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Monday, May 30, 2016


Quickee headquarters in Colombo 2
Quickee headquarters in Colombo 2
Sri Lanka’s pioneering hyperlocal delivery network, Quickee, is set for unprecedented growth and capacity expansion following the close of its Series A funding round in late 2015 which has accelerated the popular start-up into high gear.
Backed by new investments, Quickee was quick to boost its branding efforts; with a re-designed logo, a revamped website – complete with a fully-integrated back-end system, and a sophisticated new mobile application expected to go live to market in June 2016. The company currently manages almost 4,000 deliveries a month within the Colombo suburbs a staggering number considering Quickee does little or no marketing.
Quickee takes on a new look
Quickee takes on a new look
The first hyperlocal delivery company of its kind in Sri Lanka, Quickee was established in March 2013 by Ashan Whittall and Mariam Moosa. The young entrepreneurs set about to solve a simple problem – Colombo had no viable delivery options for people at night. Whether it was a meal or simple items from the supermarket, the concept of express delivery (order placed and delivered under an hour) was new to Colombo. Since its humble beginnings, operating out of Mariam’s parents’ home, Quickee has grown organically over the years. Today, they field between 125 - 150 orders per day with a marketing spend of less than Rs. 10,000 per month. Though the past few years have seen a number of competitors attempt to enter the space; Quickee stands the test of time. While the industry has relatively low barriers to entry, most underestimate the challenges of managing a hyper local delivery business.
Dimitri Sheriff, Non Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Dimitri Sheriff, Non Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Given the significant acceleration of demand for its services, Quickee was able to conclude a series A round of funding in December 2015 upon which the company moved into dedicated offices, tripled its staff and rider count and doubled its restaurant partnerships. Supported by capital injections and guidance from its latest backers, Dimitri Sheriff, Nadinka Sheriff and Abbas Sethwala, Quickee is now working to cement its place at the forefront of a convenience-led retail revolution in Sri Lanka.
Having consolidated its reputation for express and reliable delivery in the Business-to-Customer space, Quickee’s success has been reinforced by its recent success in the Business-to-Business place. Quickee’s new management team has forged strong and lasting relationships with a wide network of partner establishments spanning a diverse selection of restaurants, e-commerce sites, supermarkets and FMCGs.

Ashan Whittall, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Ashan Whittall, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Quickee’s portfolio of services was most recently enhanced with the delivery of routers, phones and SIM cards for a leading telecommunication service provider, express delivery of premium pet food brands such as Pedigree and Whiskers, a marketing and distribution collaboration with Redbull and many more. Additionally, emerging local retail giant, Laugfs has also signed Quickee as its official delivery partner for its e-commerce offerings that will be launched in the near future. At the forefront is a collaboration to provide customers with on-demand express grocery delivery. Next, Laugfs and Quickee will be joining hands to offer express delivery of a household essential. Meanwhile, trials for on demand flower delivery have already begun and express laundry collection and delivery is expected to roll out in June.
When asked on what was next for Quickee, the new board of directors emphasised the expansion of their capacity as well as their reach. With demand currently outpacing supply, Quickee is on a recruitment drive. An incentivised and motivated call centre and riders is the heart of the business.
Nadinka Sheriff, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Nadinka Sheriff, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Requests to expand Quickee’s reach have been met by the board with caution. Quickee’s plan to be an island wide service is prudent, with a priority on upholding service quality. The Board has an eye for the future, recently making its first steps to trial and assess the feasibility of using airborne drones for intercity deliveries.

Currently open 18 hours daily (from 9am-3am) 365 days of the year, Quickee is set to become a household name moving forward. For more information visit: www.quickee.lk.








