The Sri Lankan startup ecosystem has evolved considerably over the last decade. Today, anyone seeking to launch a startup has a vast array of resources. Co-working spaces offer affordable workspaces. Accelerator programmes help founders formulate strategies for growth. Sri Lanka even has angel investors ready to fund promising startups. But if you were to travel back in time ten years ago, none of these existed. There was only a single initiative offering this level of support to startups – Spiralation by ICTA.
What is Spiralation?
Founded in 2010, Sprialation is a support programme for tech startups by the ICTA. It aims to promote, encourage, and support technology startups and innovation within Sri Lanka. The highlight of the programme is an LKR 1.5 million grant.
Previously, reports by Startup Genome have highlighted the poor availability of early-stage funding in Sri Lanka. Hence, the grant by Spiralation is an effort by the government towards addressing this critical issue faced by startups.
Yet, this is merely scratching the surface. At its core, Spiralation is an incubator and accelerator with a strong focus on helping Sri Lankan startups succeed. Since its inception, the programme has supported over 90 startups. Several of them have expanded internationally and have collectively added 500+ jobs to the local IT industry.
Spiralation has opened applications for its latest batch. So if you’re running a tech startup, why should you apply?
Beyond the LKR 1.5 million grant in seed funding, the programme supports startups in several areas to help them succeed.
It all starts by disbursing this grant with a system based on milestones. When a startup joins the programme, clear targets for growth are identified. As these targets are achieved, portions of the grant are given to help them hit the next milestone.
On this journey, Spiralation also assists startups in several other avenues towards achieving their targets for growth. Thereby living up to its reputation as an incubator and accelerator that helps startups grow faster than they would have independently without support.
Local and international market access opportunities
One key area that Spiralation assists startups with is market access. It offers opportunities to access both local and international markets.
Two examples include the Spiralation pavilion at past Infotel events and Disrupt Asia, also organized by ICTA, which is the largest startup conference in Sri Lanka.
Other examples include offering startups opportunities to present at international conventions. Currently, the ICTA is in talks with its counterparts in the European Union to offer such opportunities for Sri Lankan startups accepted into the programme.
Additionally, being a programme by the ICTA, Spiralation acts as a de facto seal of approval of sorts by the Government of Sri Lanka. For startups accepted into the programme, this has been helpful when pitching for government contracts.
Training and mentorship
Spiralation also offers startups comprehensive technical and business training sessions. Hosted by industry experts, these sessions help that startups formulate growth strategies.
Alongside these sessions, Spiralation also assigns mentors for the startups. In many instances, these mentors have continued to support the startups and their founders long after they graduated from the programme.
How can a startup join Spiralation?
Spiralation has just opened up applications for its latest cohort. A typical cohort of the programme ranges from 15-20 startups. The requirements to apply are as follows:
- New startups (registered or unregistered) and registered companies that are less than three years old
- The company should have a minimum of two directors/promoters.
- The company must be an independent entity and not a subsidiary of a larger organization
For ten years, Spiralation has supported Sri Lankan startups to succeed. Some of which like Bhasha are now household names. If you’re a founder seeking to join their ranks, then you can click here to apply before the 10th of May.