The Survey Study – Towards a Startup Friendly Government – Accelerating Startup Growth

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex Government body for Technology Startup Development in the country has been the catalyst in driving the start-up ecosystem forward during the past decade. In its efforts to create a favorable environment for startups and contribute towards a startup-friendly government, ICTA in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers Sri Lanka (PwC) recently launched a survey study to accelerate the tech startup ecosystem ‘Towards a Startup Friendly Government’ – a comprehensive report which focuses on the impediments faced by startups and enablers in Sri Lanka. The study also recommends a respective remedial action plan to overcome such impediments. 

The survey report was launched at a Press Conference held on the 29th of June 2021 with the participation of Eng. Mahinda B. Herath – Chief Executive Officer, ICTA, Mr. Anura De Alwis – Chief Digital Economy Officer, ICTA, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe – Member, Presidential Commission on the Simplification of Existing Laws and Regulations, Mr. Aruna Perera, Director – Corporate Finance and Valuation Consulting, PwC Sri Lanka, Mr. Mangala Karunaratne – CEO, Calcey Technologies, Ms. Ruchira Shukla – South Asia Regional Lead for Disruptive Technology Investments, International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group and Mr.Sachindra Samararathne- Director Startup Ecosystem Development, ICTA 

The significance of the study is that while showcasing a deep dive assessment of the impediments faced by the startups, it has also recommended a remedial action plan derived after analyzing case studies of other countries of similar nature. The proposed remedial action plan has further been localized to support local startups and make sure that these startups receive the due support from the government entities. 

The survey provides a broader view of the current tech startup ecosystem, focuses on the impediments which need to be addressed and possible solutions that can be implemented together with the government authorities. The survey also presents a collaborative approach where the government authorities can work closely with the startup ecosystem for the betterment of startups. 

The report brings to light 29 impediments from 12 categories faced by startups including issues relating to Foreign Exchange, Barriers to Foreign Investors, Intellectual Property, Taxation, Immigration, R&D, Government Support for Cross Border Activities, Data Privacy & Cyber Security, Digital Payments, Debt Financing, Telecommunication Regulations, Digitalization of Administrative Tasks and suggests 44 actions to resolve these impediments by working together with government authorities, who are in charge of respective sectors.