EditorNovember 6, 2017


A series of Tokyo Cement ‘DiviShakthi’ Training workshops, tailormade to empower its dealer network with SME management skills were successfully conducted in the Central, Uva and North-western regions touching over 200 traders.  Cement and hardware traders of Tokyo Cement’s dealer network in Badulla, Moneragala, Kandy and Kurunegala took part at the training while future sessions are planned in Dambulla.

The programs organized under the guidance of Field Sales Manager in charge of the Central, Uva and North-western regions Nishantha Ellepola, were managed by Area Sales Manager for Kurunegala – Gamunu Suranimala, Area Sales Manager for Kandy – Prasanna Madawalagedara and Area Sales Manager for Badulla – Nilantha Vincent respectively.

The training programme covers SME specific pain points and is particularly meant for owners and managers of businesses engaged in dealerships and distribution trade.  The subjects include New Opportunity Creation, Customer Retention and Relationship Management, Non-price based Competition and Finance and Cashflow Management.  The participants were also given a comprehensive understanding of the new tax system and how it applies to SME businesses.

Mr. H.M.D. Welagedara, Proprietor of Welagedara Trading Company, Tokyo Cement Dealer in Gampola who participated in the program sharing his experience said, “This training is a very good guidance for us to achieve not just business success, but also personal fulfillment.  It demonstrated that we can create better value by maintaining long-term customer relationships that go beyond day to day business transactions.  It showed us the importance of maintaining good health and a good family life in order to achieve real success in life.  Through this training we also understood how complying with the new income tax regulations can help our trades to become recognized business establishments.”

Conducted based on a curricular developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Tokyo Cement initiated DiviShakthi two years ago from the North and East regions, with the intention to support economic and social development in former conflict-affected districts.  Having trained over 500 Dealers therein, the workshops later reached out to Tokyo Cement’s island-wide dealer network.  The program aims to equip them with necessary skills and knowledge to grow their businesses in to prosperous entrepreneurships.  Through these activities the company strengthens the relationship they have nurtured with the sales channel by preparing them to face new challenges in an increasingly competitive and evolving marketplace.

IFC Certified Master Trainer, Business Consultant and Visiting Lecturer, Mr. Sanath Vidanagamage, CEO of Institute of Growth Concepts who conducts the training programs said, “The training offers a fresh experience for hardware owners compared to conventional dealer meetings.  The participants show great enthusiasm because it is not about the company or its products, but about improving their business success and uplifting their personal lives to the next level.  The entire workshop is designed to provide a fresh perspective to achieve growth and motivate these entrepreneurs to plan for a better future.  They also get an opportunity to connect with other dealers and share their experience on diverse business issues.”  Mr. Vidanagamage and his team have so far conducted over 15 workshops for over 460 Tokyo Cement distributors and resellers from across the island as part of the DiviShakthi Training programme.

Mr. Dashantha Udawatte, Group Marketing Manager of Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC explaining the broad objectives behind this unique channel development initiative said, “Tokyo Cement believes in building strong relationships that are founded on mutual success.  We partnered the IFC for the DiviShakthi SME Business Management trainings with this in mind.  Most of our dealerships are run by experienced businessmen, with years of hands-on experience while some have been brought up through generations, providing job opportunities and economic mobility in their local communities.  DiviShakthi training is a platform for these businessmen and women to improve their business acumen and a boost to build on their entrepreneurial skills.”

Tokyo Cement has earned its reputation in Sri Lanka’s construction industry as the most trusted supplier of high quality cement and concrete used in infrastructure projects that have stood the test of time.  Delivering superior products for projects that mark Sri Lanka’s growth, from iconic structures gracing city skylines, to overhead bridges, railroads and suspended highway networks, the company has cemented its legacy as a partner in nation building and is committed to raise the bar on quality and fortify its market position as a trailblazer.

EditorOctober 24, 2017


During the month of October, Pooja Umashankar paid a series of surprise visits to Airtel retailers in Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy and across the East coast. Her presence on the ground created a massive hype in the Market, drawing large crowds interacting with her at the retail outlets visited.

