Private hospital run by retired Lankan school teacher wins best entrepreneur award

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (far right) hands over the Best Western Provincial Entrepreneur of 2017 to the Chairperson of Sethma Hospitals Mrs. Y.M. Sudumenike as Managing Director of Sethma Hospitals Dr DCS Jayasuriya (far left) a Hospital executive (second from left) and President of National Chamber of Commerce Sujeeve Samaraweera (second from right) loo on in Colombo on 17 October

A private hospital not aiming to be a commercial operation but to be a committed caregiver for the sick, and run by a retired Lankan school teacher has clinched the Best Western Provincial Entrepreneur of Sri Lanka on 17 October in Colombo.

“I congratulate today’s winner. NEDA under my Ministry is proudly partnering with the Chamber of Commerce in this series and I commend the Chamber” announced a pleased Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka Rishad Bathiudeen on 17 October. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the 2017 Western Provincial Entrepreneur Awards event jointly held by the Chamber of Commerce and National Enterprise Development Agency (NEDA). The second awards festival to be held in this annual series, it featured awards for Lankan MSME entrepreneurs in many categories including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality. The top award, the Best Western Provincial Entrepreneur of 2017 was won by Sethma Hospital Pvt Limited in Gampaha.  Minister Batiudeen stressed that this is a good example of entrepreneurial success to be followed by other would be entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka.  “These awards are aimed at encouraging our entrepreneurs who are part of economic reforms of the unity government of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. I also praise the Chamber of Commerce for its support to develop our SME sector. SMEs and MSMEs are a prominent sectors in our development vision and our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that Local entrepreneurs must now enter the global markets and we need to help them to enhance their productivity and competitiveness.”

The top award, the Best Western Provincial Entrepreneur of 2017 was won by Sethma Hospital Pvt Limited in Gampaha, a privately owned hospital under Sethma Group of Companies. Its board is chaired by Mrs. Y.M. Sudumenike, a retired teacher of Sri Lanka’s Education Department. Apart from Chairing the Board, she also actively monitors the Hospital’s accounts. At a personal investment of US $ 870,000, by her husband Dr DCS Jayasuriya (MBBS-Sri Lanka) who continues to be a humble doctor with the state sector, Sethma Hospital began operations in 2006 in Gampaha. Today it is a sprawling US $1.6 Mn, 35-bed medium scale private hospital approved by Sri Lanka Health Ministry with all preliminary care facilities, reporting the largest market share in Gampaha District. “We did not start looking for money but for the wellbeing of sick, which is the reason for our success. We are seriously committed to the welfare of our patients unlike many private healthcare providers that have become commercial operations. For example, the dengue test that costs from Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 in private hospitals in Colombo is done by us exactly at same technical levels at only Rs 900, which we did for only Rs 650 until very recently. We strongly believe in service rather than money. We also strongly believe in caring for staff well. Our female staff are given food and lodging and cared for at our own cost.” The MSME healthcare operation is now planning to expand; “We started this together, investing our hard earned savings way back in 2006. Now we are planning for our expansion at Rs 290 million (US $1.6 Mn) with new wards and more medical services” said a content Dr Jayasuriya.

Not surprisingly, Sethma Hospitals also clinched the 2017 award for Employing Most Number of Women by an MSME at the October 17 evening MSME felicitation event.

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