The  SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) has begun a free webinar series for startups and young entrepreneurs to help them overcome challenges, effectively face the economic shocks, recover from failures and improve their startups in the new economic realities brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The first webinar in the series was held on 18 May 2020 and the second webinar was held on 2 June 2020. The 3rd and 4th webinars will be held on 10 and 17 June 2020, respectively.

Several other  important webinars are in the pipeline covering all major aspects of startups from theoretical perspectives to practical dimensions along with innovative strategies to deal with difficult situations like the coronavirus, the Colombo Office of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI)  said.

The webinar series is organized in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). Renowned mentors from India, Subramanian Chandramouli, International Sales Trainer, and Saravana Mani, Global Head of Innovation Kmart Group Australia, are conducting the webinar sessions for startups. Young entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are taking part in the series of startup webinars.        

Prior to this webinar series for startups, SAARC CCI had already organized a series of Startup Boot Camps in various countries of South Asia, i.e. Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, stating from April to December 2019. In line with the recommendations of SAARC Startup Vision Summit 2018, held in India, the series of SAARC CCI Boot Camps and the Webinar series are being organised with the intention of developing a mechanism to ensure cross border learning, exposure and mentoring for startups and to strengthen startup ecosystems across South Asia, especially in the South Asian countries with no startup ecosystems or least developed startup ecosystems.

It has been significant that SAARC CCI has so far been trained and mentored over 350 young entrepreneurs from South Asian countries during the series of startup webinars and bootcamps. All these young ventures are extremely happy about the training programs and continue to take part in SAARC CCI activities.

Startups plays a pivotal role in an economy significantly contributing to the economic growth. Startups generate new employment opportunities for passionate young people. Moreover, startups are a salient component of economic dynamism stimulating innovation and injecting competition. It is apparent that startups are the driving force behind structural change in South Asian countries. Therefore, it is expected that the series of SAARC CCI webinars and boot camps will indeed be instrumental in developing effective startup ecosystems in South Asian nations thereby contributing to the economic dynamism and progressive changes in the region.