduces the students to the concepts of entrepreneurship, problem-solving, market research, branding, sales, and financial management expansion. Here the students are encouraged to come up with their own business plans and the most innovative and creative of these plans will be presented before a panel of investors and business tycoons in a final round that usually takes place in Colombo. 

With funding from the Canadian High Commission in 2021, the most recent edition of Shark’s Tank focused on the districts with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty. These districts included Monaragala, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, and Nuwara Eliya. The initial round saw the participation of over 200 competitors of which 20 were selected to the final round. 

The list of judges for the 2021 edition of Shark’s Tank included the likes of Serial Entrepreneur Jeevan Gnanam, Spa Ceylon Director and Co-Founder Shalin Balasuriya, Salon Nayana Founder Nayana Karunaratne, Kapruka.com Founder and Chairman Dulith Herath, Hameedia Group Managing Director Fouzal Hameed, and OLIVE couture Founder and Head Designer Sammani Pathiranagama. 

The 2021 edition saw some amazing and inspiring individuals take to the stage and present their idea before a panel of judges. The 21-year old Kalayarashi from Mullaitivu noticing a trend of unhealthy eating habits in her community presented the idea of a business that provides healthy snacks to the local community. Her idea won LKR 200 000 from Jeevan Gnanam and Fouzal Hameed. 

Mangalika, a mother with a disability that supports her family with her own ornamental fish business captured the hearts of all those present and served as a beacon to show that any adversity can be overcome with determination and hard work. Hailing from Monaragala she won LKR 150 000 from Sammani, Dulith, and Nayana. 

A 20-year-old Fathima from Batticaloa presented the idea of a unique handicraft business that gained the support of Shalin and Jeevan who offered to provide assistance to the fledgling enterprise by lending them a 3D printer. The Hameedia group director has considered buying their product.

Last but certainly not least Saman Keerthi from Nuwara Eliya won LKR 200 000 from Shalin, Jeevan, and Dulith. The money was given so that Saman would be able to purchase the necessary machines and equipment to grown his mushroom-based food product business. 

Sri Lanka Unites involvement with the participants does not end there however as the youth organization will continue to provide support by facilitating relationships with investors, offering space in their reconciliation centers, providing resources, and monitoring the post-investment growth of the businesses.