Education & HR

EditorFebruary 23, 2018







Pradeep, Executive Director, Aavishkaar presents the Aaavishkaar Social Impact Award to Jehan Wijesinghe, CEO & Co-Founder IgniterSpace and Hasith Yaggahawita, Founder IgniterSpace

When software engineer Hasith Yaggahavita founded IgniterSpace, together with two colleagues, he was simply making up for the lack of a good creative education- or more specifically, ‘makerspace’- programmes to enrol his own kids in. So, in March 2016 IgniterSpace began its journey in Hasith’s home. A short two years later Hasith and his team are quietly celebrating a rapid expansion and a couple of unexpected, yet well-deserved wins at the e-Swabhimani awards 2017 and Venture Engine 2017.

IgniterSpace is a ‘makerspace’ for kids that guides them to unleash their creativity through technology. Although not a phrase used in common parlance, a makerspace is simply a place where students can gather to create, invent and tinker using tools, material and some guidance. With the firm belief that anything is possible, IgniterSpace inspires students to be creative and innovative. Children are exposed to different aspects of technology such as mechanical, electrical, electronic computer programming and robotics. With this foundation, they are then encouraged to further experiment to gain deeper insights.


Dumith Fernando, Chairman Asia Securities (Pvt) Ltd., Sanchayan Chakraborty, Partner, Aavishkaar and Jeevan Gnanam, CEO Orion City, award Hasith Yaggahawita, Founder IgniterSpace and Jehan Wijesinghe, CEO & Co-Founder IgniterSpace the Venture Engine 1st runner up position.

The company quickly grew from being a small operation at Hasith’s home to a very popular educational institute coveted by parents who wanted their kids to have the IgniterSpace experience. Mano Sekaram, Hasith’s long-time mentor and eminent IT industry heavyweight, joined in to help IgniterSpace grow. Mano recognized that the company was doing something unusual and creative, and helped the team move into a second makerspace in Narahenpita, and then to other cities such as Moratuwa, Gampaha, Negombo and Kandy.

Today the IgniterSpace team consists of 15 full time professionals and 45 part-time instructors led by CEO Jehan Wijesinghe and COO Buddika Wijesekera. Their educational model is a tried, tested and loved by kids. Students begin with prototyping known machines to develop basic knowledge as well as fine motor skills and then move onto production grade explorative creations. Through these exercises, kids gain design thinking and entrepreneurship skills alongside the ability to create production grade prototypes of their own concepts.

This is where the steps for innovation and entrepreneurship are laid, says CEO Jehan Wijesinghe. “We are committed to guiding the younger generation to become innovators and creators of technology, but we also understand that this is not a vision that is accomplished over a short span of time. We’re ready to walk the talk with our partners over decades to come.”

Jehan Wijesinghe, CEO & Co-Founder IgniterSpace, receives the e-Swabhimani award for Learning & Education

The team is also celebrating placing winners in the education category at the 2017 national e-Swabhimani awards presented by the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). IgniterSpace also received the Aaavishkaar Social Impact Award for the highest social impact and was the 1st runner up at Venture Engine 2017. CEO Jehan also represented Sri-Lanka at the Sankalp Global Sustainability & Social Impact Summit held in Mumbai India in December 2017. For Hasith, this is further confirmation that he was onto something when he first began IgniterSpace from his living room. “It’s rewarding to know that what you’re doing is making a real impact. We’re actually making a difference here, by teaching kids skills that they’re not picking up at school, but essential for the future.” he says.

The classes are conducted at five levels: first 3 levels are for age based entry (ages 5-7 years, 8-10 years, 11-15 years) and prerequisite for level 4, which is focused on problem solving. Once level 4 is completed, students can enter the IgniterSpace Start-up School where they learn to become real-world innovators and entrepreneurs. The courses are usually conducted in English, although native languages are accommodated on request.

EditorFebruary 21, 2018


DATS Technical Competency Development General Manager Jobst Ferber (second from left) receiving the certificate from German Chamber of Commerce Vocational Education and Training (VET) Head Judith Evers. German Chamber of Commerce Vocational Education and Training Consultant Holger Klitschke and DATS Assistant Training Manager – Vimukthi Randeny are also in the picture.

EditorFebruary 21, 2018


The Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) recently held its trail blazing annual conference in Hyderabad, India. The conferencesaw an in-depth sharing of knowledge on market dynamics, unique networking opportunities, an in-depth discussion on emerging industry issues and a way-forward harnessing digital tools.

