CIMA Launch Pad 2015 – Empowering Sri Lankan Startups

Photo Courtesy: CIMA Students’ Society

Thought it’s some tech device? Like a tablet or a convertible? If not for “CIMA” in front. Well, that’s why we thought of explaining the heading a bit more. CIMA Launch Pad 2015 is an initiative by the CIMA Students Society to nurture the entrepreneurial thinking among students from Local and Private Universities, CIMA Institutes, Corporate firms, Individuals and Volunteer Organizations.

What’s new this time is that the competition has taken two forms; ‘Business Idea’ and ‘Social Idea’. We were talking about social entrepreneurship during the past few weeks and yes, Launch Pad too has got the category for that set of people, simply the ‘Social Idea’ category. To give you a bird’s eye view of the competition, it’s a series of 4 phases, namely; the pace pitch, preparation of a detailed proposal, mentorship program and the grand finale.

The pace pitch happened a few days back and we were there to check out the innovative pitches which might even have the potential to turn into a million dollar business someday soon.

Pace Pitch

Photo Courtesy: Siyath Ranathunge

A 3 minute pitch in front of a panel of judges where the teams would present their idea and the business model behind it. Their presentation skills had to be extremely good, for them to deliver details about the vital elements of the overall business within the 3 minute time slot. Then the judges were given the time to do a Question and Answer session from the participants where they would clarify anything more about the concept. As we told you, there are two categories; Social and Business. It was first the social ideas that were judged. Out of the ideas that were presented, 10 ideas from each category were selected to go for the next phase.

Social Category

The panel included Eranda Ginige, Co-Founder at Social Enterprise Lanka and Varuna Ponnamperuma, Assistant Director at Office for National Unity and Reconciliation. Social Entrepreneurship a bit new thing, to CIMA Launch Pad and Sri Lanka in general. We felt that some participants didn’t understand this concept. Nonetheless, some ideas stood out for the amount of research that they have done and well-structured and prepared presentations. This is something that anyone taking part in any competition must keep in mind; your idea can be the next game changer, but if you can’t explain it in simple terms within a very short time, don’t expect others to be convinced.

Moving on with CIMA Launch Pad 2015, below are the 10 ideas that were nominated for the next phase.

  1. Future of Us – Skill development and Infrastructure development for underprivileged schools.
  2. Illuminate – Improving the English Language skills of the underprivileged students of Sri Lanka.
  3. Innovation Lab – English, Motivational & Capacity Building and IT workshops to children in villages through I-Labs.
  4. KnOW – A mobile computer laboratory and library facilities for underprivileged children.
  5. Poseidon Army – Empower youth for coastal conservation.
  6. Team Tripper – An online platform to build entrepreneurial travel experiences in destinations across the Island. Focused on building a Sri Lanka driven by the tourist industry.
  7. The Academy – Set up an academy where poor students and street children could be taught for free of charge.
  8. The A Team – An initiative to bring FabLabs to Sri Lanka which will empower the creative youth in research, development and building products.
  9. The Millennials – To encourage youth, specifically Tuk drivers on building up SMEs and personality development.
  10. Team RCNSBM – Build a sustainable Reverse Osmosis Water Purification system.

“Making money is not bad, we want social entrepreneurs who make both a social and financial impact. NGOs are dying, the landscape has changed.” – Eranda Ginige

Judges in action – left to right: Eranda Ginige and Varuna Ponnamperuma. Photo Courtesy: Siyath Ranathunge

Business Category

Unlike the first category, the judges looked into the business aspects much more strictly here. “How can it sustain?”, “What are the income generation models?”, “Do consumers want this product or will they like it?”, “How does your idea stand out from them?” were some of the questions that were thrown at the contestants. The panel of judges was once again a fine mix of experts and professionals.

The members of this panel were: Ms. Amrah Akbar, Chief Financial Officer, MAS Innovations, Mr. Chandika Jayasundara, Co-Founder & CEO at Cinergix/Creately and Mr. Madhura de Silva, Associate Director, Finance Consulting and Risk, PwC. They took their seats and handpicked 10 business ideas below out of the 22 that were pitched.

  1. Body Sculpt – A health and fitness center, but not ye everyday type one. A warehouse environment where clients can freely and effectively workout and engage in fitness activities.
  2. Fidgit – A simple IoT button that you can place at different places of the house which lets you add things to your grocery list, so that you don’t forget to buy them the next time you shop.
  3. Infinity – Platform that allows anyone with a passion for cooking to sell their dishes to customers who prefer to have home cooked meals and products.
  4. MediLink – An extranet system to connect the entire healthcare network.
  5. – A centralized online furniture store.
  6. Pegasus Business Consultants – A taxi service, not cars or tuk-tuks but you get to ride on motorbikes though.
  7. Noob Technologies – Digitalize examinations/model papers/practice exams and self-evaluation tests.
  8. Prometheus – A mobile car cleaning business where a team either visits your car park and clean it onsite or clean it inside their modified vehicle carrier.
  9. Team Alpha – Subscription based pharmaceutical delivery service.
  10. TrekThru – A Mobile App, for easy and efficient consumer purchase.

Dates to Remember

Now this is just the beginning. The CIMA Launch Pad 2015 will be a memorable journey for every participant. It’ll be a journey where they’ll go through a lot of training and learning, a chance to network with the icons of the industry, get their advice and feedback and get the necessary funding with the publicity that your brain child deserves.

Photo Courtesy: CIMA Students’ Society


03rd October 2015: Deadline for Detailed Proposal Submission

17th October 2015: Announcement of top 4 teams and commencement of the Mentorship Program

24th October 2015: Final Presentation for top 4 teams under the Social Category

1st November 2015: Grand Finale

It is advisable for you to follow the Facebook fan page of CIMA Students Society for more details and latest updates. Also, you can send a mail to [email protected] or simply bug these two lovely people: Abdul Baasit (+94 756 541 901) or Darshika Jayewardene (+94 775 108 010).


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