To demonstrate the importance and power of creative industries in a country’s economy, British Council Sri Lanka is currently involved in the Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) Awards programme, developed by the British Council Creative Economy team in London. This programme aims to develop a powerful professional network between creative entrepreneurs in the world and to inspire and facilitate the sharing of best practices in building skills. And it also aims to provide access to resources, professional development, markets, mentoring and resources thereby increasing opportunities for business between Sri Lanka and UK.
A key objective is to sensitise the UK creative sector to the opportunities that come from working with creative entrepreneurs in emerging economies. A second objective is to better understand the dynamics of being an entrepreneur in the creative economy. Throughout the programme we seek opportunities to achieve both this sensitisation and understanding.
The International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) award programme aims to celebrate the achievements and develop the potential of young creative entrepreneurs across the British Council’s international networks. Sri Lanka currently promotes the enterprise award in Fashion, and seeks to promote the Music award in the near future.
The first International Young Fashion Entrepreneur (IYFE) award took place in London in February 2008 and Darshi Keerthisena of Buddhi Batiks' fame competed along-side 9 other international winners. In 2009 the Sri Lankan title was won by Linda Speldewinde who is the Managing Director of Academy of Design and she received an opportunity to represent Sri Lanka in the international award where she got a special commendation for her work by the final judging panel. Chathuri Samaraweera, Managing Director, Anaya International Pvt Ltd, was chosen as the national winner in 2010 and Kasuni Rathnasuriya was judged as the 2011 award winner. In 2012 the award was revamped and renamed the Young Creative Entrepreneur Award and the award under the 'Design and Fashion' category was run in Sri Lanka. Prassanna Pathmanathan, Communication / PR Consultant, Corporate Trainer, and Lecturer was the YCE Design and Fashion Award 2012 winner.
The award programme, both international and UK, is unique in its focus on young creative entrepreneurs; recognising their centrality to the development of a competitive and sustainable creative economy. It is our intention to link the networks created through the international and UK awards, to amplify these opportunities. Quite simply, we believe that creative talent can be found anywhere and the next big idea can emerge from any country.
The YCE programme is currently being revamped as we reshape our work in Creative Economy to make the programme bigger and better.