Statement by UNDP Country Director- Technopreneurship for Social Change

Sep 5, 2018

Mr. Eranda Weliange, Chairman, National Youth Services Council

Mr. Ravin Basnayake, Citi Country Officer Sri Lanka

Ms. Kalhari Kaluarachchi, Cisco Networking Academy, Sri Lanka

And my dear young people


I am so happy to be here with you – to meet young technoprenuers like you.


At the onset allow me to thank the National Youth Services Council, Citi and Cisco for coming partnering with UNDP, to provide an opportunity for young people like yourselves, to be agents of social change, in your own way.


This is the beauty of the word – Technopreneurship!


An entrepreneur is a person who identifies an opportunity, converts it into a product or service, estimates earnings and profit and builds a successful business with it.


A technopreneur starts out with nothing but just an ‘idea’.


And UNDP is proud to be a part of an initiative that gives young people the space and opportunity to expound on one simple ‘idea’.


We want to be with you, support you and help you expand on your idea, so together we can contribute towards a more sustainable tomorrow.




Technopreneurship is a new breed of entrepreneurship.


It involves the coming together of people who are intelligent, driven, creative, tech-savvy and passionate.


Your generation is also far better connected than previous ones.


Today, if you don’t have the Facebook or the whatsapp app on your phone, people would think of you as a strange person.


During my youth days, things were so much different!


But today, each and every one of you have an opportunity to positively contribute to society, by leveraging your technological knowledge and your drive for innovation.


As a technopreneur you will constantly learn and improve, innovate and disrupt the workings of people, organizations and nations as a whole.


Over the next 2 days, you will be engaged in a 14-hour learning experience.


Our ultimate objective – we want to encourage you to start your own business that applies innovation, technology and creativity that addresses a need in your local community.


As of today, we have reached over 600 young people through this programme and we will reach 400 more over the next few months.


Even if at some point you choose not to be a technoprenuer, we believe the knowledge you gain out of this programme will enhance your skills and improve your job prospects.


No matter what you choose, this programme can gear you to be catalysts in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.



The agenda specifically recognizes youth as “critical agents of change”. 


To ensure the success of the 2030 Agenda, we need all young people on board - all of you, young activists, innovators, disruptors and trailblazers. 


I encourage you to take your initiatives forward from here, and be the change you want to see in Sri Lanka.


Rest assured UNDP we will continue working with you and with other young people around the world to develop innovative solutions to our shared global challenges, and to put your ideas into practice.




Before I conclude, let me take this opportunity to again thank our partners, the NYSC, Citi and Cisco for their unwavering commitment.


Mr. Weliange, I have heard from my colleagues how supportive the NYSC has been throughout, starting from selecting the students to providing lab space to even facilitating internet connectivity to ensure these young people here, have access to the courses offered through this programme.


Mr. Basnayake, this programme would not be possible without the partnership between Citi and UNDP, both locally in Sri Lanka and regionally across the Asia pacific.


I understand you and Shanaka have visited engaged in many of these learning programme so thank you for your personal interest to empower these young people.  


We definitely look forward to scaling this relationship further, so we can make a stronger impact together.


Ms. Kaluarachchi – thank you for offering such valuable e-learning courses to educate young Sri Lankans on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and leadership.


I am confident that the knowledge gained through these courses will go a long way in the lives of these young people.


Finally, thank you all for being here. It is your ideas and your passion to develop that idea, that will help you succeed in whatever career path you choose.


I wish you all the very best!

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