Mariam Moosa, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Mariam Moosa, Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Abbas Sethwala, Non Executive Director, Quickee.lk
Abbas Sethwala, Non Executive Director, Quickee.lk












Alvin Gomesz, General Manager, Maxus Sri Lanka
Alvin Gomesz, General Manager, Maxus Sri Lanka

By Alvin Gomesz, General Manager, Maxus Sri Lanka

It has never been more imperative to address equality in the workplace. The case for equality in the workplace is backed by moral and social arguments and increasingly by business ones.
After extensive research in 25 countries, the Deloitte Global Centre for Corporate Governance noted a direct correlation between diversity and financial performance in a recent report. It reported that “Companies where women make up a third or more of board members significantly outperformed their rivals, with 53% more return on equity.” (Deloitte Global: “Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective”). A new report released in 2015 by McKinsey Global Institute found that “$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality” if countries took the steps to bridge the gender gap. (McKinsey Global Institute Report, 2015).
A diverse and fair workforce – with people from different backgrounds, religions and genders – equals a vibrant working culture. While this is freely acknowledged on paper and has now transformed into a truism, it doesn’t always translate into practice. It is encouraging to see it being discussed and acknowledged but despite legislative efforts in numerous countries, gender diversity still isn’t a priority in the workplace. Worldwide, a meagre 12% of board seats are held by women while out of the world’s 500 leading corporations, only 4% are led by women.
Women represent 50% of the workforce across all levels at Maxus Sri Lanka.
Women represent 50% of the workforce across all levels at Maxus Sri Lanka.
Women form 57% of the population in Sri Lanka and the stats pertaining to gender diversity and representation in the workforce are sobering. For a country that has produced the world’s first female prime minister and the world’s first female executive president, there are only 13 women representatives among the 225 members of parliament (6%). A 2015 LBO article highlighted that while women outnumber men in government and private tertiary education institutions, the numbers aren’t reflected in the labour force. The article noted that the under-employment of educated women and low female participation in the workforce are critical issues that need to be addressed to propel the national economy.
The reasons for this issue are manifold. One is the “sticky floor syndrome”, where discriminatory employment patterns consistently relegate a particular group to the bottom rung of the job ladder. Coined by sociologist Catherine White Berheide, the “sticky floor syndrome” is often referred to low-paying, low-mobility positions with little or no growth opportunities.  The other is the “glass ceiling” – the artificial barrier which discriminates against women in middle-management positions. Other reasons also include the societal pressure for women to maintain the perfect work-life equilibrium between family and professional life, self-made barriers such as self-doubt, which hinder personal growth, unfair HR policies, industry biases and more.
200 senior women from Maxus offices around the globe participated in ‘Walk the Talk’ – a 2 day program aimed at building the next tier of organizational leadership.
200 senior women from Maxus offices around the globe participated in ‘Walk the Talk’
– a 2 day program aimed at building the next tier of organizational leadership.
In a competitive business climate, it is crucial to seek solutions to these challenges for businesses to reach its fullest potential and achieve its long-term vision. Many businesses have begun to self-reflect and realize the importance of workplace diversity and its social and economic payoffs.
For us at Maxus Global, a media buying and planning agency of industry leader GroupM, this introspection has seen tangible results. 40% of our global senior leadership are women while the company has a gender pay gap of only 4% - considerably lower than the rest of the industry. Our global offices have also pledged to review the pay gap and offer flexible working hours as well as maternity and paternity policies.
Led by WPP’s first female media agency global CEO, Lindsay Pattison, we have has taken concrete steps to build diversity. Our most recent initiative was "Walk the Talk," a two-day life-coaching program that took place in three regions in April 2016. The event was exclusively catered for 200 senior women to empower them and build the next tier of organizational leadership within Maxus across the world and also saw participation from our Sri Lankan office.
Dilhani Jayasekara, Associate Business Director at Maxus Sri Lanka, was one of two Sri Lankans who attended “Walk the Talk” in Phuket and will be tasked with introducing the learning acquired into a Sri Lankan context. Speaking about her experiences, Dilhani noted that
“As leaders of change, events like this help light the way to see how we can make a significant impact on the world. Empowering women helps create an equal corporate playing field, harnesses the best talent to achieve business goals and helps create a strong and vibrant business environment that people aspire to work in.”

