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Monday, April 24, 2017

Gestetner Pick 2 Win grand prize winner S. A. S Pushpakumara from Marapala Vidyalaya, Veyangoda receives an all-expenses paid overseas trip presented by Chandima Perera, Managing Director at Gestetner of Ceylon PLC
Gestetner Pick 2 Win grand prize winner S. A. S Pushpakumara
from Marapala Vidyalaya, Veyangoda receives an all-expenses paid
overseas trip presented by Chandima Perera, Managing Director at
Gestetner of Ceylon PLC
Customers who made purchases from Gestetner outlets across Sri Lanka last year were enrolled in a draw through which over 100 prizes were awarded. These included all-expenses paid tours overseas, full board stays at luxury hotels, mobile phones, free maintenance contracts, consumables and other prizes.

Total document solutions provider, Gestetner of Ceylon PLC, says that the competition was a fun way to express their appreciation to clients who have patronized the company’s RICOH products and services over its 70+ year lifetime. As one of Sri Lanka’s top three players in the industry, Gestetner has been servicing a wide and varied client portfolio since it was listed as a public quoted company in 1964. Since then, Sri Lanka’s top conglomerates have trusted Gestetner with their documents management solutions needs, with the company recording positive year on year growth consecutively over the last few years.

Gestetner received many entries for the final draw, and picked the grand winners at a ceremony attended by top management and Provincial Revenue Department officials. The Management of Gestetener PLC congratulated the winners, saying “The continued patronage of our clients has been a hallmark of the robust growth we have experienced over the last few years in particular. As times change, Gestetner stays one step ahead to ensure that our total document solutions are catering to every need in the market, be it for a small business or a large listed conglomerate.” Gestetner also plans to introduce a monthly draw.

Gestetner introduced a hologram sticker last year, advising customers to use this to test if they are purchasing genuine RICOH consumables, ink and masters. Customers can scratch the sticker and text the code to a given number in order to receive a verification of authenticity. “Using genuine toner and other complementary original products helps you get the best out of your equipment and the hologram sticker is a quick, easy and very efficient way for customers to verify their purchase.” Gestetner of Ceylon advises customers to contact any dealer from the wide Gestetner network around the island, adding that the company’s Vauxhall Street sales counter is open five and a half days of the week to service customer needs.

Gestetner of Ceylon PLC’s rapidly growing portfolio includes the world’s leading office automation brands such as RICOH and many other world renowned brands in addition to services provided by Nashua Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. (Gestetner Offset) and Gestetner Printing Services (Pvt) Ltd. (Gestetner Outsource), under parent company Gestetner of Ceylon PLC.
99X Technology ranked among APAC’s top 25 Agile Solutions Providers
99X Technology ranked among APAC’s top
25 Agile Solutions Providers

Listed on APAC CIOoutlook’s annual listing of top companies providing Agile Solutions for Enterprises

Reiterating its commitment to delivering technological excellence as a specialist in software product engineering, 99X Technology has been ranked among the 25 Most Promising Agile Solutions Providers in the Asia Pacific region in APAC CIOoutlook Magazine’s annual listing of top companies providing Agile solutions for enterprises.

The only Sri Lankan entity to be placed on this prestigious list, 99X Technology was highlighted thanks to its innovative efforts to enter the Agile development movement in its early stages, identifying its best practices and crafting them to suit the company’s own development processes. In its drive to excel in this aspect, 99X Technology created its own developmental model that revolves around the Agile methodology, called the Software Product Engineering Continuity Maturity Model (SPECM2), which ensures continuous progress in product engineering – a key aspect in being selected as a top Agile solutions provider for 2017.

This model enabled the company to embrace agility as a business driver in order to respond to changing business environment and helped establish Agile software development methods to address ever-changing customer requirements, technological complexity and uncertain business dynamics – a vital need at the time it was implemented, given the unpredictability caused by the global economic recession.

99X Technology has been a pioneer in adopting Agile methodologies in the Lankan IT sphere and in a move to share its expertise gained over years of fusing cutting-edge technology with best practices from Agile methodology, has organised many conferences, camps and meetups, reaching out to hundreds of IT professionals in Sri Lanka over the past couple of years. One such event is the Colombo Agile Conference, Sri Lanka’s biggest gathering of Agilists that brings together both local and global Agile practitioners in the ultimate knowledge sharing experience.

APAC CIOoutlooks’s list for 2017 includes enterprise software company Atlassian, business intelligence services company Cove Ventures, Singapore-based CA Technologies, Tinkerbox Studios, quality management services provider Pinnacle QM and more players in the global Agile arena.
Software development processes have been revolutionised globally by the Agile movement and the Agile methodology is one of the most used development concepts in the world today. Locally, this alternative to traditional project management has been adopted by numerous companies in Sri Lanka’s IT sector over the past several years.

Published from the hub of technology – Silicon Valley, USA – APAC CIOoutlook is a leading IT magazine designed to connect the enterprise IT community of APAC countries. It aims to provide a platform for CIOs, CTOs and other senior level IT buyers and decision makers along with CXOs of solution providers to share their experiences, wisdom and advice with enterprise IT community of APAC countries.