The DentsuAegis Network also took this opportunity to welcome Sri Lanka’s advertising giant Grant Advertising, now renamed DentsuGrant into their network.

“Last year saw the union of Grant, Sri Lanka’s first advertising agency, and global industry giant Dentsu,” said Neela Marikkar, Chairperson DentsuGrant. “This union has given us the opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from a strong global network. This conference marked the first of many more opportunities for our team to meet, interact with and learn from industry leaders in the region, which in turn strengthens our creativity, passion and commitment to our Clients.”

The conference discussed the impact of data mining and analytics in the communications fields as well as the Network’s commitment to embrace digital transformation to increase efficiencies internally and innovate integrated services offered to Clients.

A twenty-member team from DentsuGrant actively participated in the conference and were able to share experiences, learn about innovations and connect with colleagues from the region.

Speaking of the experience, Manushi Senanayake, Associate Media Director, DentsuGrant said, “We were awed by the sheer scale in which the Dentsu Aegis Network operates in other markets and are excited about the immense opportunities we can bring to Sri Lanka in order torevolutionize the advertising and communications industry. I believe this experience has fired us to chase after our goal to become the leading communications agency with an authoritative digital voice.”

Meanwhile, Johan Dias, Brand Director, DentsuGrant sharing his experience said, “The Network is doing some groundbreaking work and I strongly feel that Sri Lanka can leapfrog into a new era of visual and experiential communications that engage audiences across all media platforms available to us.

EditorFebruary 21, 2018


The merit-based scholarship awarding ceremony by the Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) for Engineering and Technology students will be held on February 25 at the BMICH in Colombo. The ENTECH scholarships are awarded to motivate and encourage Youth Excellence by offering students the opportunity of getting a world-class education at Sri Lanka’s only research-based residential Engineering university campus. The Chief Guest at the ceremony is Prof. K.K.Y.W Perera, Chancellor University of Moratuwa.

The ENTECH scholarships are offered to students who have excelled in their A/L examinations. The SLTC received several hundred applications from students who have shown an interest in following Engineering and Technology and a selected number of scholarships will be awarded to those who have met the criteria; 100 percent fee waiver for students with 3As and 30 percent fee waiver for each A, 20 percent off for each B, and 10 percent off for each C.  These students will then be enrolled at SLTC’s sprawling campus located at Padukka and can avail themselves with facilities such as fully equipped research laboratories, libraries, on-site student guidance and sports and dormitory facilities.

“It is the first time that we have received so many applications,” said Eng. Ranjith Rubasinghe, President/CEO of SLTC. “Awarding these scholarships will enable so many deserving students to achieve their dreams and aspirations of becoming qualified, responsible students who will be the future of our nation building.”

Focused on being Sri Lanka’s best research-based Engineering University, the SLTC offers BSc (Hons) Engineering degree programmes in Mechatronics and Civil Engineering. The School of Technology includes programmes in Environmental Technology and Agri Technology, while the School of Arts and Sciences offers Quantity Surveying and Bio Systems.

For more information, contact our hotline number – 0112100500 or visit our website

EditorFebruary 21, 2018


In conversation with Sunil Sharma, Managing Director – Sales (India & SAARC) of Sophos Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Q: Sophos is one of the key leaders in the cyber security space. Can you briefly describe what the company is about?

A: Sophos Technologies was established in 1985 in the UK. For the last 32 years, the company has been built on pure technical solidity. We started to acquire companies since the early 2000s in order to complete the product portfolio. Globally Sophos is one of the oldest in the security space. We also see continued YOY growth, which solidifies our business.

At present, Sophos has primary research and development centers in 5 locations globally, and India is one of them. With 22% – 25% of our workforce based out of India, we have great focus on India and the SAARC region as part of our long term vision and plan.

The business model of Sophos constitutes of 16 branches in India, Regional Heads for the rest of the countries, and a model based purely on distributors in smaller markets such as Nepal and Bhutan. Sophos is handled by Avian Technologies in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a relationship counting almost a decade.

Q: How important is the partner eco system for Sophos?

A: Sophos worldwide does 100% business through channels only. One of our mission statements is a Channel-first commitment. Therefore the only eco system that mattes to us is the channel eco system.

Q: When Sophos was looking at the Sri Lankan market, what made you choose Avian Technologies as a partner?

A: For us loyalty with partners is paramount. At Sophos we believe that a partnership is a give and take relationship. This is what has prompted us to work with Avian, as they have been in the industry for a considerable time, and have repeatedly proven their capability in building our business.

Q: With the increasing cyber threats at present, what would Sophos perceive as the greatest challenge in cyber security?