“It’s truly an amazing experience for Pooja herself to visit us. It is a dream come true. We are very thankful to Airtel for giving us the opportunity to meet Pooja.  Thank you Airtel, Thank you Pooja!” – Kumudu Jayasuriya, Minuwangoda

EditorOctober 12, 2017


Wednesday, 11 October 2017 Colombo: The Hirdaramani Group facilitated TEDxColombo for the third year in a row as Main Partner. Known globally for being a platform that can spark change, its ethos mirrors that of Hirdaramani’s, which has forged innovation in its ethical and sustainable manufacturing. The theme for TEDxColombo this year was ‘Connecting Dots’, which set out to inculcate a deeper thinking about the place that Sri Lankans have to lead towards – or will be pushed in – in relation to determining (far-future) fields such as technology, love, health, life and living. Some transformations are apparent already, and connecting these dots to a holistic vision for the future is inevitable. The speaker line-up included renowned individuals who have innovated in their respective fields – ranging from entrepreneurship, media and journalism, technology, law, and storytelling. TEDxColombo has become a sought-after event in Colombo, witnessing growing participation with each passing year.

Commenting on the event, Hirdaramani Director Rakhil Hirdaramani said, “We are pleased to come onboard TEDx as Main Partner for the third time in a row and would like to congratulate the TEDxColombo team for putting on an excellent event yet again. As always, the speakers this year were exciting and thought provoking. We take pride in supporting this event because the philosophy of TEDx ties in closely with that of Hirdaramani, which is the pursuit of knowledge to spark conversation and innovation. As a company, we are dedicated to learning and ideas that will enable everyday people to shape a better world for themselves and the communities around them.”

Hirdaramani is an organization that believes in driving positive change, encouraging and empowering employees to think in a new way. Hirdaramani continues to lead the way in sustainable manufacturing in Sri Lanka with 12 LEED certified facilities across the island.

Licensee and Organizer TEDxColombo Safra Anver said, “It’s been a rollercoaster ride bringing this event to light – 3 years ago, Hirdaramani joined our family of partners at a crucial time when we were first expanding from a 100 people event to a now 1100 people event. TEDxColombo would not have been possible without their support and their commitment to ideas within the Sri Lankan community. We have also watched them include the spirit of ideas worth sharing into their organisation at every level of management and have watched them fuel this throughout their journey with us.

EditorOctober 9, 2017


The 8th installation ceremony to induct the Executive committee of Omega Line Toastmasters Club for 2017/2018 was held at the Goldie Sands Hotel, Negombo recently. The Chief Guest for this occasion was DTM, M. Y. Zainudeen, a past division Director and the Club mentor. The Guest of honour was Toastmaster, Padmajith Jinadasa. Toastmaster Upul Vithanage was inducted as the President of the Club.

Omega Line Toastmasters Club, a brain child of Mr. Felix Fernando, Director – Omega Line Group is also the Charter President of the Club. This Toastmasters Club which was chartered on the 2nd of August 2009 with 23 members has come a long way in toastmastering with many achievements to their credit during these eight years. It currently holds a membership of 59.

Members of Omega Line Toastmasters have represented the Club at Area, Division and the District on many occasions at contests which are outstanding performances. In 2010 TM Chethiya Subasinghe became the 1st runner up at the Division’s Humorous Speech contest. TM Jiveeka Madurasinghe was the 2nd runner up at Evaluations contest in 2012 in the Division. In 2013 TM Dilshan Hewawasam was the winner of the Division’s humorous speech contest. In 2014, he became the 1st runner up at the Division’s Humorous speech contest. In 2014 and 2015 TM Sudath Fernando was the winner at the Divisions international speech contest. In 2016 TM Clarisha Peirispulle became the 2nd runner up at the division’s international speech contest and TM Chamikara Perera became the 2nd runner up at the Table Topics Contest.

The Club has produced four Area Directors, DTM Chethiya Subasinghe, TM Saman Jayasinghe, TM Sudath Fernando and TM Kapila Mitraratne, who is the current Area Director of Division H 2. The immediate past Division Director too is from Omega Line TMC.

Omega Line Toastmasters achieved the Presidents Distinguished Club status in several years from the year of charter and it is a Club that has a variety of events throughout the year that keeps the members engaged and enjoying while learning, which is also fun filled.

This year’s installation was a memorable ceremony which ended with a sumptuous dinner and live music where the members danced and enjoyed till late in to the night.

EditorOctober 8, 2017


‘idea2fund’ – the year round venture competition powered by MTI Corporate Finance is on the verge of launching its 3rd wave this October. Since its inception in 2016, the mission of idea2fund has been to create a platform for prospective entrepreneurs to present their venture ideas, get linked with potential investors, be challenged and receive constructive feedback from pioneers in the respective fields. The first 2 rounds proved successful, having received over 300 applications from enthusiastic prospective entrepreneurs covering various spheres.