It is noteworthy that Maxus in Sri Lanka has a 50:50 split, representing a gender balanced workforce at all levels - be it executive or at senior management. We are excited about supporting the learning our staff acquired at the event and implementing it across the board.
“At Maxus we believe in no limits for women and our mission is to empower everyone at Maxus equally to advance up the career ladder. It’s an honour to be a part of such an inspiring culture and at ‘Walk the Talk’, this feeling was only reinforced. The learning we acquired was illuminating and it was inspiring to be in the company of the strong, empowered women who are a vital part of the global Maxus family,” commented Amali Yapa, Senior Business Manager, reflecting on her experience at the event.


It is encouraging to see the debate about workplace diversity gathering momentum, going beyond words and seeing fruition through action. It is important to remember that gender diversity is not about creating partiality for women but levelling the playfield, augmenting talent equally and creating equal opportunities to drive the success of businesses. To achieve this, it is vital that managements, CEOs, policy makers and governments participate in the discussion. Fairness in the workplace and the labour force has financial impacts which ripple beyond a business and affects the narrative of a nation – it is time for Sri Lanka to work harder towards this.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor in Economics, University of Colombo
Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor in Economics,
University of Colombo
In May 2016, the standard rate of value added tax (VAT) jumped from 11% to 15%. The Sri Lankan economy will thus have to adjust to this higher rate but what are some of the possible macroeconomic consequences? everjobs spoke to Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor in Economics, University of Colombo recently about whether the rise in VAT is a tax on jobs.

What’s your take on the recent hike in VAT?

Prof. Sirimal: A rise in VAT represents part of a policy of “fiscal tightening” by the Government. They have decided to use a mixture of government spending cuts and higher taxes to reduce the scale of the budget deficit, in the backdrop of annual loan installments being greater than the annual tax revenues. 
One argument is that strong action now to cut the deficit will bring macroeconomic dividends in the future because it will limit and eventually reduce the size of the national debt mountain and cut the need for further tax hikes in the future. However, the current tax revision is for facing the over-burdened debt rather than achieving fiscal discipline.

Trade Unions and the Politicians claim that VAT is a regressive tax, meaning that the proportion of an individual’s income spent on VAT falls as one goes up the income scale. What is your opinion on that?
Prof. Sirimal: Technically speaking, it is not regressive. Everyone pays VAT according the same rate regardless of their income levels. But, it is understandable that those who spend more will pay more, but those who spend less will pay less, in value terms. Therefore, poor who spend less will pay less, but rich who spend more will pay more.
Informal or black-market economic activities go un-recorded so that one could also argue that excessive taxes would encourage such transactions.

Is the rise in VAT a tax on jobs?

Prof. Sirimal: It depends on how the increase in VAT affects the volume of transactions, or at the end of the day the volume of consumer spending. As taxes usually affect these activities adversely, the rise of job creation may not be as great as previously anticipated. If consumer spending is expected to grow less quickly than it used to be in the coming years, many retailers will feel the pinch and jobs are at risk.
Overall the GDP growth and macroeconomic performance are going to be less than satisfactory for the coming years, the job creation should also be in line with that.

Are there any better alternatives to this tax hike?

Prof. Sirimal: Suddenly you realize that you have borrowed and spent more than you could afford to, and you have to pay your loan instalment which is more than your salary, what would you do? The country is in a situation as such, and needs to find instant money from further borrowings and more taxes. I guess this is unavoidable, and we knew where we were going in.
Alternatives are little longer than expected. While we admit that ad hoc measures would do what they are supposed to do, we better focus on increasing economic activities and implementing a more efficient tax collection system. Lower tax rates, widening the tax base and simplifying the tax paying and collecting system should be the way forward if we’re to target better fiscal management in the future.


