First Ever Techstars Startup Weekend in Sri Lanka Happening

Disclaimer: I am a part of the organizing committee for Startup Weekend Jaffna. Written below is my opinion about the event in its genuine and unbiased form. The view expressed in this post is purely based on a culmination of my experience of attending the event in another country and the experience of some of my colleagues and business associates as well.

Greetings and hello everyone. I know there is a lot of buzz happening in Sri Lanka about ‘some’ event called Startup Weekend Jaffna or #SWJ that will take place from the 24th to 27th of June in Jaffna. Many of you have been shooting me emails and voice messages to know more about the prospect of the event, Therefore, I decided to write up a quick blog to answer all your questions.

I plan to cover some of the topics of interest, like, What the event is about, what is the prospect of such an event and who should attend it, how we made it possible in Sri Lanka and some commonly asked doubts that most inquiries have.

What is Startup Weekend All About?

The essence of Startup Weekend is that people with an idea for a startup or individuals who want to collaborate with another startup(s) meet up under one roof over the weekend and work together to get something cooking.

Before I dwell further into this blog, I would like to mention just one thing about Startup Weekend that you should know. It doesn’t matter if you are a serial entrepreneur, a budding startup, or just an investor look for tie-ups. If you are motivated enough about your product, service, or vision, you will easily meld into the crowd at #SWJaffna next weekend.

How Did We Make it Happen in Sri Lanka?


Well, this one’s a long-long tale, and it’s impossible for me to write in full detail. However, I will ‘rewind-n-relive’ the most valuable minutes of this journey, some of which, have been truly inspiring and life-changing.

It was during last year when I was in Malaysia on a business tour that the idea of bringing Startup Weekend to Sri Lanka had struck me. I was attending the CAYE Asia Summit in Malaysia and on the last day the Summit was held at MAGIC Center (Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center). Call it my luck, or destiny but Startup Weekend was also running parallel in the same building (JACKPOT).

As a startup Entrepreneur, I had always dreamt of attending such an event. Startup Weekend was a dream for me. I wanted to participate in the event after the summit ended and it was the second time I felt lucky that day when the #SWM organizing team let us attend the event as a guest from Startup Weekend MaGIC.  I just attended #SWM for an hour with one of my colleagues Puwaneswaran who also participated CAYE Asia Summit.

I made the best use of my time at the event by indulging in conversation with various Attendees, Malaysian Entrepreneurs, and Members of the Organizing Team. One of the lead organizers introduced me to Lalitha Wemel (Regional Manager, Startup Programs for South East Asia and Oceania). I expressed my desire to bring Startup Weekend to Sri Lanka to Mrs. Lalitha, and she gave me the reference of Anurag Maloo (Regional Manager for South & Central Asia).

When I connected with Anurag Maloo, he openly expressed his concern about the Sri Lankan scene. Within minutes of discussion, I came to know that many “Entrepreneurs” had asked him to get #SW to Sri Lanka, but he had not found anyone motivated enough to bring such a big event to the country. Anurag told me that most people merely inquired about the event, and when the time came to take action, they were nowhere to be found.

With such a pathetic and frustrating first experience, it was tough to convince him. However, I was hell-bent on explaining my vision. I wanted Startup Weekend to come to Sri Lanka. I shared my ideas with Anurag and explained to him why #SWSL would be a very good idea and how I could help him make it possible. Upon further discussion, his team interviewed me and verified my credentials, and gave me a green signal to get the planning started for the event.

Upon receiving the green signal from Anurag Maloo, I immediately summoned my most trusted business associates and friends to tell them about the event – Thavaruban Thangarajah, Chamara Peiris, and Robinson Prashanthan. They are not merely business associates or friends for me, they are people I can trust even with my eyes closed. With them in place, it was in a matter of few hours that I was able to form the highly motivated team that was eager to see the event of such great standing, take place in our proud Country.

Why Did We Decide Jaffna, Instead of all the Other Cities?