99X Technology is an award-winning software product engineering company that specialises in delivering high-end software product development services to independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide, with a primary focus within the European region. Headquartered in Sri Lanka, the company also has offices in Europe and has an outstanding track record in building and delivering over 150 high quality commercial products. It has been named one of Asia’s Best Workplaces for 2015 and has been ranked among the top 25 best companies to work for in Sri Lanka by Great Place To Work Institute for four consecutive years.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Maheesha Ratnayaka
Maheesha Ratnayaka
ONYX Hospitality Group appoints Maheesha Ratnayake as the Hotel Manager at OZO Colombo. Maheesha brings to OZO Colombo more than 16 years of hospitality experience in the USA, Caribbean and Middle East. One of his key objectives will be to continue to grow the hotel’s position within the local, regional and international markets.

Ratnayaka has worked for some of the world’s finest hotel and restaurant brands. He has held the positions of Director of Food and Beverages at Nobu Hospitality in Saudi Arabia, and Sandals Montego Bay Beach Resort & Spa and Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club in Jamaica. He was also the Group Food and Beverage Mmanager at Al Barari Dubai, where one of his key responsibilities was to take the lead in opening Dubai’s first carbon neutral and ethical product sourcing restaurant, ‘The Farm’. Other past employers include the Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, where he co-led the opening of food and beverage venues for a number of celebrity restaurateurs, including Garry Rhodes, Mark Fuller and Richard Sandoval.

"Maheesha brings a wealth of experience to his new role and is a true champion of the values and commitment to service excellence that define the ONYX Hospitality Group," said Simon Dell, Vice President & Area General Manager at ONYX Hospitality Group. "We are pleased to welcome him back to his home country of Sri Lanka, where his passion for hospitality is only outweighed by his desire to create the perfect guest experience."

Speaking of his new role and return, Maheesha said that he was excited about how the hospitality industry had progressed in Sri Lanka and felt that it was definitely a very positive time for the island. “I’m excited to join a young and vibrant team. I believe that OZO Colombo has the ideal location and is a best-kept secret for a serene retreat with assured personalised services for both the business and the adventure traveller.”

He added: “OZO’s concept is based on simplicity, comfort, accessibility and innovative technology. We are different from the traditional hotel. The focus of any OZO Hotel is to get the important things right, provide guests with a good night’s sleep, offer nutritious breakfasts/lunches/dinners, and great connectivity to the world. We have the added benefit of the charm of our location, with its amazing views of Colombo and the Indian Ocean. Since I have been back, I am amazed at the positive approach taken by my team on a daily basis at OZO Colombo. As a strong believer in working together and empowering my team, I intend on making OZO Colombo the destination of choice not only for the discerning traveller, but also for locals who want to enjoy the beauty of our city with its gourmet food and beverages.”

Maheesha has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration—Concentration in International Business from Towson University in the USA. His unwavering dedication and his strong people skills enable him to continuously make a positive impact on guests and employees alike.

OZO Colombo is managed by the ONYX Hospitality Group and owned by Sino Lanka Hotels Holdings. OZO Colombo was launched in June 2014. Ideally located on Marine Drive, OZO Colombo comprises 158 guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a trendy rooftop bar and lounge by the open-air swimming pool, a fully equipped gymnasium, and meeting venues and function rooms. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Alexander Woxen
Alexander Woxen

An event geared to take Lankan startups to the global marketplace

The country’s ultimate tech startup event is here to take the Lankan startup ecosystem by storm – from providing access to investors and global tech leaders, to sessions on the latest trends and tools to accelerate your idea to market, the Colombo Tech Startup Seminar 2017 will be a one-stop shop for everything and everyone related to tech startups.
Network with an unmatched line-up of global and local startup revolutionaries, and hear them speak on some of the hottest topics in the startup sphere. The Colombo Tech Startup Seminar 2017 has been crafted to provide thriving entrepreneurs with a platform that grants them market access and connectivity with investors, as well as with local and global shapers from the Startup Ecosystem.
Dag HonningsvÜg
Dag HonningsvÜg
The seminar will take place on 2nd May 2017 from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the BMICH and will be an eye-opener for those who own a startup, are working on or with a start-up, have an idea or prototype, want to know what investors look for in a startup, are looking to network with investors or simply just curious about the startup ecosystem.
The speakers include Agile guru and former Vice President of Yahoo, Pete Deemer who possesses over two decades of experience in building up winning products and teams in Silicon Valley and Asia; Co-Founder and CEO of the premier Norwegian startup incubator StartupLabs, Alexander Woxen who works with over 65 tech startups to help them gain access to support, global contacts and importantly, financing; Chairman of Driw AS and WindSim AS, and Former CEO of Making Waves, Dag Honningsvåg, a serial entrepreneur who has headed multimillion dollar European tech companies and currently chairs numerous boards of tech companies; and Former CEO of Etisalat, Dumindra Ratnayaka, a pioneer in the mobile telco space and an active figure in the local Angel Investor ecosystem.
Dumindra Ratnayaka
Dumindra Ratnayaka
Topics that will be tackled at the seminar will address some of the most pressing issues faced by Sri Lankan startups today. The speakers will discuss many aspects that help shape the trajectory of a startup, while sharing their hands-on experiences that will be invaluable to budding entrepreneurs in building better products and making improved decisions.
Some of the areas that will be covered include Lean Startup – the methodology embraced world over for developing businesses and products, utilizing the global startup ecosystem to go international, embarking on your startup journey, insights into what angel investors look for when deciding whether to finance products, and more. 
This one-of-a-kind event is powered by StartupX Foundry, an up-and-coming player in the local ecosystem that, as a startup incubator, focuses on connecting Sri Lankan startups with the global startup ecosystem. It is supported by a number of partners, including the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) as the National Partner, Startup Sri Lanka as the Industry Partner, ReadMe as the Media Partner and Ticketslk as the Ticketing Partner.

