Meet the Innovators: Disrupt-a-thon Challenge

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Our first Disrupt-a-thon’s 9 challenges engaged innovators from a diverse set of backgrounds including mechatronics, textile process engineering, supply chain management, nanotechnology, electrical engineering, and logistics.


In addition to several online submissions to the competition, 10 teams participated locally in Sri Lanka.

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Keerthi Priyankara, who started the company Effective Solutions Ltd last year to develop innovative IT solutions, found the Disrupt-a-thon useful because it “helped [his company] understand the pain points in the [Apparel] industry.”

The Disrupt-a-thon’s objective is to encourage innovators from across industries to develop technology-driven solutions that address specific challenges at every stage of the Apparel supply chain, leading to revolutionary changes in the way apparel, textiles and accessories are made, packaged, distributed and consumed.

“The Disrupt-a-thon was a new experience for us. It helped us to focus on industrial challenges. We were able to expand our capabilities going beyond our knowledge and skills. It [was a] platform to think about [new] innovations,” said Chamod Hettiarachchi, who worked with six of his classmates from University of Moratuwa to develop a solution that could increase machine operator productivity in factories.

The 10 teams were briefed on challenges identified by the Brandix Group and Textured Jersey.  They were then paired with mentors and given the opportunity to visit factories and observe the challenges first-hand.

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In the wearable tech category, Pramadhi Arachchi and his team Pulz Solutions developed Panacea’s Smart Innerwear to track and remotely monitor key health indicators for those at risk or suffering from heart disease, asthma, and arthritis. Pramadhi commented, “It was a good learning experience for us young entrepreneurs. We got in touch with valuable mentors who gave us sound advice on how to proceed.”

Each team had two weeks to understand the problem and develop a conceptual solution.

rasikaGayan Senarathna and Thisara Nandasiri decided to work on a solution to decrease thread changeover time in the manufacturing line. Rasika Nandana and Akila Suriyatachchi from Open University developed a solution to automate trim card assembly to save merchants time and eliminate delivery costs. Rasika reflected, “I got lot of experiences with working and interviewing different kinds of people in the problem defining stage.”

After two weeks, the teams pitched their conceptual solutions to a judging panel of domain experts and technical advisors.

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“I especially enjoyed the competition aspect of the program and being able to present a pitch in front of an experienced panel,” added Rasika.

Taking a creative approach to the bra cup challenge, Ayman Firouze pitched a solution to improve the accuracy and precision of the fitting process for bras.

Taking a creative approach to the bra cup challenge, Ayman Firouze pitched a solution to improve the accuracy and precision of the fitting process for bras.

 Lashan Silva and Maritana Soysa proposed alternative solutions to automate customer order creation, saving merchandiser’s time and reducing human error.

Lashan Silva and Maritana Soysa proposed alternative solutions to automate customer order creation, saving merchandiser’s time and reducing human error.

Viranga Kekulawala and his team from eIMSKY Business Solutions Pvt Ltd pitched a solution to increase machine operator productivity in the first hour.

Viranga Kekulawala and his team from eIMSKY Business Solutions Pvt Ltd pitched a solution to increase machine operator productivity in the first hour.

T.M Kumara, a scientist from the Sri Lanka Inventor’s Commission, worked on an integrated bra cup solution and eliminating colour issues in fabrics.

T.M. Kumara, a scientist from the Sri Lanka Inventor’s Commission, worked on an integrated bra cup solution and eliminating colour issues in fabrics.


Stay tuned to find out which teams won the challenge! Winners get the opportunity to participate in the 4-month Disrupt Unlimited Seed Accelerator Program to build and commercialize their solution, with access to seed funding, advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, collaborative workspace and legal and administrative services, along with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors at an exclusive Demo Day.

At the end of the competition, Rasika reflected, “I’ve had the dream of being a good entrepreneur, and Disrupt Unlimited helped me gain entrepreneurial skills in a logical and innovative way. Disrupt Unlimited showed me the path. Now I can be an entrepreneur… It will be difficult, but I will do it.”

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