In its continuous commitment to advancing the interests of exporters, the Export Development Board (EDB) stands out as the premier organization dedicated to the development and promotion of exports. As part of its dynamic approach to fostering global trade, EDB is actively engaged in identifying and cultivating potential markets for exporters worldwide. Furthermore, the EDB is actively exploring opportunities for technical assistance from its international collaborators. This includes harnessing cutting-edge technologies, adopting innovative business practices, and enhancing the overall competitiveness of the export sector. EDB has solidified its commitment to advancing the ICT BPM sector by establishing a strategic partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This collaboration is set to play a pivotal role in expanding and cultivating the Japanese market for Sri Lanka's burgeoning ICT BPM industry aiming to create a network that goes beyond immediate economic benefits, promoting a culture of collaboration and knowledge exchange that transcends borders.
In 2020, EDB initiated a significant initiative in collaboration with JICA to enhance technological collaborations. After a comprehensive survey on Sri Lankan tech industry, a compelling proposal was submitted in 2022.
Marking a remarkable journey between two tech industries in both countries, the approval was received from JICA, with the agreement to extend the Japanese technical assistance for Sri Lankan tech companies by introducing Sri Lankan ICT/BPM companies to the Japanese market. The project aims to assist approximately 30 SME ICT/BPM companies and tech startups in two cohorts over a two-year period starting in 2024 by providing market intelligence, business coaching and matchmaking support.
To provide technical consultancy, JICA assigned Mr. Yoichi KOGURE, Senior Consultant in the Consulting Division at Japan Development Service Co., Ltd. (JDS), and Mr. Malith Gunasekara, Technology Advisor specializing in Digital Financial Services, FinTech, and e-Health, to the project. The technical consultancy will be multifaceted, by close collaboration with Sri Lankan tech companies to understand their unique capabilities, challenges and aspirations. At the same time the consultancy team will identify the potential areas of synergy and establish connections between two tech ecosystems.
A kickoff meeting was held with Dr. Kingsley Bernard, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Ms. Indumini Kodikara, Director- Export Services, Ms. Vajira Kularathna and Mr. Dinesh Attanayake of the EDB IT team. From the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka office Ms. Miyake Yukako, Project Formulation Advisor (Social Sector and ICT Sector), and Ms. Eranga Rajapaksha, Associate Officer, Development Cooperation Division participated at this meeting.
Sri Lanka's Export Development Board has worked tirelessly to establish the country's IT BPM sector in the competitive Japanese market. The journey began in 2014 with the creation of an ICT sector interest group focused on Japan. Through key events and meetings with influential Japanese institutions, Sri Lanka gained media exposure and recognition, leading to collaborations in software development ventures.
Building on this success, EDB introduced more than 40 Sri Lankan ICT companies to the Japanese market through trade events like Japan IT Week from 2015 to 2019 and CEATEC in 2015. Recognizing the growing demand, EDB expanded its efforts to Central and Western Japan in 2023 with Osaka IT Week, resulting in successful business leads. The collaboration between Sri Lanka and Japan has become a success story, serving as inspiration for other nations.
This strategic move demonstrates EDB's commitment to boosting Sri Lanka's technological landscape and fostering global partnerships. The collaboration is expected to facilitate the exchange of technological know-how, innovation, and best practices, benefiting both nations' tech industries. Sri Lanka gains access to cutting-edge technologies, while Japan benefits from the dynamic Sri Lankan tech ecosystem.
As EDB and JICA join forces, the future looks promising for both nations, showcasing the global nature of the tech industry and the power of collaboration in driving innovation and economic growth.