Upon receiving the green signal from Anurag Maloo, I immediately summoned my most trusted business associates and friends to tell them about the event. These were people I could trust even with my eyes closed. It was in a matter of few hours that I had formed a highly motivated team that was eager to see the event of such great standing, take place in our proud Country.

After countless hours of brainstorming, we defined Jaffna as the host city for the event, as it is a growing city and it’s rapidly recovering post-war. The reason we never considered Colombo is because already there are lots of Hackathons and Startup Events in this town every year. We did not want to make Startup Weekend a part of any other event and thus considered between Kandy and Jaffna.  Now, as Kandy is already marked by SLASSCOM for KandyITBPM, we decided to stick to Jaffna.

Who Should Attend Startup Weekend?

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to kick-start your entrepreneurial journey or co-found another company. And, it doesn’t even matter if you just have an idea. Since you will be sharing your idea with business evangelists from various industries like Technology, Education, Health, Disability, Automobile,s and more, you can rest assure that you will be receiving mission-critical feedback about the highs and lows of your master plan.

My Opinion About Startup Weekend

“The primary reason why most startups ‘CLOSEUP’ is because they fail to scrutinize the bigger picture of their business strategy. Most novice entrepreneurs are too busy looking at the upsides and advantages of their game plan, that they completely overlook or become blind to evident and irrecoverable business potholes. Startup Weekend is like a face-off with the mirror for everyone, rookie or seasoned professionals alike, as we all are learning.”

The idea of having to face your own internal junk scares everyone to death. There is lots of talent in Sri Lanka and lots of bright people who can shape the future of our country. But, most of them are too shy to come out of the closet.

People don’t like their ideas being dissected or analyzed. The fear of sharing their next best idea with everyone, or for that matter being made fun of because their idea is not that amusing, is too overwhelming than their desire to create a unique and evergreen product.

For anyone looking to start off their business, or be a part of one, my advice would be to head over to Startup Weekend Jaffna and pitch yourself in front of the crowd and face your demons. In the end, it won’t matter if you have created an ‘awesome product for an invisible problem.’ It is best to get yourself validated, call BS early and move on to the next idea.

As an Entrepreneur, it is entirely acceptable to make mistakes, but what is not acceptable is to continue doing what you are doing, even when you know you are wrong.” You should go for Startup Weekend and share your insights about, a vast and profitable market that may be lying untapped, a market in which you have identified a model customer, with a unique problem that has not yet been solved, and discuss your solution.

Meet people, go co-founder dating, discuss unique strategies, talk about your team. Let people know that you already have interested investors (if any). Try to explain a conceivable business model along with your customer research. You can also show off a prototype of your product and service and demonstrate some traction if you are already in business.

For people who are just looking to invest in other Startups and build their connections in the industry, Startup Weekend is a unique treat. One of the best parts about #SWJ is that the organizing committee is getting an incredible lineup of advisors and mentors from various industries like marketing, finance, health, technology, and more. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a startup idea, you can still visit startup weekend to seek out, possible and lucrative business opportunities and entrepreneurs who want to collaborate with you to extend their idea into a thriving and ever-growing business model.

Startup or Not – You Should Attend #SWJaffna

The bottom line is, whether you are an investor or an entrepreneur a college graduate, or anything in between, the 54 Hours of #SWJ will be the most memorable and astonishing moments of your life, and by the end you will have “a lot” to take away from the event. It is an energizing and refreshing experience. If you want to register for the Startup Weekend that will happen from the 24th to the 26th of this month in Jaffna, you can visit the following link to book your tickets. Click Here.

Or, have you attended Startup Weekend in any other country? Don’t forget to share your experience about the event in the comments section below 🙂

Tech Startup Acceleration Program Meetup

Tech Startup Acceleration – There are lots of ways to ignite your startup and set it ablaze with your profits, and there are several ways of turning those dreams into realities. Being an entrepreneur, you will get ideas every day, and possibly every hour, of your life, and this is one of the incurable diseases of being an entrepreneur.

