Atlas Network is excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Think Tank Shark Tank — Asia competition, which is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Asia Liberty Forum on Feb. 10-11 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Three think tank professionals will compete in a showcase of the region’s most exciting new projects. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges comprised of thought leaders in the industry, will receive a $10,000 prize in project seed-funding. The finalists are Rofi Uddarojat (Indonesia), Sarwagya Raj Pandey (Nepal), and Dhananath Fernando (Sri Lanka).
Rofi Uddarojat, Co-founder, SuaraKebebasan.org (Indonesia)
Project: Liberating Entrepreneurship in Indonesian Transportation
SuaraKebebasan.org seeks funding to start a public campaign to promote entrepreneurship in the ride-hailing transportation system in Indonesia. The campaign aims to benefit low-income households and consumers at-large, especially for those who live outside the capital by creating policy recommendations and working with the local government to adopt those recommendations.
"The entrepreneurs and consumers are suffering from new government policy that imposes regulatory burdens on ride-hailing services," said Uddarojat. "My organization is trying to solve the problems by lobbying the government and enact a public campaign to advocate a pro-competition mentality and provide choice in Indonesian transportation."
Uddarajot is the co-founder and the managing editor of SuaraKebebasan.org, a media blog for individual liberty and free markets in Indonesia.
Sarwagya Raj Pandey, Research & Advocacy Officer, Bikalpa, an Alternative (Nepal)
Project: Advancing Liberty through Alternative Journalism Project
Bikalpa is seeking funding for its, “Advancing Liberty through Alternative Journalism” project which is aimed at starting a self-sustaining news portal in Nepal. The portal will focus on promoting alternative discourse on the issues of individual and economic freedom, political economy, and public policy to counter traditional narratives.
"Bikalpa aims to create a platform for alternative discourses and challenge the traditional narratives,” said Pandey. “The project will kick start the Pioneer Liberal News portal in Nepal with an aim to counter populism, change perspective, and pressure the policy makers.”
Pandey is the research and advocacy officer with Bikalpa, an Alternative, a public policy think tank based in Biratnagar, Nepal. His current research and advocacy work focuses on trade, livelihood, economic, social, and cultural rights. He is also a member of the Post-Disaster Management committee formed by Biratnagar Metropolitan city and headed the research and finding team during the 2017 floods in Biratnagar. His other works includes movie making, magazine editing and youth activism.
Dhananath Fernando, Chief Operating Officer, Advocata Institute (Sri Lanka)
Project: Removing Protectionism Taxes in Construction Industry
Advocata Institute seeks funding to help 10 million poor Sri Lankans who suffer due to the high cost of construction in the country, owing to government protectionist policies. Through this project, Advocata plans to remove protectionist taxes on three products by raising awareness on the impact of protectionist policies on the construction industry.
"[My project will focus on] removing protectionism taxes in the construction industry ... [and] Helping 10 million Sri Lankans to materialise the dream of building a house," said Fernando.
Fernando is a young classical liberal activist in Sri Lanka. He is the founder of the “Freedom Fair” and “Liberal Road Show,” which he created after working as a volunteer with classical liberal organizations for more than a decade. He is currently the chief operating officer of Advocata, an economic policy think tank in Sri Lanka, of which he is a founding member