Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Social Change

Lanka Social Ventures at ‘Yowun Puraya 2019’

Yowun Puraya 2019 was organised by National Youth Services Council, Ministry of Youth and Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Club. These organisations believe that they can contribute to the economy by creating more enterprises and job opportunities which will address serious socio-economic issues such as youth unemployment, trades and exports, youth unrest etc. Therefore, they have developed the ‘Yowun Puraya 2019’ concept to help educate the youth in Sri Lanka to become creative and entrepreneurial.

National Youth Services Councils consists of young people and youth leaders with diverse skills and capacities. Most of them have actively engaged with their community to do various projects, programmes and events. Therefore, they have combined the two elements ‘Community and Entrepreneurship’ to bring upon better impact to address a number of socio-economic needs among the Sri Lankan youth. They have identified that although the youth groups are lacking certain entrepreneurial skills, where they felt Lanka Social Ventures could help.

LSV were invited to Yowun Puraya 2019 to conduct programmes on Social Entrepreneurship. The organisers believe that these youth groups could benefit from learning alternative ways to address social-economic problems via these coaching programmes. They seeked assistance from LSV on mentoring young people, who would be interested in starting up businesses and to receive necessary guidance in terms of innovative thinking and fine tuning their entrepreneurial ideas.

This programme comprised of a cross section of over 8000 Sri Lankan and 100 international youth. Yowun Puraya has a long history in Sri Lanka with successful camps held in different locations within the country dating back to 1984. This year, it was held at Weeravila, in the Southern Province from 28 th – 31 st of March 2019. There were youth representing each of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka at the 4 day camp and they had various different activities planned throughout the duration for the attendees to take part in.

We held 2 sessions during the 2 days for a total of 117 participants. The programmes were about social entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. We drew examples from both local and international successful social enterprises and taught them how to identify social / environmental issues around them to think innovatively about solving those problems via business ideas. It was very inspiring to see the Sri Lankan youth being so engaging and keen on social entrepreneurship. They came up with different ideas for the issues identified and they were also happy to learn in-depth about the whole ‘social enterprise’ concept. The youth were happy to know that they have support from organisations such as Lanka Social Ventures should they have a brilliant idea to solve a problem or simply just want to be a social entrepreneur without having a clear idea. We feel privileged to have successfully taught the selected groups of youth about social enterprise and having them on board on this journey towards transforming and shaping our country a better place to live in.

Some effective social and environmental problems identified by the groups were:

  • Drug addiction among school kids

  • Obesity/diabetes

  • Climate changes due to global warming

  • Garbage disposal problems

  • Unemployment among school leavers

  • YowunPuraya