Pete Deemer
Pete Deemer
Tickets for the seminar are priced at Rs. 2,000 and can be purchased via Ticketslk, bank deposit or by visiting the StartupX Foundry office. For more information on ticket purchasing and on the event, please visit or simply search ‘Colombo Tech Startup Seminar 2017’ on Facebook to find the event page. 
Yaasir Nizam - Group Head of Strategy Rainco (Pvt) Ltd, Faris Fausz - Group CEO and Muhammed Mansoor - Director of Blink
Yaasir Nizam - Group Head of Strategy Rainco (Pvt) Ltd, Faris Fausz -
Group CEO and Muhammed Mansoor - Director of Blink

Blink International recently announced the launch of a dedicated multi-brand watch Experience and Service Centre. Situated at the Iceland Building in Colombo 03, the Blink experience center showcases a variety of versatile and stylish timepieces from internationally renowned brands such as Casio, Puma, Esprit, Elle, Cross, and Sevenfriday, offering visitors to the centre a first-hand feel for Blink’s selection of high quality watches designed to offer affordable luxury to fit any budget.
G-Shock - Premium MTG watch showcased at the BLINK Experience and Service Centre for the very first time in Sri Lanka
G-Shock - Premium MTG watch showcased at the
 BLINK Experience and Service Centre for the
very first time in Sri Lanka
“Sri Lanka is developing at an increasingly rapid pace, and with this development, we see young people become more discerning in their taste, but still demanding performance and durability out of their watches. Today, Blink maintains a portfolio of some of the most sought after watch brands in Sri Lanka. We are very optimistic that we will be able to carry our momentum into 2017, and substantially expand our distribution island-wide,” Muhammed Mansoor, Director of Blink said.
Included in Blink’s ample collection of watches are all time favourites such as the stylishly durable G-Shock Range, from the entry-level G-Shock Classic, to the brand’s Premium MTG watch, which is being showcased in Sri Lanka for the very first time.
The line-up also includes choice selections such as the G-Shock Gravity Master, G-Shock Gulf Master, and the tougher yet more beautiful, G-Shock MTG-S1000, the latter of which is comprised of a blend of metal and resin along a brass motif, incorporating special features such as Multiband-6, which enables the watch to automatically adjust time setting based on reception of six time calibration signals around the globe. Ideal for any jet setting user, the watch also features a dual dial world time two-city simultaneous display and auto hand position correction and is built with Triple G Resist capable of weathering shock, vibration and centrifugal force.
Established in 2015, Blink International is the sole authorized distributor and service agent for the brands displayed at its Customer Experience Centre. This includes state-of-the-art repair equipment maintained to international standards and operated by highly skilled technicians with over three decades of experience behind them. Through its brand partners across Sri Lanka that include Cool Planet, Hameedias, Fashion Bug, Abba, and Maxxtime (Majestic City), Blink serves as the only distributor of watches to carry an international warranty on all of its products.
Aaron Gunawardena and Jaden Gunawardena showcasing their G-Shock watches presented by Blink
Aaron Gunawardena and Jaden Gunawardena
showcasing their G-Shock watches presented by Blink
Speaking at the opening, Group CEO Faris Fausz outlined how Blink International was an important strategic move for the group in order to bring affordable, original timepieces to Sri Lanka backed by the highest warranty and service standards. He said “As a group we have been touching customers’ lives and fulfilling their needs with functional products with a sense of design, Blink International will be a further testament in that quest.”
In addition to carrying the brands’ complete offering, the experience and service center will operate as the service outlet for all repairs and services for all watches included within the Blink International portfolio of brands. The service centre is the only facility in Sri Lanka with access to genuine spare parts sourced directly from Casio Computers, Japan, thereby providing customers with peace of mind, knowing that their investments in their favourite timepieces are being repaired and serviced by highly skilled and professionals with decades of experience, utilizing the best equipment possible.
Notably all watches imported by Blink come with an official warranty and are guaranteed to be provided at the best possible rates. The authenticity of Casio watches purchased can be ascertained via the Casio website.     
“One of our primary goals in establishing our presence in Sri Lanka and developing a prestigious network of partners was so that we would be able to offer local customers unmatched value. Meanwhile, our exclusive relationship with all of Blink’s brand partners means that we are able to give the end-user the best possible deal.
“We have seen in many cases that our customers lose out by going with an unauthorized dealer. For example, some of our customers have reported to us that the Gmix- Bluetooth Gshock is being offered without a warranty at prices above Rs. 30,000 at unauthorized sales channels, while we are able to offer the same watch with an international Casio warranty for just Rs. 25,400. In that regard, I encourage all customers looking to purchase these watches to first check for the Blink International logo, as we are the only distributors able to offer them the best value for money while ensuring beyond any doubt the authenticity of the product.”
At the opening Blink honored sensational racing brothers Aaron and Jaden Gunawardena who have just returned from Malaysia where Aaron was placed fourth in the Asian Championship race that took place. Blink presented them both G Shock watches to suit their daring and rugged past time, in keeping with their sense of style.

