In August 2019, LEAP Sri Lanka (Export Readiness Program for Regional Tech SMEs) embarked on a mission to revolutionize the prospects of regional technology Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka. As an ongoing initiative in 2023, LEAP Sri Lanka has made significant strides with remarkable achievements and a promising future.
Endorsed by the National Exports Strategy in 2019 and ICTA's Digital Economy Strategy in 2021, LEAP emerged as a flagship program to extend ICTA's technology industry development (TID) Project to regional fronts. Its primary goal is to empower regional tech companies, aiding their successful entry and growth in global markets. LEAP also serves as a platform for knowledge sharing, industry connections, lead generation, and cross-selling among potential solution providers across different regions.
LEAP Sri Lanka empowers regional tech SMEs through critical business evaluations, tailored business plans, capacity-building workshops, and targeted training programs. It actively collaborates with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion, Exports Development Board (EDB), government agencies, businesses, associations, investors, and tech experts.
LEAP Sri Lanka's milestones and outcomes are impressive. The program expanded from 40 companies in 2019 to over 70 in 2023. Workshop offerings grew from six in 2021 to more than 20 programs by 2023. Most notably, a 2022 assessment revealed that the majority of companies joining LEAP in 2019 are now actively engaged in exporting, crediting their success to the program.
The project has brought 70 regional IT-SMEs under its umbrella, provided one-on-one coaching to 15 IT-SMEs through LEAP Xpress, and conducted over ten primary workshops, covering essential topics like finance management and marketing strategies. Several companies developed business and marketing plans with LEAP's support. In 2021, six companies led the establishment of regional start-up hubs, further enriching the tech ecosystem. The LEAP-affiliated companies witnessed an impressive 113% growth in global presence in the 2022 year-end assessment and contributed to over 180 employment opportunities during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The future of LEAP Sri Lanka promises continued responsiveness to community needs. Tailoring workshops and training programs based on SME Need Analyses remains a priority. Additionally, annual progress analyses for SME Community members are planned. This ongoing commitment ensures LEAP Sri Lanka's role in empowering regional tech SMEs and guiding them toward global success. With its track record and dedication to continuous improvement, LEAP Sri Lanka is poised to shape the future of Sri Lanka's technology industry further.