I hope that a stronger recovery in Sri Lankan exports of goods and services and a pickup in business capital spending will help to offset slower consumer spending and encourage people to save a little more to pay off some of their existing debts. But this anticipated re-balancing of the economy depends on the strength of the world economy and also a possible depreciation of the Rupee against the US dollar - which is uncertain. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Actress and Style Icon Mahira Khan opens the first amanté boutique in Pakistan  flanked by Nadeem Anzar (CEO - SFnZ & CO - Franchise Partner of amanté in Pakistan),  Amal Fernando (GM – New Business MAS Brands),  Eshara Silva (Asst. Manager – Brand Development MAS Brands), Niranjan Wijesekera (CEO - MAS Brands),  and Gayani Gunawardena (DGM – Marketing MAS Brands)
Actress and Style Icon Mahira Khan opens the first amanté boutique in Pakistan
 flanked by Nadeem Anzar (CEO - SFnZ & CO - Franchise Partner of amanté in Pakistan),
Amal Fernando (GM – New Business MAS Brands),
Eshara Silva (Asst. Manager – Brand Development MAS Brands),
Niranjan Wijesekera (CEO - MAS Brands),
and Gayani Gunawardena (DGM – Marketing MAS Brands)
 amanté opened its first flagship store in Pakistan on 7 May at the Dolman Mall, Clifton, Karachi. This is the first international franchise, outside of India for the brand. The glitzy launch was attended by fashionistas, media and enthusiastic consumers. There was abuzz around film icon and celebrity Mahirah Khan who opened the boutique and made the first transaction to mark the occasion.

Amal Fernando (GM – New Business MAS Brands), Eshara Silva (Asst. Manager – Brand Development MAS Brands), Nadeem Anzar (CEO - SFnZ & CO - Franchise Partner of amanté in Pakistan), Mahira Khan (Actress & Style Icon), Gayani Gunawardena (DGM – Marketing MAS Brands), and Niranjan Wijesekera (CEO - MAS Brands) at the launch of amanté in Pakistan
Amal Fernando (GM – New Business MAS Brands),
Eshara Silva (Asst. Manager – Brand Development MAS Brands),
Nadeem Anzar (CEO - SFnZ & CO - Franchise Partner of amanté in Pakistan),
Mahira Khan (Actress & Style Icon), Gayani Gunawardena (DGM – Marketing MAS Brands),
 and Niranjan Wijesekera (CEO - MAS Brands) at the launch of amanté in Pakistan
Pakistan’s premium brands retailer SFnZ & Co. Ltd. signed franchise agreement with amanté to expand into the Pakistani market. Inauguration of the store was held by Pakistani actress and style icon, Mahira Khan. Niranjan Wijesekera - CEO, Amal Fernando – GM New Business, Gayani Gunawardena, DGM – Marketing & Eshara Silva, AM – Brand Development represented MAS Brands (Private Limited), along with Nadeem Ansar, CEO of SFnZ & CO.

amanté opens in first boutique in Pakistan at Dolman Mall, Karachi
amanté opens in first boutique in Pakistan at Dolman Mall, Karachi
amanté’s collection of fine lingerie has been designed and styled to suit the South Asian woman. In order to expand its retail base SFnZ& Co is targeting other high-end malls in Pakistan and plans to expand its retail reach to 10+ outlets within the next three years with amanté.

Passionate and uncompromising with their brand experience, amanté’s international design and styling has always been the focus of their collections. The brand uses the finest materials and accessories to suit modern women while maintaining brand integrity through their products, processes, and people. The brand stands to emphasize on a personality that benefits the modern woman emotionally and connects with her needs.

The store also carries amanté’s premium range of sleepwear, activewear, and swimwear along with their special collections to celebrate every occasion. The store design and interiors reflect amante’s legacy worldwide, defining the space as an ideal place to shop for the most intimate components of a woman’s wardrobe.

