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Moratuwa Uni to boost local electronics industry - Commerce Ministry to fund Rs. 1 b for first-e...

Sep 25, 2011 2:34:34 PM - www.ft.lk

Commerce Ministry to fund Rs. 1 b for first-ever technology incubator project

A top Sri Lankan university is launching the first technology incubator to boost the country’s fledgling electronics industry, a Ministry statement said yesterday.
The Industry and Commerce Ministry has signed an agreement with the University of Moratuwa to fund US$ 90 000 for the project.
“Sri Lanka’s electrical and electronic industry has been identified as a thrust industry. We believe that with the US$ 90,000 investment from our Ministry, the industry will start its journey towards expanding its international markets,” said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

Sri Lanka’s US$ 141 million electric and electronic industry consists of home appliances, electrical parts and industrial products. There are more than 100 companies employing about 10,000 workers.
Products are mainly exported to USA, UK, Australia, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Italy, Belgium, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition the Government has identified India and Pakistan as untapped potential markets.
The research facility is expected to initially assist around 10 entrepreneurs and eventually develop a ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ brand for the industry.
“Using the initial funding the university will assist entrepreneurs on product design, prototyping, knowledge, skills building and more importantly, easy access to high tech research and design facilities,” said Industry Ministry Director T.M.B. Menike said in the statement.
Among the new products encouraged are precision electronics, especially in automotive and medical technology.
“This initial funding is directly sourced from the ministry with no outside funding yet,” Minister Bathiudeen stressed. The incubator will verify whether the prototyped new product is commercially viable.
“After concept viability, prototyping follows.
The prototyping of conceptual models saves a huge sum of money since we can avoid the costly moulding stage,” said Moratuwa University Vice Chancellor Prof. Malik Ranasinghe.
He added: “When both the concept viability and prototyping stages are passed, the business plan stage emerges. The incubator will assist in all these three stages and highlight the commercial viability of our new products that are on test.”

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