“LEAP (Learn Engage Aim Prosper) Sri Lanka”, Export Readiness Program for regional technology SME’s

The outcomes of the National Exports Strategy (NES) highlighted the importance of holding digital business clinics for regional tech companies in order to scale them to grow locally and reach global markets to overall support the industry in achieving its national export revenue targets. An industry support initiative by ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), supported by the Ministry of industrial export and investment promotion, Exports Development Board (EDB) and other industry stakeholders; LEAP Sri Lanka program was conceptualized in 2019 to drive export growth through innovation and entrepreneurship, addressing regional level technology companies to assist them to grow locally while scaling them up to explore and reach global markets.

The cohort of SMEs receive a 360 degree support ranging from personal development/ grooming to business development, remodeling etc. to International market access. LEAP is a community consisting of 40 IT-SMEs from around the country (representing all provinces of Sri Lanka) and built within the past eight months (starting from the initiation of this program; 14 accelerator sessions through 06 primary workshops conducted) and are now actively engaged in developing their businesses and growing their networks in order to achieve success. LEAP Sri Lanka is a platform helping to bridge the link between national and regional trade strategies/initiatives that would ultimately feed-in towards a prosperous nation via a Digital Economy.

Process of LEAP includes;

  • Critically evaluate functions of the business & build-up a business plan that will help them grow
  • Capacity building workshops & focused trainings, identified through a needs assessment.
  • Personalized business coaching
  • Connecting with market access development initiatives to explore and expand into global markets.

LEAP was launched in August 2019 with the participation of 20 SME’s, with the intension of preparing the ground for the next series of initiatives considering the prime aspects of scaling up regional IT-SME companies, to reach export markets. The initial program concentrated on business remodelling and providing a glimpse of the non-technical aspects a business needs to explore and be sustainable in the export market. All programs were designed and conducted as non-traditional workshops, promoting the practical application of concepts and methods which resulted in participant’s active engagement, peer-to-peer learning, networking and building up a culture of cross selling among each other as direct/indirect outcomes of the LEAP program.

To manage and overcome the Covid19 crisis, LEAP Sri Lanka Program, the platform that facilitates regional development by bridging national & regional strategies and the development of the technology SME ecosystem; is continuously engaging with the community by offering its expert guidance, sharing knowledge and connecting the regional IT SME’s with relevant industry stakeholders and domain experts. During this unforeseen times, LEAP is also designing and managing a spontaneous WFH webinar series considering the dynamic demands and requirements of the community. In-line with the above, LEAP successfully facilitated another virtual session on “Branding and staying relevant to the Market during a pandemic” conducted by Mr. Amithe Gamage, Senior Consultant, business coach and Co-founder of Quantum Leap (Pvt) Ltd.

These structured as well as dynamic engagements will be continued and followed up to ensure it benefits the regional tech SME ecosystem that will ultimately support Sri Lanka LEAP forward!

In Essence

The Investment and Business Promotion initiative promotes international exposure in designated countries for the domestic (Sri Lankan) ICT Industry


ICT Agency, Industry Associations, EDB, BOI, Business Chambers

Creation of the Sri Lanka IT BPM Destination brand in 2014 and a stakeholder in the branding committee that offered its consultative inputs to the launch of the “Island of Ingenuity” brand in 2019

A Sri Lankan Financial Shared Services center awarded the Winner for “Best Process Improvement and Innovation” at the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON) Australasian Excellence Awards 2016
•    Brand exposure globally (primarily targeting the demand markets such as UK, Australia, Europe, South & South East Asia)
•    ICTA’s Industry Development program has supported the industry and the industry body (SLASSCOM) in expanding its business development activities in the UK market in 2009 as well. These facilitations and engagement with the UK market helped Sri Lanka to be recognized as the winner – offshoring destination of the year 2013 & 2014 and shortlisted in 2015 by the National Outsourcing Association, UK
•    Improvement in the ATKEARNEY Rating for Offshore Destinations
•    Improvement in the Gartner Rating for Offshore Destinations
•    75 unique companies have received at least one opportunity through ICTA to be part of an exhibition or networking meeting in Australia. 80% of the beneficiary companies have either got sales, setup a partner network or established an office in Australia
•    Partnerships made with Government and trade entities in Australia

  • Average difference of the revenue growth stands at LKR 1.4 Mn per company for 20 LEAP companies by the end of 2019
  • 75 unique companies participated in networking events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
    47 unique companies participated at CeBIT Australia during 2011-2013 & 2017
    •    25 unique companies participated at Gartner Symposium and Exhibition, Gold Coast during 2013-2016
    •    8 companies participated at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain in 2017
    •    Country pavilion organized at Gartner Symposium and Expo, London, UK
    •    Competitive Benchmarking report produced by ATKEARNEY
    •    One on One meetings with 40+ Gartner Analysts
  • 06 companies patronized the B2B Matchmaking Business Mission to Australia in 2018; 1-1 business meetings (15), 04 Networking events in Melbourne and Sydney (45-50 direct contact points) & 02 exposure/study tours
  • Direct/indirect exports revenue from Australia is US$ 7,000,000+ and additionally US$ 1,000,000+ as a potential sales pipeline
  • 40 unique regional IT-SME companies part of the LEAP community
  • 14 accelerator sessions through 06 primary workshops conducted on positive thinking, personal branding, business/networking etiquette, business plan, finance management & taxation, market research techniques, human resource management, marketing management & business communication
  • 150 instances/participants built with capacity & networking opportunities
  • Regional IT companies provided with opportunities to enhance their knowledge and network at national level events such as Disrupt Asia 2019, NITC 2019
  • 04 companies provided with products/solutions promoting opportunity @ EDB Exporter marketplace programme under processed food & beverages sector.