Blink International is a subsidiary of Avarna Ventures Private Limited, the holding company closely affiliated with Rainco (Pvt) Ltd. Established in 1977, Rainco is a large-scale manufacturer of fashion accessories, family care, baby care, rainwear, shoe and foot care. Headquartered in Colombo, the company operates across a 7,000 strong dealer network, exporting to countries like the Maldives, Sweden and France. 

Friday, March 31, 2017, offering customization of swimwear up to 50,000 variations, offering
customization of swimwear up to 50,000 variations
Rum Punch, the chic Sri Lankan resort wear brand inspired by vibrant tropical hues and island lifestyle unveiled a game-changing online swimwear portal as a solution for design customization.  Branded ‘Fuze’ by Rum Punch, the virtual mix of this own-label range offers a multi-platform experience that resonates with the discerning fun-spirited young women of today.
In keeping with the brand’s bold, bright and beautiful shades of summer-ready vibes, ‘Fuze’ offers a whopping 50,000 variations across 15 key designs of lush swimwear, making the hub of the thriving fashion-infused community. ‘Fuze’ by Rum Punch showcases a variety of silhouettes in classic one piece suits, swim shorts and pants, rash guards, as well as sporty and sexy two piece suits ranging in size from XS to XL. The trendy customer is also given the chance to ‘mix and match’ the swim tops and bottoms, not just in style but in varying sizes for each, venerating the beauty in diversity of the female form.
Co-owners & Co-founders of Rum Punch,
Binara Seneviratne & Rukshika Fernando Seneviratne
The virtual swimwear hub also facilitates the online purchaser to match the panels of the swimsuit with prints and colours to suit her tastes in style. The state of the art secure payment gateway will then enable her to purchase the customized final combination which would be  dispatched to any destination around the globe within two weeks whilst islandwide delivery within Sri Lanka is available free of charge.
Through a uniquely Sri Lankan collaboration between MAS Linea Aqua, the world class swimwear manufacturer and Affno, the leading-edge IT and online solutions developer, Rum Punch takes center stage as the front end  design brand with a universal range of colours and styles that can be customized to suit customer preferences.
‘Fuze’ is an intuitive and user-friendly portal for creating custom designed swimwear in three easy steps - select style, mix colours and fuze (order) your design as demonstrated on Rum Punch’s YouTube channel
The ‘Fuze’ by Rum Punch launch was held on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 at the Jaguar Land Rover showroom in Colombo 07 together with event partners Anantaya Resorts & Spas, Arq Style House, Affno, Jaguar, Land Rover, MAS – Linea Aqua, Wine World and Olu. A fashion show at the launch showcased a range of custom designed looks from the groundbreaking Fuze collection.
Speaking at the launch event, Rum Punch Co-Founder and Chief Designer Rukshika Fernando Seneviratne said “We are honoured to be at the forefront of revolutionizing swim and beach wear both locally and internationally. Fuze by Rum Punch is one of the few online portals in the world and the first in this region which offers such a diverse range of custom-designed swimwear. Customer preferences are becoming more sophisticated and personalization is a key requirement. With this collection, the chances of someone at the beach wearing the same swimsuit as you are literally 1 in 50,000!” 
“Tourism-rich and fashion-accelerated Sri Lanka foresees an enthusiastic demand for personalised swimwear designed to inspire successful and fun-loving women and ‘Fuze’ caters to this need,” she added.

The unique online solution can also be utilised as a b2b solution by retailers or resorts who wish to offer their customers a limited edition collection of swimwear or by water sports teams looking for a unique look for their team kits.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dhammika Jayasekara (Marketing Executive, PACY),
M. N. Sheriff (Factory Manager, PACY), Tharaka Kumara
(Head of Hohenstein Liaison Office Sri Lanka), Fayyaz Hamid
 (General Manager, PACY) and Duminda Edirisinghe
(Production Manager, PACY)
Sri Lanka’s leading producer of Polyester and Nylon Yarn, Pan Asia Coloured Yarns (PACY) was awarded the highest grade of OekoTex Standard 100 certification following a series of stringent tests carried out at the Hohenstein Textile Testing Institute, Germany. At the same time the company was also awarded the only Independent Yarn Dyeing Plant to be certified by ISO 9001:2008/ SLS ISO 9001:2008 in Sri Lanka.

