Grasshoppers among world’s 40 best innovative digital solutions for World Summit Awards 2018
The Sri Lankan last-mile logistics groundbreaker—Grasshoppers—received an extraordinary global recognition with the WSA, as an outstanding example of digital innovation in e-commerce. Grasshoppers, which is a Kapruka and Avishkaar Frontier Fund merger, was co-founded by Dulith Herath (Sri Lankan tech innovator behind Kapruka.com) and Dr. Harsha Liyanage (creator of Sarvodaya Fusion promoting IT Education across Sri Lanka). Grasshoppers was first nominated for the WSAs by ICTA as a national choice, and went on to compete with nominations from over hundred countries before it got selected into the final round. Grasshoppers was then presented to the WSA Grand Jury in Accra, Ghana where the international jurors reviewed and discussed each shortlisted project to narrow down to the final forty WSA winners of 2018. Grasshoppers is now among the global finalists that include some of the most groundbreaking projects from around the world, outlining radical thinking converging digital innovation with social impact. This means that Grasshoppers will go on to present the unusual model of their business and how it utilises digital platforms in a completely new manner, at the WSA Global Congress with other finalists. This kind of recognition for a Lankan tech startup is quite rare, and signifies how the country is beginning to make stronger strides into the realm where clever use of technology is at the core of enterprise.
The World Summit Awards are a unique awards system linked to the UN World Summit Awards. It selects and promotes local digital innovation that renders a high impact onsocioeconomic development. The awards system brings together an ongoing series of international events and activities with a global network of start-ups, social entrepreneurs, mentors, jurors, speakers, experts, government leaders, academia and civil society, carving out an international platform for extraordinary stories on how ICTs can have an impact on society. WSAs have been in place for fifteen years now, becoming a quality seal for digital content with societal impact in over hundred and eighty participating countries. WSA stands for the worldwide selection and promotion of digital innovation with a postitve impact on society & the encouragement of young entrepreneurship. The award system is highly diverse and democratic, and was initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS). It contributes to the UN sustainable development goals agenda, by recognising local digital content with an impact on society, demonstrating the richness and diversity of innovative applications.World Summit Awards are conducted by ICNM, an Austrian not-for-profit organisation based in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria.
The awards system recognised Grasshoppers for several reasons such as cutting-edge digital innovation with a strong local relevance, content depth and user value from all UN member state. The venture was also recognised to contribute to the agenda of UN WSIS and UN sustainable development goals by showcasing creative use of digital innovation, fostering entrepreneurship and making platforms accessible at grassroot levels. The business model of Grasshoppers is one that allows local communities to be part of it, and reap the benefits of the company’s growth. The company has a proprietary technology stack that facilitates interactions within its logistics supply chain and provides features like traceability of goods through its network, to their clients. This has gained fantastic traction with different segments of customers including leading e-commerce players, corporates and MSMEs.
With the WSA recognition that Grasshoppers receives, the Lankan tech startup will be able to leverage WSA’s global network of emerging brands, mentors, entrepreneurs, jurors, governmental representatives, ICT experts and international organisations, connecting to new stakeholders, collaborators and possibly even clienteles. In addition to this, WSA network will connect Grasshoppers to over fifteen local, regional and global events, workshops and meetings every year, offering face to face platforms for a multi-level knowledge exchange to propel the venture further. Through WSAs, Grasshoppers will also receive global visibility through national experts network, media partners and strategic cooperation.