Sri Lanka’s technology sector has been significantly impacted by factors such as low investment, limited training opportunities, and a lack of government support (World Economic Forum, 2021). In this blog post, we will explore the vital role that youth can play in driving innovation and growth in Sri Lanka’s technology sector. We will delve into the current state of the technology industry in Sri Lanka, the challenges faced by young individuals in the sector, and the government and private sector initiatives that are helping to support youth in this field.
While Sri Lanka’s technology sector has witnessed steady growth in recent years, there is still room for improvement. According to the World Economic Forum (2021), Sri Lanka ranks 73rd in the world for technological readiness. To fully comprehend this ranking and its significance, it is important to understand how it is calculated and the specific factors contributing to Sri Lanka’s position.
Key challenges persist in the industry, including low investment, limited training opportunities, and a lack of government support. Recognizing these obstacles, the Sri Lankan government has launched several initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and growth in the technology sector. These initiatives encompass the establishment of incubation centers for start-ups, the creation of a National Innovation Agency, and the implementation of policies designed to attract foreign investment (Ministry of Technology and Innovation, 2020).
The contribution of young people to Sri Lanka’s technology sector is crucial for driving innovation and growth. The United Nations Development Programme (2020) highlights that youth make up nearly a third of Sri Lanka’s population and possess the potential to spearhead social and economic progress in the country. Their invaluable qualities include introducing new ideas, fresh perspectives, and a willingness to take risks.
In Sri Lanka, young individuals are already at the forefront of innovation in the technology sector. For instance, the start-up Hatch, founded in 2018, provides co-working space, mentoring, and funding opportunities for young entrepreneurs (World Bank, 2021). Hatch has successfully incubated over 100 start-ups and supported more than 1,000 young people in the technology sector.
Despite their potential, young people in Sri Lanka encounter various challenges when it comes to accessing education and training in technology. A report by the United Nations Development Programme (2020) emphasizes that many young individuals in Sri Lanka lack the necessary skills and training required to fully participate in the digital economy. These challenges can be attributed, in part, to a scarcity of technology-related educational programs and limited access to technology infrastructure.
To tackle these issues, both the Sri Lankan government and private sector have initiated programs to support young people in the technology sector. For instance, the Ministry of Technology and Innovation has established a scholarship program to assist students pursuing degrees in technology-related fields (Ministry of Technology and Innovation, 2020). Additionally, private sector companies like Dialog Axiata, a telecommunications company, have introduced training programs and internships for young individuals in the technology sector (Dialog Axiata, 2020).
Collaboration between the Sri Lankan government and private sector is vital in supporting young people in the technology sector. The government has implemented various initiatives to promote innovation and growth, including the establishment of incubation centers for start-ups, the creation of a National Innovation Agency, and policies to attract foreign investment (Ministry of Technology and Innovation, 2020).
Private sector companies also play a crucial role in supporting young individuals in the technology sector. Dialog Axiata, for example, has introduced initiatives such as a coding bootcamp for school students and internships for university students (Dialog Axiata, 2020). Similarly, companies like Virtusa, WSO2, and Sysco LABS have established internship programs, mentorship programs, and hackathons to support young individuals in the technology sector (Lanka Business Online, 2021).
In conclusion, Sri Lanka’s technology sector holds immense potential for growth and innovation, with young people playing a pivotal role in driving progress. While challenges persist, such as limited training opportunities and a lack of government support, concerted efforts from both the government and private sector are being made to address these issues and create new opportunities for young individuals in the technology sector. With sustained investment, training, and support, Sri Lanka’s youth possess the potential to drive social and economic progress in the country, paving the way for a brighter future for all.
Tharushi Imasha Kumarasiri
Apr 17, 2023