The company’s latest certification confirms the quality of PACY’s products as being in full conformity with the strictest safety OekoTex standards, making its fabrics suitable for use for all types of clothing, including undergarments and for babies and toddlers. The standard is based on an increasingly stringent list of criteria relative to the intensity and frequency of skin contact with the product.
Test criteria and limit values in many cases go far beyond applicable national and international standards. Extensive product checks and regular company audits also ensure that the industry has a globally sustainable awareness of the responsible use of chemicals and dyes.
Dhammika Jayasekara (Marketing Executive,
PACY), M. N. Sheriff (Factory Manager, PACY)
 and Gamini Dharmawardana (Director General/CEO,
Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI))
“Pan Asian Coloured Yarns is currently the sole independent Yarn Dyeing House in Sri Lanka to have made the tremendous achievement of securing both OekoTex Standard 100 and ISO 9001:2008 Certifications. These quality certifications stand as a testament to our company’s dedication to achieving production and product excellence.
“Our latest certification has helped to further confirm PACY’s position as a technically advanced and internationally competitive supplier to all leading manufacturers and exporters of fabric, garments, gloves and label manufacturers in Sri Lanka,” PACY Factory Manager, M.N. Sheriff said. 
PACY manufactures a wide range of Polyester and Nylon Yarn through the company’s factories in Sapugaskanda and Ekala. The factories feature state-of-the-art laboratory facilities running advanced Dye to Match (DTM) capabilities and has, to-date, an archive of over 30,000 DTM colours for Yarn. The company utilizes advanced colour viewing technology using Verivide and Macbeth colour systems to ensure a globally acceptable standard of colours and shades.
 “Moving forward, we are confident that Pan Asian Coloured Yarn’s unique ability to flexibly adjust to the varying requirements of our customers without having to demand minimum order quantities will add immense value to our clients, many of whom are themselves adopting Just In Time (JIT) practices. We are ready to supply 1kg to 10 Tonnes or more if required. This negates the need for customers to hold on to large amounts of stock internally and leads to significant cost savings,” PACY General Manager, Fayyaz Hamid stated. 
Established in 1989, Pan Asia Coloured Yarns is a clear market leader in its segment, producing, processing and supplying yarn in excess of 40 tonnes per month. The Company has regularly been recognized for its achievements in product excellence, including most recently at the National Chamber of Exporters Awards under the category of ‘Service Providers to Exporters’. In addition to yarn texturizing and dyeing, PACY also offers valued added services such as Yarn (Polyester and Nylon) twisting, rewinding, doubling, heat setting and cone splitting, making the company a complete turnkey provider for yarn services in Sri Lanka.

With Sri Lanka on the cusp of GSP Plus restoration, the timing of these certifications could not be better for Pan Asia Coloured Yarns to strengthen their position in the supply and dyeing of Polyester and Nylon Yarn to manufacturers in Sri Lanka.
opening of new WTC office
Sanjeev Nair (Head of Property & Facilities Management,
JLL Sri Lanka), Sunil Subramanian (Head of Transactions, JLL Sri Lanka),
Steven Mayes (Managing Director, JLL Sri Lanka),
Santhosh Kumar (CEO, Operations, India & JLL Sri Lanka),
and Gagan Singh (CEO, JLL Sri Lanka) at the opening of
JLL Sri Lanka’s office at World Trade Centre.
Global real estate consulting powerhouse, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) announced that the company would be substantially expanding their presence in the Sri Lankan market, commencing with the opening of its new dedicated office at the World Trade Centre, in a bid to cater to rapidly growing demand for specialized real estate services on the island.
Entering the Sri Lankan market at the start of the construction boom in 2011, JLL has quickly emerged as one of the island’s leading resources for information and data on trends and developments in the domestic real estate sector together with property management services, real estate transactions and strategic consultancy.
Having since gathered an impressive portfolio of clientele in the Sri Lankan market, including major local brands in the apparel and IT industries, together with several respected multinationals, JLL expects to grow its team to in excess of 120-strong before the end of 2017.
Elaborating on the potential for growth in Sri Lanka, JLL Sri Lanka’s recently appointed Managing Director, Steven Mayes noted that increasing sophistication in the requirements of the domestic market had resulted in increased demand for more comprehensive, real estate advice across a broad spectrum of services and asset classes.
“The Sri Lankan economy is among the most vibrant in the South Asian region and we see tremendous potential for development. This potential is best reflected in the broad-based growth being recorded in the real estate sector. 
“For our part, we will continue to work to introduce international expertise and best practices to the local real estate market, and through these efforts, we believe that JLL will be able to play a vital role in developing a more systematic approach to real estate, which will serve as an important precursor towards attracting greater foreign direct investment into the country over the medium-long term.”
Since being established in the Sri Lankan market, JLL has been actively engaged in thought leadership, most recently publishing comprehensive reports analyzing  developments in the country’s booming hospitality sector and tracking notable trends across its real estate sector.  
The Company has also recorded substantial growth in its Project Development Services (PDS) division, in its Integrated Facilitates Management portfolio, operating multiple real estate locations for corporate clients, and Markets Division which handles real estate leasing and sales transactions. 

JLL is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients in more than 80 countries worldwide. The Fortune 500 Company operates from 280 corporate offices with a global workforce of 70,000 providing management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4 billion square feet. In 2015, the company completed USD 138 billion in sales, acquisitions and financial transactions.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Coffee Bean Ice Bended Drinks
Coffee Bean Ice Bended Drinks
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has introduced five interesting new additions to its Original Ice Blended drinks range, which now includes sugar free options. These delicious, refreshingly icy drinks are a staple favourite worldwide and the new introductions are certain to enrich The Coffee Bean experience, with exciting flavours and toppings to choose from.

The iconic Ice Blended range was concocted in summer 1987, long before the advent of the frappucino, when an employee brought a blender to Coffee Bean’s Westwood store in the US and mixed together ice, coffee extract and chocolate powder. All it took was a sip for the classic Ice Blended to become an instant hit. Coffee Bean patrons in 30 countries have added it to their staple warm weather diet since.

