Journalism Meets Innovation: Empowering Young Entrepreneurs In Sri Lanka

Shakila Ifham

June 22, 2024


In a pioneering initiative aimed at fostering innovation and economic growth through journalism, the International Labor Organization (ILO), in partnership with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Rainbow Institute of Communication, recently organized a groundbreaking workshop in Colombo. Held at NH Collection Colombo on the 13th and 14th of this month, the event saw a remarkable turnout, with 250 applicants vying for a coveted spot. Ultimately, only 30 young journalists were selected to participate, reflecting the high level of interest and competition.

The workshop was strategically designed to explore the emerging field of entrepreneurship journalism, a burgeoning trend in Sri Lanka. By blending the principles of journalism with entrepreneurial spirit, the initiative aimed to not only enrich the journalistic landscape but also to catalyze economic advancement. It highlighted the untapped potential of young talent in the country, positioning them as key players in shaping Sri Lanka’s future.

Dr. Thomas King, Chief Technical Advisor at ILO, and Erandika Dissanayake, National Project Coordinator, along with Manique Mendis, Executive Director of the Rainbow Institute of Sri Lanka, headlined the event as keynote speakers. Their insights underscored the pivotal role that journalism can play in driving entrepreneurial ventures and boosting national economic resilience.

The workshop featured an array of distinguished trainers on its first day, including Charindra Chandrasena, former Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Morning News,  Pavithra Sandamali and S.G. Prabhu, seasoned fact-checkers and web journalists. These experts delved into essential skills such as navigating the entrepreneurship ecosystem, crafting compelling entrepreneurial narratives, and rigorous fact-checking methodologies.

The second day of the workshop focused on cutting-edge topics vital to modern journalism, including the integration of artificial intelligence in entrepreneurial reporting and leveraging digital tools for impactful storytelling. Hasitha Dela, Co-Founder of HeadStart Pvt Ltd, and Omar Rajarathnam, a trilingual strategic Communication Specialist, led this segment, equipping participants with practical skills.

The enthusiasm and engagement throughout the workshop underscored its success in nurturing a new breed of journalists equipped to explore and promote entrepreneurship. By empowering young journalists with these innovative tools and insights, the workshop not only aimed to elevate the standard of journalism but also to foster a culture of entrepreneurship that could drive sustainable economic growth in Sri Lanka.