In its past two waves, idea2fund proved successful in scouting several great talents including the introduction of the mixed media lifestyle design brand, Bakamuna in 2016. According to MTI CEO, Hilmy Cader, “The role of conventional business models are being radically transformed by disruptive business models, and ‘startups’ will soon become the name of the game. We at MTI believe that this new breed of entrepreneurs will challenge the context of traditional business models, eventually leading to a fundamental change in the way wealth is created, accumulated and invested. idea2fund attempts to harness this talent and provide a platform to convert them into successful business ventures.”

idea2fund is open to any individual with a winning venture idea – individually, collectively as a team of choice (2-3 members max) or even as an organization. It mainly targets 3 groups: students and early career professionals with the passion to venture out, experienced professionals with a vision to invest their industry expertise more profitably and existing niche entrepreneurs looking to scale up their operations.

This year, idea2fund is ready to take on a new set of aspiring entrepreneurs on an exciting round of challenge filled competition including a concept presentation followed by a commercial presentation round, where shortlisted candidates will be having one-to-one meetings to pitch their business ideas directly to interested corporates and investors. The entry application to this year’s venture challenge is now open to be downloaded from the following link: www.idea2fund.lk

MTI Corporate Finance is the corporate finance arm of MTI Consulting, a boutique strategy consultancy with a network of associates across Asia, Africa and Middle East. MTI Corporate Finance provides a comprehensive range of services, including due diligence, feasibility studies, funding new businesses or capitalization of existing ones – from IPOs to private placement facilitation, M&A facilitation, and advisory on governance, compliances and risk management.

EditorOctober 7, 2017


The Country Music Foundation (CMF) on the successful conclusion in March 2017 of South Asia’s longest, running concert series – COUNTRY ROADS – has donated a combined total of Rs. 971,000 to a series of charities and schools, providing for the needs of children.

In a series of events held in March to raise funds during its annual period of ‘lending a helping hand’ to the children of Sri Lanka, three events were organized. They were a special fund-raising, elegant dinner titled “Music, fireside chats & dinner” at the Mount Lavinia hotel on March 17 and a musical afternoon for the children at the MJF Centre at Moratuwa on March 18 where Country Roads musicians were joined by the irrepressible Sunil Perera from the Gypsies and Ronnie Leach. On Sunday, March 19 was the ‘Country Roads’ concert, the flagship event of the foundation. This year’s performers were the legendary Keith Potger (of Seekers fame from Australia), Cosmic Rays (Sri Lanka), Astrid Brook (UK) and the Mavericks from Germany – this time as a duo (Dirk and Wolfgang). They were joined by Feizal and the Country Ensemble band.

This year donations were presented to Horizon Lanka, Mahavillachiya – Rs. 130,000 (cost of 5 Dialog Winpad computers to improve IT skills of village children); PREDO, a community service NGO in Hatton – Rs. 150,000 for a project supporting the children of migrant workers; ESCO Batticaloa – Rs. 150,000 (children’s project organized by this NGO working to support migrant workers and their families); Pimbura Primary School, Agalawatte –Rs. 136,000 (360 school bags for the 2017 Avuruddu celebrations) with support from Ceylon Biscuits and Nestle, and the Kiula Kiyawana Gunaya Free Classical and Folk Music Class, Hambantota – Rs. 205,000 for the purchase of an ESRAJ instrument and provision of scholarships for nine of the brightest students in this music class. They will each get Rs. 2000 per month for 12 months ending in May 2018.

Additionally Rs.200, 000 was presented to Give2Lanka for a Batticaloa water project operated by Berendina Sri Lanka with the National Water Supply and Drainage Board.

This project involves providing pipe water connections to low income families, according to CMF officials.

Another proposal under consideration is the provision of musical instruments to a public school, Gamini College in Mahavillachiya to form an oriental band. The CMF thanks all its sponsors and well-wishers in 2017 and throughout its enlightened decades-long journey since 1988 of lighting up the lives of children. Await the 30th anniversary edition of ‘Country Roads’ in 2018.

EditorOctober 6, 2017


Brandix Apparel Director Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Harsha Abeywickrema (second right) presents the sponsorship cheque to Dr (Ms) Champika Amarasinghe – Director General NIOSH in the presence of (from left) Mohan Perera, Assistant Director – Finance at NIOSH, Rohan Wijesooriya, Manager – Group Occupational Safety at Brandix and Susith Rajaguru, Cluster Manager – Health & Safety, Brandix Fast Fashion and Athleisure

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