A: I would not prefer to name one definite threat as ‘the greatest challenge’. For me, the only thing companies such as Sophos need to do is think and work faster than the cyber criminals.

In considering cyber threats, there are three different kinds;

  1. Global cyber warfare
  2. State sponsored hacking
  3. Attacks to the corporate business; Ransomware, Malware, Advance Persistence Threats (APTs)

In view of these, Sophos is very much prepared. We advocate a system which is called ‘synchronized security’; it’s a very coordinated defense mechanism, which looks into both the end point as well as the network security. Cyber threat can enter at any point. A network security firewall alone will not make one safe. At one point cyber security concentrated only on IPS or Network security firewall email gateway or web security gateway, but we have evolved beyond that. A complete security system should cover all potential threat points, and each point should be linked with one another. In this way, even the minutest breach will indicate that something has been compromised and the complete defense mechanism kicks off. We have proactive systems put in place by which the affected system is being quarantined, treated and put back as a clean system. It is with this simple philosophy that Sophos works worldwide.

Sophos also has Cloud based solutions. This is a cost effective system where our clients have access to Sophos Central, a management console on the cloud, which gives access to a dashboard to CIO s and IT Managers.

Our MSP – Managed Security Provider – caters to SME customers who are cost conscious and work with limited resources. This flexible option has been launched in India and we are looking at expanding the concept in the rest of the region. The MSP is integrated with Sophos Central and is compatible with local network software.

Network security is a 24×7 process. We process about 400,000 malware daily at our Sophos threat lab. We upgrade our products at an on-going basis. This involves a huge back-end operation; research and development in addition to maintenance to ensure that our customers are protected.

I regularly come across the question, “Does this mean the customer does not get attacked?” Customers are bound to be attacked. Will it increase? Yes. The solution to it is a vendor who takes care of you by deploying the right solution and a coordinated defense mechanism.

The other main aspect which Sophos is involved in is Education. Phishing attacks are very common, but in spite of knowing an email could be a phishing email, people still click it. Our product called Phish Threat, which has been selling like hot cakes in India, is a product for the internal system to educate users about Phishing. The product can also simulate attacks.

As part of social responsibility, Sophos has also initiated Sophos Home, which is provided free of cost. It’s a commercial grade phenomenal product, an anti-virus which has the latest capabilities, which can be downloaded free to your device.

Q: What is your opinion on the cyber security landscape in Sri Lanka and the region?

A: My personal opinion is that Sri Lanka has great potential. It is on par with India, with only the size and volume making the difference. People are equally internet savvy and the threats we face are the same. Along with Avian Technologies, Sophos continues to achieve milestones every year and yet it is a matter of ‘miles to go before we sleep’.

South Asia is a developing economy resulting in differences in terms of use of technology and purchasing habits in comparison to the West.

Worldwide, I see huge potential in cyber security. The cyber security market is 39 billion USD worldwide. By 2020 with the expected growth it will grow to 48 billion USD. Therefore as a company we have a lot of work to be done, whether in terms of creating awareness with our customers and resellers, or in giving a complete end-to-end solution to our customers so that they can be protected and at the same time reducing the complexity in solutions and providing simplicity. This is a job for the entire security industry.

Q: What does the Sri Lankan market mean to Sophos?

A: We consider Sri Lanka as a very important market and that is why we invested here 8 years back in the form of a distributor. We foresaw that Sri Lanka was going to develop and has huge potential and scope. We have invested to the length of having our own resource in addition to the distributor, so that our customer has direct access when they face issues.

Along with Avian Technologies we are able to provide pre-sales support for resellers as well as post –sales support proactively. Sophos has separate training programmes for partners on both pre and post sales. There is online and on-site training as well, which happen every quarter. Sophos is a product which has a lot of involvement and that is what makes it very strong.

EditorFebruary 20, 2018


The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) is constantly exploring new options and breaking boundaries to continue its quest to take the Sri Lankan Marketing sphere to the next level, not just locally, but internationally as well. With nearly 50 years of experience in being the renowned National Body for Marketing, which has lead the nation towards economic prosperity by fostering the development of the nation, advising and assisting in formation, implementation and appraisal of national policies on any matter connected with marketing.

As one of the Board of Management members of the AMF (Asia Marketing Federation), SLIM recently attended a prestigious conference known as “the Game of Marketing” in Manila organised by the Philippine Marketing Association. Over 300 representatives from all across Asia participated in the event, which featured the best Asian speakers and facilitators.

