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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. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Head of Marketing at The Body Shop India, Aradhika Mehta shares advice on skin care routines
Head of Marketing at The Body Shop India,
Aradhika Mehta shares advice on skin care routines
The Body Shop in Colombo partnered with HSBC to share expert skincare and makeup advice with customers at its flagship store. A selected group of HSBC Advance clients were invited to a special learning session at The Body Shop’s Bagatale Road premises, where a skincare expert and makeup artist shared tips, tricks and tools to achieve flawless skin and a seamless day to night look with makeup and skincare products.

Advance customers were delighted to have The Body Shop India’s Head of Marketing Aradhika Mehta and Sri Lankan beauty blogger Rush Razzak share The Body Shop’s philosophy and the exceptionally effective new product launches in skin care, make up and body care ranges. With a background in product expertise, Aradhika is highly conversant in skincare and the selection of the right product for your skin. “At The Body Shop our customers are at the heart of our business, in every aspect whether it’s a product or the experience at the store. We want to be close to our customers and that was the main reason for today’s session.  It was the best forum and great touch point for our customers and us and to know their thoughts. We had a great interaction. We know that the average Sri Lankan consumer likes The Body Shop in so many ways and this was a testimony to that.”    

Guests were invited to sample The Body Shop’s recently introduced range of expert facial masks as well as its flagship British Rose range of skincare products. The British Rose range was launched in celebration of The Body Shop’s 40th anniversary last year, and includes body scrubs, body butter, shower gels and creams. The expert masks offer intensive skincare with a range consisting of Himalayan Charcoal, Amazonian Acai, Chinese Ginseng and Ethiopian Honey in addition to a British Rose fresh plumping mask. All products are 100 percent vegetarian and ideal for rejuvenating and revitalizing skin.

Blogger and Instagrammer, Rush aka Dollhouse Colombo, has a keen following by many young Sri Lankan women as a trusted source for advice on makeup. Rush used The Body Shop’s Fresh Nude Cushion foundation, Down to Earth eye quad palette and three limited edition makeup looks that The Body Shop introduced to its Colombo outlets last month. She created a fresh, minimal day look and a smoky eyed evening look on two guests, sharing several handy tips for making the best out of their makeup along the way.

Attendees browsed the store, sampling various products with the added perk of a 25% saving on a range of skincare products and fragrances. They were also able to consult Aradhika and Rush on the products that might best suit their skin. Both consultants noted that The Body Shop products were tailored for versatility; for example foundation is easily customizable for changing skin tones. Rush noted that she thought of good makeup as an investment for her skin-“I always say, invest in good makeup,” she shared. “Yes, you’ll pay a premium, but the rewards are so gratifying, and so good for your skin.”

About The Body Shop:

The Body Shop is an iconic British retailer of ethical cosmetics and toiletries. It was founded by Anita Roddick in 1976 with the belief that businesses should ‘Enrich Not Exploit’. A philosophy of creating the best quality cosmetics and toiletries without exploiting the planet’s resources or people has driven the brand, which pursued sustainability and ethical business long before it became fashionable. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sarani, Sharon and Nish – Guests at the launch captured employing the campaign’s theme of projection photography
Sarani, Sharon and Nish – Guests at the launch captured
employing the campaign’s theme of projection photography
Leading intimate apparel label amanté invites every woman to tap into the wanderer within, as it brings its Spring/Summer 2017 collection to the shelves. ‘Wanderess’ was launched at Arq Style House on Friday, 10 March. Guests holding a quirky postcard invitation mingled with the amanté team at the launch as they immersed themselves in the Wanderess collection.

Drawing inspiration from a love of travel and discovery, especially among young women, the SS17 collection borrows from nature in colour, texture and print. Wanderess is trend-right, following hot on the heels of catwalk collections by Dior and D&G to create lingerie that plays with unusual laces, crochet patterns and linear layers. As a base, the collection uses matte and shine jacquard material and print elements based on dreamy and exotic florals.

The colour palette is inspired by landscapes across the continents. The glimpse of orange just before the sun sinks into the ocean, the soft blues of the early morning sky--and lends excitement to them with vivid colours such as Virtual Pink, Sunkist Coral and Red Dahlia.

amanté is the first Sri Lankan brand to design silhouettes for the South Asian woman with a distinctively runway edge. “Each of these products are inspired by the love of travel, which resonates strongly with the spirited woman we cater our products to,” shared Sasanka Bandara, General Manager-amanté Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. “Travel and lingerie might seem like an unusual combination, but in reality every woman will add lingerie to her wardrobe when she makes a trip. And who doesn’t want to be reminded of their holidays during more mundane days? With this in mind, the collection was designed to bring excellent support, comfort and style as always, but with a wanderlust inspired twist.”

