EU-Sri Lanka Innovation Partnership (EU-SLIP)

Initiative to connect innovation and start-up ecosystems between Europe and Sri Lanka

This initiative aims to connect the innovation and start-up ecosystems in Europe and Sri Lanka. Between 2020 to 2021, a network of incubators and accelerators from Europe and Sri Lanka will meet in three networking events and explore opportunities for matchmaking, scaling up, co-creation, co-development and co- investment for incubators, accelerators and start-up entrepreneurs and innovators. Connecting incubators in such a way will enable them to support their portfolio startups with reciprocal market access to Europe and to Sri Lanka and South Asia, with Sri Lanka acting as an important gateway to the wider region.

The initiative also entails an EU-South Asia start-up helpdesk and facilitates corporate and investor open innovation tech scouting. The aim is to kick-start a self-sustaining ecosystem that fosters high-level interactions and technology & innovation partnerships that benefit both regions.

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About the initiative

Fostering EU-Sri Lanka innovation cooperation: an initiative to connect the innovation and start-up ecosystems between Europe and Sri Lanka

The EU through the EU delegation to Sri Lanka launched a first project in early 2020 with the aim to foster innovation cooperation between Sri Lanka and Europe.

Fostering partnerships with Sri Lanka’s growing innovation and start-up ecosystem is seen as an important tool to strengthening overall EU-Sri Lankan Partnership. The first EU-Sri Lanka innovation week took place in March 2020 where EU and Sri Lankan stakeholders had the chance to initiate collaboration. The EU-Sri Lanka Innovation Partnership initiative will provide a great opportunity for Europe and Sri Lanka to foster research and innovation networks, and to collaborate in implementing incubation, acceleration and scaling up programs that can support start-ups from both sides to co-create and scale to the other region. Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan innovation ecosystem can further build up their capacity by benefiting from good practice examples and innovations from Europe.

To achieve the above, three key activities are foreseen:

Creation of Network of EU-Sri Lanka Incubators & Accelerators

EU-South Asia Start up Help Desk and Hands on Support

Facilitate Corporate and Investor Open Innovation and Tech Scouting

Incubator network

Creating a Network of EU and Sri Lankan Incubators & Accelerators

This activity entails networking of start-up incubators and accelerators from Europe and Sri Lanka, in particular to:

  • Identify & reach out to incubators, accelerators and other relevant stakeholders from Europe and Sri Lanka with a specific interest in the other region. Incubators/accelerators will be matched by the team with counterparts in the other region focusing on similar thematic areas, facilitating mutual learning and exchange programmes. This way, a long-term network will be created linking the key EU and Sri Lankan start-up ecosystems.
  • Organise three networking events for incubators and accelerators which support start-ups that could benefit from this initiative. Each event brings together 10 representatives from incubators and accelerators (5 from each region), alongside other stakeholders.
  • Inspire incubators and accelerators to engage in further exchanges between their own staff and staff of their member start-ups. This includes support to create tailored incubator/accelerator exchange programmes.
  • Offer capacity building trainings that suit the needs of incubators and accelerators.
  • Launch thematic challenges that facilitate the co-creation and collaboration of Sri Lankan and European start-ups working on similar solutions in the same sector. Corporates will also be engaged to support such collaborations.
  • Encourage start-up participation in relevant conferences and events in both regions.

If you are an accelerator/incubator, you can benefit from this initiative if:

You already have some links to the other region’s start-up communities and would like to build on these relationships

You don’t have previous links to the other region but are interested in internationalising and have a genuine interest in how innovation and business work in the other region

You want to connect to entrepreneurs from the other region and participate in relevant events to exchange ideas, expertise, explore partnerships for co-product development or market leverage

You want to benefit from the skills and knowledge of partners in the other region to develop innovative products, service and solutions to common challenges, best practise and staff exchanges

You support/host start-ups in sectors such as energy, agriculture, healthcare, robotics, and SDG related sectors

This initiative focuses on creating incubator/accelerator level partnerships that should act as multipliers to ultimately benefit a larger number of start-ups than could be reached otherwise. The initiative does not only include incubators/accelerators but also involves VCs, angel investors, corporates, and bilateral support agencies and government organisations that support innovation.

Participating incubators and accelerators

Here is a list of the incubators/accelerators involved in this EU initiative:

European incubators/accelerators:

Sri Lankan incubators/accelerators:

Networking Events


4 December 2020 - Virtual event

On 4 December, 10 carefully selected European and Sri Lankan incubators and accelerators came together in a virtual setting. The objective of the First Networking Event was to familiarise the 5 Sri Lankan and the 5 European incubators/accelerators with each other and to help them kickstart collaboration. Thus, the first event provided space for each incubator to introduce themselves, clearly outlining their motivation for participating in the EU-SLIP project, and stimulated discussion of joint activities during the networking sessions.

In addition, the event aimed to provide useful information to participants on how to build successful partnerships between the EU and Sri Lanka. The presentation of Giordano Dichter shed light on factors and steps that should be taken to ensure long-lasting and fruitful collaborations. Lastly, the event also introduced the support that the EU Service Facility team will provide to facilitate corporate and investor open innovation and tech scouting. For this purpose, three corporates (CISCO, John Keells and Growrite) were invited to the event to discuss potential opportunities for cooperation with tech hubs and start-ups.

The event was a success and collaborations are underway between the Sri Lankan and European incubators.

Capacity Building Webinars and Workshops

17 DEC 2020


17 December 2020


This Webinar was designed to connect Sri Lankan incubators with the European counterparts in order to drive international connections and opportunities. Thus, all Sri Lankan innovation and entrepreneurship enablers were invited to take part in the webinar.

Delivered by international private sector development experts, European incubator managers and by representatives of leading EU and international networks, this Webinar covered the following:

  • How business incubators can build robust international partnership that deliver for startups
  • The structures and strategies of these partnerships
  • The key organizations and networks to know and interact with in Europe