The Asia Marketing Federation (AMF) is a collaboration platform for all the Marketing associations in Asia. Originally founded in 1991 as the Asia-Pacific Marketing Federation (APMF), it evolved into AMF in 2007. The mission of AMF is to effectively promote the interest of Marketing in Asia and strengthen the Asian Marketing fraternity. Today, they boast a membership of Marketing associations and institutes from several countries in the region such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and many more.

The Certified Professional Marketer, CPM (Asia), is the highest recognition for Marketers who have attained a competent level of academic and practical understanding of Marketing in the Asian region. Conferred by the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF), the certification designation demonstrates the professional competency, achievement of high standards of experience and knowledge of any Marketer in Asia. SLIM is the only institute in Sri Lanka to obtain the CPM qualification as a member of the AMF.

SLIM was represented Mr Karthik Elangovan, the President of SLIM, along with Vice Presidents, Mr Pradeep Edward, Mr Suranjith Swaris and Mr Sanath Senanayake, the CEO/Executive Director of SLIM. A number of representatives from the CPM fraternity of Sri Lanka also participated in the event.

The Keynote and Breakout Speakers at the event were:


  • David Hearn – Head of Strategy of Dentsu X AsiaPacific
  • Hermawan Kartajaya – Marketing Guru, Co-Founder of the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF), President of the Indonesia Council for Small Business (ICSB), and President of ACSB
  • Merlee Jayme – Chairman/Chief Creative Officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu, introduced the Three Dragons of Creativity
  • Meng Liu – Head of Asia and Oceania Networks, United Nations Global Compact, discussed Making Global Goals Local Business
  • Donald Patrick Lim – Over-all Chairman of the 48th PMA National Marketing Conference, concluded the Conference as the Closing Keynote speaker
  • Roger Wang – President of the Marketing Institute of Singapore
  • Greg Banzon – General Manager of Century Canning Corporation
  • Patrick Cua – Managing Director of Nielsen, Philippines
  • Jay Bautista – Managing Director of Kantar Media, Philippines
  • Joe Magsaysay – CEO, Potato Corner

“Being a Certified Professional Marketer in Asia (CPM Asia) is an honoured recognition of one’s achievement as a marketing professional in Asia.  However, one cannot rest on this prestigious title because we are in for an unprecedented level of disruption where everyone will need to keep pace with a rapidly changing business environment. Asia is the Centre of global growth and it becomes imperative for Certified Professional Marketers to keep on learning, attending and participating in Conferences. The ‘Game of Marketing’ was organized to achieve such an objective” Said Ms Gwen Albarracin, President of the Asian Marketing federation

“It was a privilege to be present at an event of this calibre, as it is of the utmost importance to the overall business fraternity, and especially the Certified Professional Marketer (CPM) fraternity of Sri Lanka. As a Board of Management member of the Asian Marketing Federation, SLIM actively contributes to the activities and decisions of the AMF to uplift the Asian Marketing fraternity. SLIM always contributes Sri Lankan marketers to open out new business opportunities in the Asian market. Further attending this “Game of Marketing” event was an excellent opportunity to network and form valuable bonds with the Asian Marketing fraternity, which will benefit the Sri Lankan economy through local business expansion, export development, development of local international brands and foreign business investment to the country,” said Mr Karthik Elangovan, the President SLIM.

“In today’s fast-paced and changing world, information can be obtained at your fingertips. Yet, many people still find that seeking information, finding knowledge and learning new things are more effective by attending symposia and conferences conducted by experts. It is by attending breakthrough events such as these, that you learn and discover how to take control of your markets, thus enabling you easier reach of your Marketing goals,” said Mr Sanath Senanayake, the CEO/Executive Director of SLIM.

EditorFebruary 16, 2018


Throughout the centuries, a plethora of cultural and social taboos have been associated with menstruating girls and women, as well as menstrual health. In many parts of the world, women are still not allowed to leave the confines of their homes while menstruating.

While menstrual hygiene and menstruation related concerns are relevant to more than 4.2 million women in Sri Lanka, the culture surrounding the topic, which remains closed, tends to sideline the issue. Studies indicate that only around 30% of women in Sri Lanka use sanitary napkins to manage their monthly cycle. A large segment of the female population still resort to unconventional ways with women often resorting to horrific means such as repeatedly using the same unsterilized cloth during menstruation and even using gunny bags and plastic instead of sanitary napkins. Due to these unhygienic methods, women are prey to a host of illnesses and fatalities which inhibits and deprives them of opportunities in schools, workplaces and in running their own businesses.