To evoke its core theme, the Wanderess collection employs five styles: Lacy Twirl, a padded and wired bra with a layered linear pattern reminiscent of shifting desert sands; Floral Touch, a full cover moulded wireless bra with a smooth and continuous front; Chic Crochet, a demi cup with convenient front closure and a crochet lace racerback placement for tank tops and tees to beat the heat; Tropical Crochet, a plunge style with a lower centre-front for lower necklines and a tropical print to evoke island adventures; and Spring Breeze, a non-wired silhouette in dreamy monochrome floral with a pop of colour.

At the launch, guests enjoyed an immersive fashion experience. The campaign images employed projection photography which was replicated at the event, projecting scenic locations on to a backdrop for guest photographs. This was followed by a short runway event for the Wanderess Collection and amanté’s latest swimwear, debuting just ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

The collection will be available at the flagship amanté store at the Racecourse mall in Colombo 07 and Kandy City Centre, where experienced fit consultants can guide customers to make the choice that fits best. The brand is also available at leading modern trade retail outlets island-wide. It is also available on the amanté e-commerce site for global shipping and delivery.
Deputy Minister of Private Education, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saad Saud Alfahai
Deputy Minister of Private Education,
Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saad Saud Alfahai

Teaching, Learning and Life Beyond School explored at British Council’s 2nd PSGN Schools Now! 2017 conference

The importance of extra-curricular activity and developing students as future leaders and citizens was a key focus at the recently concluded Schools Now! Conference held in Sri Lanka. Organised by the British Council as part of a continuous effort from the organisation to spearhead thought leadership and innovation in education, the two day conference – centered on the theme: ‘Teaching, learning, and life beyond school’ - attracted vibrant participation from respected international leaders across multiple disciplines in the field of education, including 300 school teachers representing 16 countries of the British Council Partner Schools Global Network.  
‘The Partner Schools Global Network works closely with schools around the world to help ensure that students to get the most out of their education and reach their potential, not only in their school studies and examinations but also in their life beyond the classroom’ British Council, Sri Lanka, Country Director, Keith Davies said.
Speaking at the inauguration of the conference, Chief Guest and Deputy Minister of Private Education, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saad Saud Alfahaid encouraged attendees to make optimal use of the international platform created by the event by engaging in open dialogue with their counterparts from across the globe with a view towards creating collective solutions.
Ormiston Academies Trust, Chief Executive, Professor Toby Salt speaks on the importance of teaching, learning, leadership and time after school
Ormiston Academies Trust, Chief Executive, Professor Toby Salt
speaks on the importance of teaching, learning,
leadership and time after school
‘Today’s world is witnessing major societal changes that affect all aspects of life, at international, regional and local levels. Due to the acceleration of these changes and their lasting impacts, countries and governments are counting on quality education and capable institutions to develop human power, in an attempt to adapt to all economic and social conditions and deal with its repercussions.
‘This human power will assist governments and institutions to achieve their visions, and goals as well as overcome their crises and challenges.’
During the course of this year’s conference, participants were given unprecedented access to ideas and concepts developed by prominent international thought leaders like Ormiston Academies Trust, Chief Executive, Professor Toby Salt, who spoke with delegates about the importance of school leadership and ensuring high quality teaching and learning from the context of the English education system while elaborating on lessons learned following significant structural reforms undertaken during the last decade.
Numerous other prominent speakers also delivered presentations at the event, including Pearson Director of Research and Efficacy, Dr. Grace Grima, Cambridge International Examinations Senior Manager for Bahrain and Qatar, Raed Omar Brahedni, and Principal of the Rosary School-Marj Elhamam, one of Jordan’s most academically and socially successful schools, Dr. Muna Lilia Al Nemr.
Participants at Schools Now were encouraged to interact and network with their global counterparts, with a view to facilitating an open discussion around some of the most innovative teaching models currently being implemented. Teachers were also given an opportunity to offer feedback on all aspects of the conference and discuss some of the most significant lessons that they took away from this year’s conference.
‘Particularly from the context of Eastern cultures, we believe that we will need to reexamine the relationship between the family and the school in the context of giving our students a greater sense of autonomy and personal responsibility. This can sometimes cross into areas that our cultures might consider taboo however based on what we have heard over the course of the conference, I think it is clear that if we are able to bring all of our students’ senses alive through learning, this will make them into better learners and later into dynamic leaders. Our role isn’t only to teach them but to also make them feel protected and loved, and if we do this, then I’m confident that our students will be able to accomplish wonders,’ a participant at the event explained.
A key taking from the conference centered on the need for a shift in education, from teaching students to follow the rules, to preparing students to identify and solve problems in line with the trend towards innovation and entrepreneurship. Employers are increasingly on the look-out for an entirely new set of 21st century skills in their employees.