In Sri Lanka too, the Original Ice Blended range is a favourite among customers.  The 11 flavours are diverse, delicious and refreshingly chilled. ‘Mocha’ is a mix of coffee extract, the chain’s Special Dutch chocolate powder and milk, blended with ice and topped with whipped cream. ‘Vanilla’ infuses French Deluxe vanilla powder to smoky, delicious coffee extract with milk and ice, and comes topped with whipped cream. For taste buds seeking something toffee sweet, ‘Caramel’ is made with coffee extract, French Deluxe vanilla powder, caramel sauce, milk and ice topped with whipped cream and more caramel sauce.

‘White Chocolate’ builds on a base of White Chocolate Dream powder and coffee extract, adding milk and ice and topping with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. ‘Dark Chocolate’ develops on special dark chocolate powder and coffee extract, adding milk and ice and topping it with whipped cream. ‘Hazelnut’ brings a nutty twist to the Ice Blended range, with coffee extract, hazelnut powder and milk blended with ice and topped with whipped cream. ‘Black Forest’ is the sinfully dark cousin to the other drinks in the range, with a concoction of coffee extract, Special Dutch chocolate powder, milk, chocolate covered espresso beans, maraschino cherries and ice topped with whipped cream.

Non-coffee drinkers can choose from several options in the enhanced range. ‘Pure Chocolate’ is non-fat milk blended with Special Dutch chocolate powder and ice topped with ice cream while ‘Pure Vanilla’ is non-fat milk blended with French Deluxe vanilla powder and ice topped with whipped cream. ‘Matcha Green Tea’ blends non-fat milk with matcha powder and ice topped with whipped cream. French Deluxe vanilla powder meets delicious Chai Extract for the ‘Chai Ice Blended drink’, an icy drink topped with whipped cream. All drinks come in latte and no-sugar versions.

“Our guests will enjoy being able to choose a different drink from their favourite Ice Blended range each day,” shared Roman Scott – Chairman of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a subsidiary of the Calamander Group. “The Original Ice Blended range has always been a bestseller at our coffee shops, especially during this time of the year. We’re based in several locations in Colombo so do wander in, order your Ice Blended and settle down with a friend or work.”

About Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is an American coffee chain founded in 1963 headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The chain operates over 1000 self-owned and franchised stores in the US and 29 other countries. In Sri Lanka, The Coffee Bean has locations on Maitland Crescent, Liberty Plaza, Orion City, Galle Road (Landmark Building), Negombo and the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd celebrated its 35th anniversary
Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd celebrated its 35th anniversary
Leading logistical services provider Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd celebrated its 35th anniversary on 22 March. The company marked the milestone with a reaffirmed commitment to its core mission and values, with a strengthened focus on Asia’s flourishing fast fashion market.

Since 1982, Expolanka Freight (EFL) has set itself on par with international contemporaries by focusing on consistently delivering flexible and customized solutions to complex and time-constrained logistical needs. EFL specializes in fashion logistics services and has serviced the country’s booming apparel industry alongside many of the world’s top clothing brands. The company offers solutions for freight management, logistics and distribution and has been at the forefront of investing in infrastructure and technology to meet the growing demands.  

EFL thrives when it comes to establishing its presence in regions with weak infrastructure, operating in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Africa to deliver speed to market solutions for buyers in the US and Europe. Last year, EFL lobbied and successfully handled the first cross border shipment under BBIN from Bangladesh to India and went live on the GT Nexus platform for enhanced visibility and collaborative opportunities in the supply chain.

In Sri Lanka, EFL operates the country’s first and only LEED Gold awarded warehouse and was the first logistics company in Asia to be awarded a Carbon Neutral Certification in 2012. The company also opened a solar power plant in Wellampitiya to deliver on a sustained commitment to renewable energy and was awarded a National Business Excellence Award in November 2016 for its exceptional performance in the Logistics and Transport sector.

Founder & President Hanif Yusoof said that the anniversary was an opportunity to reassess the company’s global presence as a freight and logistics solutions provider, especially in the face of a global realignment towards Asia as the hub of business activity. “This was a good time to take stock of our performance so far, to really evaluate what it means to be a logistics service provider in a very competitive business environment,” he said. “We have focused our business and core strengths on fast fashion, and really minimising lead times to ensure that deliveries are made from warehouse to door in no time. We strongly believe that this is the future of logistics.”

EFL’s expertise in fashion logistics will drive the company’s core business to cater to the thriving fast fashion markets in Asia. Major fashion brands are entering high-value retail markets in China, Hong Kong and India-countries in which EFL already has a presence. The global fashion industry’s biggest names are EFL clients faithful to the company’s on time deliveries and direct to store forwarding capabilities enriched by the expertise of resident fashion retail specialists and a host of value addition facilities. Now, the focus is on expanding the company’s market share in China, South Asia and the US, notes Mr Yusoof.
Last year EFL recorded a year on year growth of 15% in revenue at Rs 13.7 billion in the second quarter. The gross profit margin also grew to 18.7% from 17.5%.

The company has made significant strides in transforming from a freight forwarder to a supply chain service provider offering end to end logistics solutions. In Sri Lanka, EFL now operates from over 500,000 square feet in warehouse space and manages over 1500 vehicles for inland distribution.

