Monging the fish, old St. John’s Market.
IPS did a survey on how Sri Lankans think we can create more jobs. The results are out now. Check the link for some of their ideas. These are my own.
My Own Ideas
My ideas are rather simple. Allow PayPal and payment gateways for people to earn money online. Allow easy mobile commerce for everyone. This are all things that the Central Bank is sitting on, and it’s really hurting Sri Lanka.
Think online commerce is not such a big deal? Just look at the Etisalat AppZone. Etisalat is the third tier (I think) mobile provider, but they’ve been real leaders in Android and opening up opportunities for young Sri Lankans to earn. The last Android forum I went to had hundreds of young people and there are quite a few earning lakhs per month on apps, just cause Etisalat opened up a bit of playing field. If this was a soccer field it’d be like five yards square, but people are running to it. I should note that Dialog has just come out with an open platform for its SMS services, which looks awesome (IdeaMart). I’ll review in depth once they approve my app.
For a great example of local innovation, check out KodeInCloud. This young man made some serious bank off his Yalu chat app and he spun around and made a slick program that lets others make their own SMS apps faster and easier. That’s the power of Sri Lankan innovation, if you just open a gateway.
Then take Mobile Commerce. anything.lk and eChannelling have mobile payment options, but they had a lot of meetings, payments, et cetera, and it’s a closed system to small entrepreneurs. It’s also not really allowed under Central Bank regulations, they’re just flying under the radar. Yet think of what a game changer that would be.
And this doesn’t just apply for geeks. Instead of making change for my trishaw, I could pay via phone. When small guesthouses take a booking over the phone, they could also get a deposit. M-Commerce opens up opportunities to every Sri Lanka, and I can guarantee that we have the capability to take advantage.
So, in short, I think we actually need to get together and lobby the Central Bank to stop sitting on our future and let our entrepreneurs hustle and work. Seriously, just open up online and mobile gateways. People will run through them, and they’ll bring more money and jobs back than you could imagine.