Employers value employees that are more thoughtful, collaborative and skilled at problem solving. Current methods of assessment are not deemed by employers as adequate to identify and develop those skills. The conference highlighted several challenges, but also explored unprecedented new opportunities to drive change. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The NEW Fresh Nude Cushion Foundation is enriched with  100% organic Community Trade aloe vera, and  English rose water and can bring down the temperature  of your skin by 1 degree.
The NEW Fresh Nude Cushion Foundation is enriched with
 100% organic Community Trade aloe vera, and
English rose water and can bring down the temperature
 of your skin by 1 degree.
The sweltering heat of a Sri Lankan summer is no match for the all new additions to The Body Shop range in Colombo. The skincare brand introduced the Fresh Nude Cushion foundation, the Down To Earth eye quad palette and three limited edition makeup looks to its outlets in Colombo this month. The new products use powerful agents to combat the daily skin struggle of living in Colombo’s humidity.

The Fresh Nude Cushion Foundation is an easy to apply, long-lasting formula that can be reapplied when the day warms up for a one-degree decrease in skin temperature. Bringing the best of liquid foundation to a convenient compact, this formula provides 24-hour moisture and can be used by both women and men. A cushion sponge with micro-mesh captures the right amount of foundation for spill-free, hygienic and smooth application. The formula uses Community Trade Aloe Vera and English rose water for a 100% vegan semi-matte texture the perfect blend for fresh-faced and guilt free skin.

Goa Magnolia Matte Lip Liquid dries to a velvety finish
Goa Magnolia Matte Lip Liquid dries to a velvety finish
For more vegan goodness, turn to the Down to Earth Eyeshadow Quads and Eye Palette. Inspired by the richest natural colors, enriched with the goodness of babassu and sesame oils and endowed with a versatility to match the most packed social calendar, this formula is 100% vegan with no petroleum and minerals, and ideal for sensitive eyes. The highly pigmented shades are extremely buildable and blendable to create the perfect, long-lasting look for a seamless day to night transition.

The limited edition makeup range is ideal for a night about town. Each carefully crafted look-Rock the Night, Go for Gold and A True Romance- includes a limited edition eyeshadow quad and nail polish, on-trend Matte Lip Liquid and Eye Colour Sticks. The Body Shop also introduced a range of long-lasting eye shadow palettes, Matte Lip Liquids, Eye Colour Sticks and Colour Crush Matte Lipsticks.

Drop by The Body Shop flagship store on Bagatale Road or the outlet at Odel on Alexandra Place to find the new additions, alongside other staple Body Shop favorites. 

About The Body Shop:

The Body Shop is an iconic British retailer of ethical cosmetics and toiletries. It was founded by Anita Roddick in 1976 with the belief that businesses should ‘enrich, not exploit’. A philosophy of creating the best quality cosmetics and toiletries without exploiting the planet’s resources or people has driven the brand, which pursued sustainability and ethical business long before it became fashionable.

Friday, March 3, 2017



An innovative new transportation service is working to save lives and encourage Sri Lankans to take the responsible route home. First launched on Christmas Eve, 2016, DrinkDrive is a unique platform that provides professional chauffeurs who drive clients safely home in the client’s own vehicle at a reasonable rate. The chauffeurs arrive in pairs and as one drives the client home, the other follows on motorbike.
The service was first conceptualized in response to rising incidents of accidents and fatalities caused by drunk driving. Over 2,800 fatalities were reported in 2015 alone in addition to a further 7,700 critical accidents. Seeking to provide a convenient and safe alternative, the new service enables users to ensure their safety and that of their friends and loved ones, without having to sacrifice their nights out, or pay for expensive alternative transportation.
DrinkDrive is rapidly gaining traction in the Sri Lankan market, having already attracted over 2,000 members since launch. With demand soaring, the company is now working to launch a Loyalty Card for return clients and for customers who register themselves via the DrinkDrive website.
Client safety and comfort are naturally paramount concerns for DrinkDrive, therefore the Company works to ensure that each of its drivers undergoes a rigorous selection process following systematic evaluations of their personality and attitudes. Drivers who are able to make it past the first round of selections are thereafter required to take part in several workshops designed to teach them about all aspects of their job-role, and all necessary safety protocols. Each driver is also provided with a smart-watch, Bluetooth headset, and water-proof mounted cameras.
Drivers are required to pass fluency tests in English and Sinhala in addition to attending a driving test where external invigilators and senior employees evaluate the skills of the applicants and ensure that they perform to the high standards of conduct established by DrinkDrive. Further, each booking is examined and evaluated by the Company in order to ensure optimal customer satisfaction and the Company welcomes feedback in order to further refine the ultimate user-experience.
Having already established a firm user-base, DrinkDrive is now working to power a concerted expansion drive through the cultivation of creative new relationships with corporates, private businesses and event organizers, in order to capture a larger share of business and potentially save more lives in future. The initiative has attracted the attention of investors as well as potential partners who wish to join DrinkDrive as it consolidates on its growth momentum.
Customers and employees are both provided with equal respect at DrinkDrive, and the Company actively seeks to promote a culture based on mutual respect and understanding. In this manner, the Company’s employees are also encouraged to be a part of the success of DrinkDrive and its vital mission to save lives. Drivers interested in signing up with the Company are encouraged to submit their registration details through the ‘Careers’ page of the DrinkDrive website.

