Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Second John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017 gets underway
Sri Lankan entrepreneurship will hit the fast-track at the second annual John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017 as teams of aspiring innovators and inventors compete for a chance to win entry into a 6-month Accelerator Programme at John Keells Holdings (JKH).
The prize? Rs. 2 million in seed investment, a curated growth oriented curriculum, office space in Colombo, access to legal, finance and secretarial expertise, access to mentors involving senior JKH leadership, active interaction with JKH businesses, as well as the prospects of further investment during or after the six month Accelerator Programme, the company said in a media release.The company is offering Rs 2 million each to seven successful entries in the competition.
John Keells X was first launched in 2016 with the goal of boosting creative and intellectual talent through a public competitive format. This year’s challenge has evolved into a fully-fledged accelerator programme that will holistically educate participants on key factors to hone business performance. This will also include an entrepreneurship curriculum and growth hacking curriculum delivered by leading international trainers with extensive startup experience. Additionally, participants will receive invaluable mentorship from some of the most respected entrepreneurs and business magnates in the country, the company added.
The updated format of the open innovation challenge held last year, John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017 will now include extensive support to accelerate business ventures over a 6-month period, and this was prompted as a result of the strong and enthusiastic response from young entrepreneurial talent at the inaugural event last year.
From May 2 onwards, competing teams must work to exhibit disruptively innovative ideas that hold the potential to complement the core sectors that JKH is currently engaged in, such that growth of their early stage business can be accelerated through aligning with any JKH business units.
Applications for the competition close on June 25 and entries can be submitted through the event website: www.johnkeellsX.com. The panel of judges this year comprises Ajit Gunewardene (Deputy Chairman - JKH), Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director - JKH), Krishan Balendra (President, Leisure Sector/Director - JKH), Gihan Cooray (President, Retail Sector/ Director - JKH), Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya (Regional CEO - Axiata Group South Asia/Non-Executive Director - JKH), Jonathan Alles (Managing Director/CEO - Hatton National Bank PLC), and Ramesh Shanmuganathan (Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer - JKH)