Although, there is a well-developed sanitary napkin industry with major players, these sanitary napkins are often unaffordable & unaware to the millions of Sri Lankan women living in low-income and under-privileged communities. This is primarily due to the cost of the sanitary napkins resulting from the use of expensive machinery and profit margins.

SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) under the leadership of Rifa Musthapha inaugurated a business model whereby a cost-effective sanitary napkin manufacturing machine will be introduced to women entrepreneur clusters or Self Help Groups (SHG’s), through which women can produce and market bio-degradable, low cost sanitary napkins locally.

First introduced to the Women’s Welfare Society, Jinthupitiya, Colombo 13, will be conducted at the Gangaramaya Vocational Training Centre in Colombo under the guidance of SCWEC. The pilot roll-out will include key urban and rural areas in Sri Lanka, after which the project will be replicated in select townships among the SAARC Countries.

The machine and technical know-how was obtained from Dr Arunachalam Murugananantham, the innovator and social entrepreneur who kickstarted a menstrual hygiene movement in South India, the module of which is being replicated worldwide with machines being purchased as far as Massachusetts in the US. The film ‘Padman’ is based on his story.

“The business model propagated by SCWEC upholds the belief ‘by the women, for the women, and to the women’ said Chairperson SCWEC, Rifa Musthapha. “It is a sustainable, revenue generating enterprise that gives stakeholders the opportunity to be actively involved and engaged in manufacturing and distributing the product. By making a nominal investment in the machine and employing around 4 women per machine, Self Help Groups (SHG’s) can empower women in marginalized communities through income generation and helping them gain more control over their lives. By going directly from the producer to the consumer, the microcredit delivered to women is used in an optimum manner.

Vice Chairperson of SCWEC and current Chairperson of the Women’s Chamber of Industry & Commerce, Chathuri Ranasinghe said, “In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Indicators related to women, it is crucial to ensure accessibility and affordability of female health care products such as sanitary napkins to all women, especially those living below the poverty line. Through this project, we hope to restore the power of decision making of women’s health issues back in the hands of women.”

Speaking further on the initiative, Musthapha added “A woman plays such a pivotal role in her family. She is a caregiver, a nurturer and a provider. She is a mother, wife, daughter as well as income generator. Her menstruation, which is a very natural biological process, should not hold her back or get in the way of her endeavors. However, if not managed carefully and hygienically, a woman’s monthly cycle can lead to complications that would otherwise been controlled”.

EditorFebruary 15, 2018


Winner of the grand finale to fly to Brisbane to take part in the Blue Shift Case Competition

To encourage Advanced Level students gain a better understanding on the importance of developing a business plan and to also help harness the entrepreneurial skills among future business leaders, the Business Plan Competition organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) will kick off this month.

The competition, held for a third time will bring together over 50 school teams from across the country who will compete for the grand prize of flying to Brisbane, Australia to take part in the Blue Shift Case Competition organised by the QUT Business School of the Queensland University of Technology scheduled to be held in May 2018.

The competition is open to students who are sitting for the GCE Advanced Level examination in 2018 or 2019 from the commerce stream, in English medium. Schools from Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Kurunegala, Kandy and Jaffna districts will take part in the competition. Each participating team will comprise of five students, who will present a unique business plan to the judges.

The regional rounds will kick off from 23rd February 2018, and winners of each region will compete at the grand finale (national level) which will be held on 28th March 2018 in Colombo.

The competition has been organised to also help students understand the importance of preparing a business plan which is an important segment in the A/L syllabus in Sri Lanka. The competition will help students apply into practice the knowledge gained at the classroom level and also be a platform to showcase their presentation and entrepreneurial skills.

The strategic partner of this year’s competition is QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, while the competition is organised in association with the Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC).

This year too like in previous years, the competition will engage a prominent panel of university lecturers who will set the necessary guidelines for the competition in line with the A/L syllabus. At the regional level competitions, the panel of judges will comprise of university lecturers and industry experts, while at the grand finale, the panel of judges will comprise of university lecturers, representative from the Queensland University of Technology, industry experts and high profile Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

About us

Lanka Business News is amongst the leading online Business News portals in Sri Lanka, unique for its focus on contemporary business news relevant across multiple industries operating in the country. We present not only the news, but a perspective based on observations and possible implications of a prevailing news item. LBN also provides an insight to the impact of a global economic or industrial development, thus helping stakeholders make informed and calculated decisions.

Contact Us

229, Cotta Road, Borella, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

+94 (0)11 448 7676