Promoting entrepreneurship among youth
Aiming to foster entrepreneurial mindsets among school children in Sri Lanka, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce launched the inaugural school Entrepreneurship Day (E-Day) recently.
Designed to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week annually, the inaugural E-day conducted at Yashodhara Devi Balika Vidyalaya in the Gampaha district, was an initiative of ILO’s South Asia Leadership in Entrepreneurship (SALE) program, of which the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is the principle implementing partner. SALE seeks to facilitate a change in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and bolster young people’s transition into the entrepreneurial world, through strategic interventions such as training, competitions, mentorship from the private sector, and advocacy and awareness campaigns to garner public support for young entrepreneurs.
The inclusion of E-Day to the annual school calendar is the culmination of a Project SALE initiative to facilitate the establishment of school Entrepreneurship Clubs (E-Clubs), piloted in the Gampaha and Galle districts. Now established in 10 schools in the two districts, E-Clubs are designed as a catalyst to promote and highlight entrepreneurism among school children and mobilise enhanced stakeholder support.
The E-Day event featured innovative concepts and activities aimed at promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship among the youth. Chief Guest, young entrepreneur and inventor of Sri Lanka’s first eco-friendly three-wheeler Sasiranga de Silva engaged in an interactive Q&A session with the audience of over 400 school children from 10 schools in the Gampaha district, followed by a Design Thinking Workshop by Dialog IdeaMart further engaged the participants.
This highlight of the event was the fast-paced competitions, ‘Unwrap a Business’, and ‘Unleash Your Thoughts’, challenging participants to put on their entrepreneurial thinking hats as they analysed and presented business case studies and conceptualized and presented innovative business models.
Yashodara Devi Balika Vidyala were adjudged winners of the Unwrap a business competition, while Anura Vidyalaya and St. Mary’s College were awarded as 1st and 2nd runners up respectively, while Unleash Your Thoughts was won by Jinaraja National College with Yashodara Devi Balika Vidyalaya and Sri Dharmaloka College the respective first and second runners up.
The event also showcased the budding entrepreneurial ventures of students, with an exhibition of an array of market-ready products created by students including novelty stationery, upcycled school and office supplies, trendy footwear and home décor.
The next E-Day is scheduled to be held in the Galle district on 18 January, 2023.
Through strategic interventions such as these, ILO’s SALE programme, funded by the U.S Department of State is endeavouring to create a shift in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and enhance capacity among the youth to enable them to launch and grow their own business ventures.