Disrupt Unlimited, the Apparel Start-up Seed Accelerator funded by Brandix, and the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) have entered into an agreement to establish a partnership to promote innovation in Sri Lanka and enhance opportunities in the fields of Textile, Apparel and Accessories.
A Memorandum of Understanding entered into recently by the two organisations envisages that SLIC through its regular programmes will identify inventors with potential to commercialise their inventions in these fields and introduce them for consideration by Disrupt Unlimited.
Disrupt Unlimited will review such inventors introduced by SLIC and select suitable candidates to go through its incubator or the Disrupt-a-thon programmes, which could lead to funding and additional mentoring to commercialise their ideas.
Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya stressed on the importance of building and fast-tracking an ecosystem which encourages and nurtures start-ups. “We are still in the infancy stages of this cycle,” he said. “Therefore, we need to really go for it in the next five years to catch up to ecosystems that have been 25 years in the making.”
He said the purpose of Disrupt Unlimited is to take big ideas to the global market. Mr Wickremesooriya advised inventors to “take the risks, make your ideas work, and deliver results.” Besides, “if you successfully fail,” he added, “Brandix will offer you an employment opportunity within its group of companies.”
The Brandix Group’s focus on promoting innovation began with its first sponsorship of ‘Sahasak Nimewum’ the annual competition and exhibition conducted by the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission for local inventors. Alongside the signing of the MoU with SLIC, Brandix presented cash awards to the owners of the top five inventions in the Apparel, Textile and Energy sectors at the 2013 Sahasak Nimewum competition.
Addressing the two events, SLIC Commissioner Deepal Sooriyarachchi said he is extremely pleased to see the efforts being made by Brandix to tap into the talent of young inventors. “Brandix is a company that values your innovative brain,” he told the inventors. “This partnership will hopefully encourage other corporates to follow the Brandix example in supporting the SLIC. Five years from now when we look back, I want to be able to say that we have come a long way.”
The five inventors rewarded were M. A. Firouze, G. H. G. G. M. C. Senarathna, and A. V. T. Thushan in the University category, and Asiri Dilhan De Silva and W. S. U. K. Wijesinghe in the Open category.