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CA Sri Lanka’s Business Plan competition goes island wide, winning school team will fly to Australia

In an effort to nurture innovation among the country’s student population, the second Business Plan competition organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) will get underway in January next year, with the winning school team receiving a unique opportunity of flying to Australia to take part in an international level competition.

The competition in Sri Lanka will bring together 60 teams representing schools from Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Kurunegala, Kandy and Jaffna. Each team will comprise of five students who are sitting for the G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination in 2017 August – Commerce Stream (English Medium), and or students who are sitting for the G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination in 2018 August – Commerce Stream (English Medium).

Each participating team will be given the opportunity to choose a topic, which will be converted into a business idea, and pitched to a renowned panel of judges at regional level and then national level.

The first leg of the competition which will kick off in January 2017 and will comprise of regional competitions from which seven regional winners will take part at the grand finale in Colombo in March 2017. The winning team of the CA Sri Lanka Business Plan competition grand finale will be given the opportunity to take part in the Case Competition organized by the Queensland University of Technology which will be held in May 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.

The CA Sri Lanka Business Plan competition has been organized to encourage and educate students on the importance of preparing a business plan which is an important segment of the local GCE Advanced Level Business Studies syllabus. The competition will help students apply into practice the knowledge gained at classroom level while the competition will also be an important platform to showcase their presentation skills. The primary aim of the competition is to provide students with a thorough understanding on the preparation and presentation of a Business Plan to facilitate new venture creation to the Sri Lankan economy.

Each participating team will produce a new business idea to help strengthen the country’s economy, while also preparing the business plan in line with the GCE Advanced Level syllabus.

At the regional level competitions, the panel of judges will comprise of university lecturers and industry experts, while at the grand finale, the panel of judges will comprise of university lecturers, representative from the Queensland University of Technology - Brisbane, industry experts and high profile Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

Speaking at a press conference to unveil the Business Plan competition, CA Sri Lanka President Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe said that Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurs to unleash their unique vision and be the change maker and help Sri Lanka reach its ambition of becoming a global player.

“The business plan competition will help our students comprehend the importance of innovativeness, which is essential for any successful entrepreneur. At a time when Sri Lanka is at the threshold of renewed development, there is a bigger demand for entrepreneurs to take the lead in helping the country move forward. Therefore, the CA Sri Lanka Business Plan competition is not only an event which will help Advanced Level students enhance and develop their knowledge, but it will also help them develop their innovativeness to become successful entrepreneurs,” Mr. Wickremasinghe said.

Assistant Dean QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology Brisbane Mr. Andrew Paltridge said that students are the future of businesses, industries and governments. “Therefore it is our job to help develop your skills and that is why we are all here today,” he said.

The partnership between CA Sri Lanka and QUT was enabled by the Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) in an effort to bring Sri Lankan and Australian professional bodies together. SLACC is the only integrated bi-lateral, member-based Chamber umbrella constituted under the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to foster commercial trade and dialogue between Sri Lankan and Australian businesses. Mr. Kalum De Silva, President of the Chamber speaking at the press conference said, “Among the many amazing outcomes of this collaboration, we are most excited about the tremendous opportunity this initiative offers to engage and inspire students from both Sri Lanka and Australia.”

Chairman of the Brand Development & Corporate Communications Committee of CA Sri Lanka Mr. Asoka Pieris said that CA Sri Lanka is the number one accountancy body in the country.  “Preparing a business plan is an important part for any chartered accountant and therefore CA Sri Lanka is taking the lead, along with QUT in doing the business plan competition for Sri Lankan schools,” he said.  

CA Sri Lanka Chief Executive Officer Mr. Aruna Alwis said that the inaugural competition held in 2015 saw the participation of several leading schools from Colombo including Ananda College, D. S. Senanayake College, Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Musaeus College, Nalanda College, Royal College, St. Bridget’s Convent and Visakha Vidyalaya. “The inaugural competition received overwhelming response, and therefore we took steps to expand the competition island wide,” Mr. Alwis added.