Hatch takes Sri Lankan female entrepreneurs global with ‘She Loves Tech’
Hatch brought She Loves Tech 2021, the world’s largest women-centric technology startup competition, back to Sri Lanka for the second consecutive year. Co-founder Leanne Robers shares, “She Loves Tech 2021 is more than a competition, it’s an acceleration platform designed to take women-led and women impact startups to the next level.”
Hatch has been a key contributor to developing women entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. The She Loves Tech program portrays their commitment to showcasing talented local women entrepreneurs on the global stage.
Over 70 female tech-enabled startups from across the island applied to be part of the She Loves Tech Sri Lanka local rounds and 8 outstanding women entrepreneurs were selected as the finalists.
Abitharani Jeyachandran – Co-Founder, Trash for Trade which is based in Batticaloa focuses on upcycling plastics and is based on a social business model. The idea was derived from an open source community named “Precious Plastic.” Amira Ghaffoor – CEO, Northwood Consulting which offers consulting services that aims to maximize business potential by implementing cost effective solutions with high scalability using AI and ML. Chathurika Wickramasinghe -Managing Director, Crowdlearn LMS which delivers an online learning and teaching platform that facilitates virtual learning as well as blended learning customisable to the user.
Gayathri Wickramasinghe – Founder, Adage Digital which focuses on developing a disruptive blockchain technology to solve global issues including sustainable waste management solutions. Nivarthana Sandeepani – Founder, NivIT which specializes in IT based services and solutions to deliver low cost water quality management tools to ensure water safety in developing countries.
Shenelle Perera – Co-Founder, Connect Co. which provides an effortless last mile delivery service that is reliable and consistent. Thilaksi Chandrasekar – Co-Founder, AgXone which is on a mission to provide innovative solutions in agriculture, through the use of drone technology and AI systems that are readily accessible for anyone, anywhere.
The finalists were supported during the program through virtual toolkits, workshops and industry mentorship provided by Kushlani De Silva on Product Marketing, Janani Liyanage on Resilience, Indika De Zoysa on Strategy Development and Ruwani Kumarasinghe on Pitch Coaching.
“We must also commend the passion and conviction of these female founders. We knew that Gayathri, one of the finalists, would be going into labour at the time of the competition. We made arrangements for her to deliver a pre-recorded pitch but to our surprise she attended the live session and pitched from the hospital mere hours after giving birth! It was a moment to celebrate and admire the fire and determination of our Sri Lankan female entrepreneurs. They are unstoppable! The camaraderie and support the 8 women continue to show each other even after the competition is wonderful. They continue to share wins, business and networking opportunities with each other. This safe and supportive community is what we try to foster with all our programs at Hatch” says Minuri Adasuriya, Head of Programs at Hatch.
The finals were held and conducted by Hatch Events in a hybrid format on the 1st of October, 2021 with live streaming enabled globally. The judging panel consisted of female entrepreneurs and strong male allies including Brindha Selvadurai (CEO & Co-Founder – Hatch), Chinthi Weerasinghe (CEO – Mitra Innovation), Pulani Ranasinghe (Founder – Loons Lab), Chalinda Abeykoon (CEO -Lankan Angel Network), Prabhath Mannapperuma (Microsoft) and Emesha Pinto Jayawardena (President – DCLK). Helen Lam, (Head of Innovation, Asia – Lendlease) based in Singapore delivered an inspirational keynote, highlighting that women can break any barriers even in a male dominated industry.
After an impressive round of pitching, the 3 winners were voted in. Northwood Consulting – (Amira Ghaffoor) was voted as the winner, followed by Trash for Trade (Abitharani Jeyachandran) in second, and Connect Co. (Shenelle Perera) in third. As the winner of the Sri Lankan local round, Northwood Consulting will be representing Sri Lanka in this year’s virtual global finals in Singapore.
The 2021 She Loves Tech local rounds were supported by the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem enablers including the ICTA, Arteculate, Diversity Collective Lanka, Sustainable Education Foundation, Women Techmakers Sri Lanka, SLASSCOM and LSEG.
Hatch envisions an economy fueled by female innovators reshaping the way one works and lives. Hatch is committed to working with an international network of partners in closing the gap in funding for women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, while building an ecosystem for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation that creates opportunities for women.
She Loves Tech Finalists with the Hatch Programs team
L-R standing: Shenelle Perera, Minuri Adasuriya, Dulinika Bulumulla, Thilaksi Chandrasekar
L-R seated: Nivarthana Sandeepani, Chathurika Wickramasinghe, Amira Ghaffoor