SLID, CIMA host Webinar on ‘Entrepreneurship During a Pandemic’ | Daily News

SLID, CIMA host Webinar on ‘Entrepreneurship During a Pandemic’

The Women Directors’ Forum of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors together with CIMA Sri Lanka recently hosted a panel discussion on “Entrepreneurship During a Pandemic” to discuss the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and startup companies during the current pandemic.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Nadeera Nilupamali PhD, a virologist, immunologist, epidemiologist and Co-founder of Sri Lankan healthcare technology startup ImmunifyMe. The panel included Steven Enderby-Chairman, Ironwood Capital Partners and Lakmini Wijesundera-Co-founder and CEO of IronOne Technologies (Pvt) Ltd and BoardPac. The session was moderated by Aroshi Nanayakkara- Vice Chairperson of SLID, CEO of Global Consulting Company and Independent Non-Executive Director of Sampath Bank PLC and Hela Clothing (Pvt) Ltd.

ImmunifyMe is a cloud-based ecosystem which digitizes the immunization recordkeeping process thereby bridging the immunization gap and has won many international awards and grants

including the prestigious GAVI Influencer Award which is the World Health Organization Global Vaccine Alliance” said Dr. Nilupamali.

“We are facing unprecedented times during this pandemic which poses great challenges and threats to entrepreneurs and their organizations. With the onset of the pandemic, we identified 3 main roadblocks. First and foremost, we were unable to travel for in-person meetings which is the most effective. The second was the difficulty in pitching for a product/service that requires live demonstration.

The third was natural delays occurring due to unavailability of tangible material. This was a disaster for a new product line since we were unable to pitch effectively to global clients” said Dr. Nilupamali said.

Panelist Steven Enderby sharing his thoughts on how large companies keep innovating themselves said that crises often create the required impetus for large established organizations to change processes structures and strategies built over decades which had brought success over the years.

“One of the reasons why great businesses do not survive is because they are reluctant to change. A crisis such as this pandemic drives change as there is no other option than to change in order to continue to service the market and customers. What was done last year will not hold good anymore. One needs to find different routes to the market. Furthermore, in these types of environments, leaders should strive for long term structural change,” he added.

Speaking on the need for innovation during a pandemic, Lakmini Wijesundera said “Innovation is any kind of difference or change, so we had to do a lot of changes. To survive we could not go with the same customers: they started thinking differently and wanted different things, competitors came out with new products and features. Innovation should be continuous even during a pandemic. In the absence of innovation, competitors will catch up and overtake you. So, product-wise we innovated. Also, our sales and marketing footprint expanded during the pandemic to countries that we never targeted with client inquiries flowing in”.

Reaching out to entrepreneurs, she added “The pandemic struck us at a time that we were growing. We did not expect not being able to meet our clients face to face which is preferred by our audience. However, we have overcome this challenge and it has been an interesting journey. It is just a matter of focusing on what you like to do and enjoying it. Saddle up for some hard but enjoyable work”.