Nadeem Ansar, Chairman SFnZ& Co. Ltd says, “amanté specializes in the field of lingerie. While amanté is distributed and marketed across other South Asian countries, this is the first time that this very prominent international brand will enter the Pakistani market. We are delighted to bring this top quality brand to the Pakistani market, and give our consumers a best in class experience.’
Commenting on the amanté launch in Pakistan, Niranjan Wijesekera, CEO, MAS Brands (Pvt) Ltd stated, “We understand the emerging Asian woman and her evolving needs in line with global trends. As such amanté is a brand that ignites the feminine spirit, enabling her to pursue her dreams and passions. The amanté Boutique has been designed to cater to these needs, offering a space with exclusive choice, ambience and privacy. Hence we are extremely delighted to launch amanté in Karachi as our third South Asian market, after India and Sri Lanka. We are confident that the consumers of Pakistan will embrace the brand wholeheartedly and we look forward to bringing them a fashionable and premium lingerie experience.”

Having launched in India in 2007, amanté is present in over 250 large format stores, 1000 multi-brand outlets, and 4 exclusive boutiques while maintaining a strong online presence. Today, amanté proudly stands among the three premium lingerie brands in India, and is the preferred fashion forward lingerie brand amongst the discerning Indian consumer. In 2012, MAS brought amanté to Sri Lanka and has seen phenomenal success since inception. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

EPSI Technology Systems Product Manager - Chanaka De Mel,
EPSI Technology Components Product Manager - Dinesh Kumar,
EPSI Technology CEO - Niranjan Canagasooryam,
Takas.lk CEO - Lahiru Pathmala, Takas.lk Manager Business Development -
Shohaib Khan, Takas.lk Senior Visual Designer - B. Rajbavan
Sri Lanka’s pioneering total PC solutions provider EPSI Technology (Pvt) Ltd announced an exciting new partnership with dynamic e-commerce retailer Takas.lk for the resale of a vast variety of sophisticated IT-based products.
Through its timely partnership with Takas.lk, an increasingly popular platform for a growing number of Sri Lankans across the island, EPSI aims to further consolidate its significant market share while enabling its valued consumers to gain an unprecedented level of access to a sophisticated variety of tablets, notebooks, desktops, projectors, monitors, motherboards, graphic cards and networking products comprised of some of the world’s leading brands in tech – such as ASUS and ViewSonic.
Expanding on the significance of this new tie-up with Takas.lk, EPSI Technology Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Niranjan Canagasooryam expressed confidence in the move towards an even greater presence in the country’s online retail space. “e-commerce and online retailing in particular are a phenomenon that continues to show remarkable growth across many diverse markets around the world and Sri Lanka too is showing very promising signs, as can be seen by the ever-increasing success of our new partners, Takas.lk.
“Having established a tried and tested reputation as one of Sri Lanka’s most trusted total PC solutions providers, we believe that our continuing expansion of EPSI’s e-commerce presence at this early stage in the Sri Lankan market will help us to further secure our brand position and most importantly, deliver a heightened service offering to our valued customers.”
Established in 2012, Takas.lk has evolved into a dynamic player in the Sri Lankan e-commerce segment. Receiving an average of over 12,000 visits per day and backed by over 260,000 Facebook fans, www.takas.lk is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular e-commerce websites. A trendsetter that was the first to introduce the cash-on-delivery payment method, Takas.lk retails over 12,000 high quality products ranging from electronics to furniture.
Commenting on the significance of the partnership from the vibrant perspective of his company, Takas.lk CEO, Mr. Lahiru Pathamalal, expressed his satisfaction at the addition of EPSI’s top-of-the-line IT solutions to their product range.
“EPSI has long been a respected leader in the Sri Lankan market and so we are very pleased to forge this new relationship with them and work together to deliver even more value to our users. By joining with us, EPSI will be able to gain access to a vibrant, discerning, online retail customer base that will only continue to grow,” he stated.