About EFL

EFL is a member of Expolanka PLC based in Sri Lanka and now a part of the larger SG Holdings Group, a leading logistics group in Japan. The company has thrived on overcoming the challenges of operating in limited logistic infrastructure markets, taking its operations to 18 countries, 58 offices and 2000 staff around the world. Expansions in Africa, Middle East and the US have broadened the company’s reach to make EFL a truly global name.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Leading international conference BankTech Asia organised by Knowledge Group launched its inaugural event at Taj Samudra, officiated by Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe, Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka today. On the first day of this two-days event, a wide range of topics were discussed extensively including; Financial Inclusion, Robotic Process Automation, Big Data and Mobile Wallets.

In his opening speech Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe stated that disruption is the new reality for banks. Dr Nandalal commented that “the new reality for the banking landscape is disruption; the financial services sector needs to disrupt itself before someone else does it for you”. He then added that many of the discussed issues in the conference was very much in line with the plans laid out in the Monetary and Financial Sector Policies of 2017 and beyond.

According to Knowledge Group, while Sri Lanka is considered a South Asian leader in Financial Inclusion with 82.7% of the population with formal banking accounts, the usage of cashless and digital innovations remains relatively low.
“We strongly believe that in order for economies to be efficient, it is imperative that these digital technologies are used universally. As part of our experience, we have facilitated discussions in Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia and we hope that through BankTech Asia Sri Lanka, we will be able to help the banking industry navigate this brave new world,” said Selva Nagappan, Managing Director of Knowledge Group.

Policy expert Dr. Ganga Tilakaratna, Head Poverty and Social Welfare echoed the views of Mr Nagappan, she shared that although the number of people with access to banking accounts are high, many of the accounts held remain dormant and has irregular savings.

Ajith Salgado, Head of IT, Sampath Bank laid out in his presentation the future of banking where he stresses on the importance for banks to embrace next generation trends and technologies like Fintech, Blockchain, Digital Wallets, Data Science and Robotics. He then added that the “existence of future bank would be predominantly decided by to what extent the bank is closer to the customer’s lifestyle, not to the customer.”

Robotic Process Automation or also known as RPA was among the interesting innovations that were shared during the conference. RPA is an emerging form of process automation, which utilizes software robots to mimic user functions while integrating with application endpoints to execute business processes. Over 70 processes were transformed through RPA as stated by Chandika Mendis, SVP and Global Head of Engineering, Virtusa Polaris and Chamath Munasinghe, Head of Banking Operations, Nations Trust Bank during the conference.

Present at the event, Gunasiri Perera, Senior Director of Delivery and Head of RPA Flex at Virtusa Polaris shared, “Implementing RPA across core business processes and shared service operations at the enterprise level, enable exponential business transformation by eliminating mundane, rule based structured tasks involving a high volume of human labor, in organizations expecting intrinsic demands on productivity and cost efficiencies. Further, RPA technology spurs business innovation through AI and NLP (Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing). In today’s dynamic business environment, RPA is becoming a strategic asset enabling speedy delivery of business functions at a fraction of the cost. It also facilitates extreme agility, supporting peak transaction processing and 24X7 operational challenges while enabling employee job enrichment and increased customer delight.”

The session was then followed by a presentation by Vivek Bhanot, Head of Business Intelligence, VP Bank from Vietnam which is among the most innovative banks in Vietnam and arguably the bank with the most successful case study on Data Science and Big Data. He shared that over 70% banking executives worldwide say customer centricity is important to them though only 37% of the customers believe that banks understand their needs and preferences. “Success of companies will depend heavily on the way they manage their data. Effective utilization of data is fast becoming centerpiece of organizational business model and strategy,” Vivek added.

The conference was then wrapped up by Jasmine Ng, Head PMO, Group Digital Maybank, who shared the case study of Malaysia’s first mobile wallet, Maybank Pay which received an award under the category “Best Innovation Award 2017” from the Central Bank of Malaysia and their partnership with Samsung Pay.

BankTech Asia is a two days conference and the event will be continued on the 22nd March 2017.

About BankTech Asia

BankTech Asia is one the longest running fintech and banking technology event in Asia with 9 years of track record in keeping bankers and fintech professionals abreast with the latest trends and threats. BankTech Asia has been hosted in several Asian countries like Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Amy E. Carter, Senior Marketing Manager from IELTS USA
Amy E. Carter, Senior Marketing Manager from IELTS USA
IELTS, the English test for study, migration or work is recognised in over 140 countries worldwide including the USA. Amy E. Carter, Senior Marketing Manager from IELTS USA was in Sri Lanka recently speaking at the Fulbright Commission in Colombo, to students hoping to travel to the US for study.

IELTS USA was established in 1999, and has since been widely accepted and used by over 3000 US institutions as an accurate measure of English language skills at all levels. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, and measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work in a country where English is used as the primary language of communication.

There are two tests available; Academic, for those applying for higher education and professional registration, and General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. Both test four language skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.

In the US, IELTS has increased in popularity with education institutions that need to use English proficiency tests to measure language capability when they recruit students. These may be two or four year higher education institutions, boarding and independent secondary schools, law programmes or professional accrediting bodies. The same IELTS test is conducted around the world for any other English speaking country at a point in time.