DrinkDrive is a subsidiary of OMBC Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. Supported by partners in Qatar and Sweden, OMBC also maintains a presence in the domestic tourism industry through its subsidiary, SriLankaGate. Given the group’s tremendous success with DrinkDrive, OMBC is now working to leverage its experience with the Company in order to establish an affordable, safe, island-wide taxi solution capable of generating further synergies with other companies under the OMBC umbrella. For more information please visit:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jack C. Liu, Chief Strategy Officer, OKLink
Jack C. Liu, Chief Strategy Officer, OKLink
International Blockchain Remittance Platform OKLink to share how to revolutionize Sri Lanka’s remittance sector at BankTech Asia Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan economy is heavily reliant on foreign employment and over the years it has become one of Sri Lanka’s dominant sub-sectors of the economy. Sri Lankan migrant workers form the largest source of income in terms of foreign exchange which makes up to 9%-10% of the country’s GDP. While the remittance inflows of many other countries are projected to decline, the World Bank’s Migration and Development study in 2016 indicated that Sri Lanka’s remittance inflow is poised to grow another 1.6% in 2017
Despite its importance to the economy, the industry still largely relies on antiquated systems that is heavily reliant on informal channels, brick and mortar infrastructure along with the need for pre-funding. Based on the World Bank’s estimate, it is widely believed that 50% of remittances are done through informal channels which has exorbitant fees that can go as high as 10%-15% of the principle.

To the average migrant worker, paying 10%-15% on every dollar remitted back home can prove to be a less than ideal situation. Enter blockchain, heralded by many industry experts as one the most important innovations since the internet. Blockchain is poised to solve this issue, and provide banks the opportunity to offer remittance services to the migrant population with significantly reduced cost and improved efficiency.
“By using blockchain, we at OKLink can leverage the technology to provide not only the best solution for companies seeking to remit to Sri Lanka, but also to solve some of the age-old problems that have been in the industry, including the need for pre-funding as well as counterparty risks, while providing new options for payouts in the ever-changing global economy.” - Jack C. Liu, Chief Strategy Officer, OKLink With that in mind, the international conference organisers of BankTech Asia has invited Jack C. Liu, the Chief Strategy Officer of the international blockchain remittance network, to share with bankers in Sri Lanka how they can help the banks to revolutionize the remittance services offered by the banks.
Vincent Fong, General Manager, Knowledge Group
Vincent Fong, General Manager, Knowledge Group
“We’re happy to have Jack as one of the speakers for BankTech Asia in Sri Lanka as we believe that our event can be a very effective platform for the bankers to have conversations with players like OKLink on solving some of the industries pertinent problems.”– Vincent Fong, General Manager, Knowledge Group. 
“We’re happy to have Jack as one of the speakers for BankTech Asia in Sri Lanka as we believe that our event can be a very effective platform for the bankers to have conversations with players like OKLink on solving some of the industries pertinent problems.”– Vincent Fong, General Manager, Knowledge Group. BankTech Asia Sri Lanka is organised by Knowledge Group of Companies and will be held at Taj Samudra Hotel from the 21st to22nd March 2017. 

BankTech Asia
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.

OKLink is a blockchain money transfer network committed to making small-valued cross-border transfer instant, cheap and secure, while enhancing the global remittance user experience. The platform is built on the trust of the blockchain, using stable and native digital assets to settle among participants in an instant, secure, and transparent manner. OKLink is growing rapidly with services currently available in 20 countries across Asia, the Americas and Africa.


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