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Sri Lanka Textile Sector Eyes Global Expansion

As Sri Lanka’s exports soar—up 15.7% in the first five months of the year—export firms in the country are looking to innovation to fuel growth.

Brandix, Sri Lanka’s largest textiles and garments exports holding company announced plans to fund innovation and to take “big ideas” into the global market. The initiative to encourage and fund innovation in the textile and garment sector will be implemented through a partnership with the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) through Brandix’s Disrupt Unlimited start-up, as designated in a memo of understanding (MoU) signed by both parties.

Disrupt Unlimited describes itself as a “seed accelerator,” that funds and offers mentoring to start-ups that provide production, processes, and various other business solutions to Sri Lanka’s apparel, textile and accessories sectors.

Brandix, which operates some 34 textile and apparel manufacturers, will search for inventors and innovators with devices, processes and ideas applicable to the textile and apparel sector. Those chosen for development may be mentored and funded through an “Incubator” or “Disrupt-a-thon” process and hopefully transformed into commercial uses.

The firm is also seeking advisors, administrators, attorneys, supply-chain experts, workshop conductors and any other entity or individual who can contribute beneficial — or even revolutionary — changes to any aspect of the industry, including manufacturing, packaging, distribution and consumption for enlistment into the ambitious Disrupt Unlimited program.

In consummating the agreement, Brandix director Udena Wickremesooriya said, “We are still in the infancy stages of this cycle. Therefore, we need to really go for it in the next five years to catch up to the ecosystems that have been 25 years in the making.” A high-priority goal of the Brandix initiative is to encourage and nuture start-ups by constructing a fast-track ecosystem.

In a message to prospective investors Wickremesooriya said,”Take the risks, make your ideas work, and deliver results.”

Exports of textiles and garments in Sri Lanka were up 14.5% in May to $365 million over the prior year period, the largest contribution to the country’s overall exports. Total exports in all categories for the first five months of the year were $4.45 billion.