Ms Carter noted that students in particular would need to carefully research institutions they are applying to in the States to find out whether the school requires an IELTS score from students whose first language is not English. “If English is not their primary language, most schools require international applicants to take an IELTS test to demonstrate their capabilities. In the US, IELTS is generally required at associate and undergraduate levels, and for post-graduate programmes, including law and business, depending on the institution’s requirements.” She also recommended that they be retaken after two years, as the scores remain on the system for a two year period only. “We find that the language needs to be used regularly for the speaker to remain at the same proficiency level. So the score should only be accepted and used within two years, and must be retaken if the student is applying to a university after this period.”

For students who find US education expensive, Ms Carter recommends the 2+2 programme, whereby students attend two years at a community college and complete their final two years at a college or university that has an articulation agreement with the community college. 

IELTS’ partner in Sri Lanka, The British Council, offers an IELTS scholarship that runs annually.  One student intending to study in the USA is selected each year. In addition, students may explore other scholarship schemes offered by individual universities. To qualify, the student must provide proof of acceptance to a university in an English speaking country, take the IELTS within a certain time frame and complete other application requirements. In 2016, a student used this award to attend the prestigious Duke University in the US.

Visit for more information on taking the IELTS test in Sri Lanka. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Keells Super receives the first batch of the safely ripened Omaragolla Mangoes
Keells Super receives the first batch of the safely ripened
Omaragolla Mangoes

Keells Super partners with the Institute of Post Harvest Technology to improve supply and value chain of mangoes in Sri Lanka

The Institute of Post Harvest Technology (IPHT) of the Ministry of Agriculture recently launched a program aimed at improving the supply and value chain activities of commercially grown mangoes in Sri Lanka. An event hosted by IPHT saw into fruition efforts by the Institute of Post Harvest Technology to introduce a safer method of ripening mangoes whereby standardized ripening chambers, ripening periods, and use of ripening agents were identified and implemented.
Following successful tests, mangoes ripened using this method were proven to display superior quality and taste. In order to ensure quality is maintained, ripening chambers, plastic crates for transportation and branded cardboard boxes for packing were distributed among farmers at the ceremony held in Omaragolla, Kurunegala.
An instrumental partner in the process, Keells Super has sourced close to 4,000Kg of “Omaragolla Mangoes” to date in order to provide its customers uncompromised quality. Keells Super plans to work closely with the Institute of Post Harvest Technology to ensure this technology is disseminated to all its sourcing locations to ensure the mangoes that reach its stores are of the best quality.

The partnership is an initiative by Keells Super to source and provide its customers with the best quality produce in delivering its promise of “Standard of Freshness”. Through such partnerships, Keells Super expects to be able to offer customers the best quality produce at a reasonable price. 
99X Technology Technical Lead Sabry Moulana, 99X Technology Senior Technical Lead Sudath Thenuwara, Shippers’ Academy of Colombo CEO Rohan Masakorala, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead and Quiz Team Captain Shirantha De Alwis, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead Rangitha Kuruppu and 99X Technology CEO Apprentice Raveen Ubeysekera
99X Technology Technical Lead Sabry Moulana,
99X Technology Senior Technical Lead Sudath Thenuwara,
Shippers’ Academy of Colombo CEO Rohan Masakorala,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy,
99X Technology Associate Technical Lead and Quiz Team
Captain Shirantha De Alwis, 99X Technology Associate Technical
Lead Rangitha Kuruppu and 99X Technology CEO
Apprentice Raveen Ubeysekera

Wins in Imports/Exports Category, emerges in third place overall

Battling it out against some of the best corporate masterminds, the 99X Technology Quiz Team emerged category winners in the Imports/Exports segment at the 4th Governor’s Challenge Cup Quiz for Global Commerce Excellence, while placing in third overall, losing by a mere one point to Seylan Bank and Dialog Axiata who came in first and second respectively.
Jointly hosted by the Shippers’ Academy of Colombo and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the quiz is conducted by Sri Lankan Chapter of the International Quizzing Association and tests participants’ knowledge in a number of areas, with emphasis on global commerce (business, trade, shipping, aviation, logistics, finance, related history and media). The event, a highlight on the Shippers’ Academy of Colombo’s annual calendar, attracted over 30 teams from various mercantile sectors.
The team from 99X Technology successfully defended the title that they had won from the previous competition held in 2014 and narrowly missed the overall title. This year, the company was represented by Associate Technical Lead Shirantha De Alwis, who also captained the team, Associate Technical Lead Rangitha Kuruppu, Technical Lead Sabry Moulana, Senior Technical Lead Sudath Thenuwara and CEO Apprentice Raveen Ubeysekera.
The 99X Technology Quiz Team is one that was initiated by a group of keen employees a couple of years back and since its inception, has made its mark on the mercantile quiz scene, and the team continues to take part in a number of events annually. In 2016, this included the YPF Quiz Master 2016 where they placed 6th overall, the Glitz Biz Quiz 2016 at which they emerged IT/Software category winners and were 5th overall and the CMI Quiz Challenge 2016 where they once again became IT/BPO category winners and came in 5th place overall.

99X Technology is an award-winning software product engineering company that specialises in delivering high-end software product development services to independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide, with a primary focus within the European region. Headquartered in Sri Lanka, the company also has offices in Oslo, Norway and has an outstanding track record in building and delivering over 150 high quality commercial products. It has been named one of Asia’s Best Workplaces for 2015 and has been ranked among the top 25 best companies to work for in Sri Lanka by Great Place To Work Institute for four consecutive years. 


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