When I was growing up and living at home in 2008, I was struggling immensely because society and my family hadn’t given me much in life. Even the financial institutions wouldn’t really help me kickstart my efforts. I couldn’t get my dream business off the ground, and it was three months before I made my first sale from a UK customer, and the $5 I made helped me move on with confidence to loftier things. Right now, I own an e-commerce business that’s worth close to one million dollars, and it’s based in Northern Province Vavuniya. The real point here is that

” You don’t need one million dollars to put into your business, but you do need the equivalent one million dollar value of confidence.”

Are You a Freelancer?

If you are a good designer, programmer, writer, or marketing consultant then you can do some part-time freelance work. But if you are a full-time Freelancer you can win financial freedom within a very short period, but the question is If you’re a good designer, programmer, writer, or marketing consultant, then you might be doing some part-time freelancing work. If you’re a full-time freelancer, however, you can have financial freedom in a very short time period. There are some questions, however.

  1. Will your spouse say in public that you’re a freelancer? Will your kids say that you’re a freelancer?
  2. Will any banks or government authorities endorse you or give you any financial help to help start your business?
  3. Will your family members, friends, and neighbors respect you? If you are earning enough, they might smile in front of you. How will they talk in public, though?

The money will only give you financial freedom, but it won’t give you the reputation you want from your family and friends though.

Get a Reputation While You’re on Earth

While you’re on earth, you should strive to give something back to the earth and community, and if you get a good response from the market, then you can offer employment to the community and help people while you’re here. Giving employment to others is a gift from God, and if you give employment to others and practice great business ethics, then your business will reward you with a good reputation. In my personal experience, it doesn’t matter what you do in your personal life, but when it comes to a business, you want to try to maintain excellent ethics and cherish your business name, staff, and every brick of your office as much as your blood relations.

Running a Business When You’re an Entrepreneur

If you wanted to know about the inherent risk involved in a business, some might call it a “painless risk”. If you don’t care about your business, staff, and your stakeholders, then it won’t be a risk. Entrepreneurs are always ready to take that next big risk, and their decisions could disrupt the business environment. However, entrepreneurs always learn from their mistakes because they’re not going to want to listen to hours of needling advice from other people. So, most entrepreneurs won’t put their whole staff and livelihoods at risk.

Do You Have a Great Idea? Let’s Meetup.

It doesn’t matter where you’re living now, or what you’ve studied, all I need is your priceless information about your project concept. Startups are like dreams, and no one can understand your dreams better than your own brain.

This is a Lean Tech Startup Acceleration program and this time, I’m hoping to support Northern Province Budding Entrepreneurs, and, of course, I have a plan to target other provinces as well. So, bring your ideas, and let’s talk.

What can I do for you?

  • Connect you to relevant industry specialists, mentors, and incubators
  • Help you meet other young entrepreneurs and connect you to your dream time
  • Create direct connections to foreign venture capital companies and Angel Investors
  • Startup help from the online media
  • A lot more startup acceleration tips too


  • You must be an innovative “ global “ thinker with a fresh startup idea.
  • You must have a viable project concept and prototype if it’s available
  • You must have computer literacy and basic English skills (mandatory)
  • You must be confident in your project concept

Are there any charges for this?

No! There are absolutely no charges for this Tech Startup Acceleration meet-up. I’m not an angel investor or a venture capitalist, but I have direct connections with some of the most reputed angel investors and venture capitalist companies, and they can help a startup in its early-stage funding, or you can propose seed capital funding if it’s already launched. There are internationally and locally recognized mentors ready to give you mentoring support to your team.

So, what’s the catch?

There is no catch at all! All I’m trying to do is help fellow entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a reality! It’s a Lean Tech Startup Acceleration concept! so let’s arrange to meet in some public place that’s free because we don’t want to waste a whole lot of money in the start-up’s early stages.


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