EPSI Technology (Pvt) Ltd is a leading provider of total PC solutions. With over two decades of experience in the IT industry and in partnership with world renowned brands such as ASUS & ViewSonic, EPSI is recognizably rated as a leading IT company in providing innovative, high quality and technologically advanced products with excellent after sales service and support. EPSI adopts world-class practices, ensuring consistent quality across every aspect of its business, from its products and services, to its business processes, relationships and stakeholder experiences.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mindshare Team Unilever - the first primary media agency to win an Effies Gold award
Mindshare Team Unilever - the first primary media
agency to win an Effies Gold award
 Mindshare Team Unilever continued to dominate the Sri Lankan advertising industry with a record-breaking performance at the recently concluded Effie Awards 2015.
Bagging a total of seven campaign awards, including a Gold Award for its pioneering work on the Sunlight Digital Festival of Lights campaign, Mindshare Team Unilever won widespread praise and recognition among the Effie panel of judges for its creativity in harnessing consumer insights to build a powerful and effective communications strategy.
“The success that our team at Mindshare has been able to generate over the past six months is inspiring. We have been able to really place our philosophy of driving speed, provocation and team-work to produce compelling media campaigns capable of touching the hearts of Sri Lankans from all walks of life. I wish to register my sincere gratitude to our Client Lead for Mindshare Team Unilever, Bakmee Perera and the entire team behind this great campaign.
Mindshare Team Unilever win a Gold Award for Sunlight Digital Festival of Lights campaign
Mindshare Team Unilever win a Gold Award for
Sunlight Digital Festival of Lights campaign
“This ability to spark sincere and meaningful interactions between brands and their consumers is at the root of our success and we will continue to emulate and refine this ground-breaking model moving forward,” Head of Mindshare, Prasanga Jayatunga stated.
The Digital Festival of Lights campaign, which was focused around one of Sri Lanka’s most important religious festivals, Vesak, saw Sunlight utilising the connective power of media and mobile technology to give Sri Lankans from across the island the ability to be a part of the festivities.
Launched across electronic, print and social media, the Sunlight campaign transcended channels, generating an unprecedented number of engagements never before seen in a campaign within a short span of 5 days.
“The role of media agencies in developing marketing and communications strategies is constantly evolving and we are confident that Mindshare will have a leading role to play in redefining standards and setting new benchmarks.
Effies Gold award for Sunlight Digital Festival of Lights
Effies Gold award for Sunlight Digital Festival of Lights
“As Sri Lankan consumers become more sophisticated in their interactions with brands, we are confident that new opportunities will be created for agencies that seek to leverage technology to reach a much wider consumer demographic. I commend Mindshare Team Unilever for their creative and pioneering efforts and look forward to working on more innovative campaigns with the team going forward,” Group M Chief Operating Officer, Sabry Haniz stated.
In addition to its record-breaking effectiveness, the campaign also broke the mould by having its conceptualization and execution being primarily led by Mindshare in its capacity as a media agency instead of the industry norm. In doing so, Mindshare became the first primary Media agency in Effies history to win a Gold award.
“We are truly delighted that the Mindshare team’s efforts as our primary media agency have earned such powerful recognition. The media-led Sunlight campaign has been winning awards around the world based on its success in building an experience that engaged with Sri Lankans around the island in addition to our recent success at the Effies.
“The team also played a vital role in securing awards for all of the other Unilever campaigns at this year’s Effie Awards. Their excellent work provided crucial support for Unilever to win Marketer of the Year and we are confident that Mindshare Team Unilever will continue to reach even greater heights in future,” Unilever Head of Media and Activations, Channa Tennakoon stated.
Mindshare Team Unilever’s success at the Effie Awards follows the agency’s unprecedented international winning streak that it embarked upon after taking prizes at Goa Fest in February 2016, winning bronze at the Festival of Media Awards APAC in the mobile category and further recognition at the recently concluded SLIM NIELSEN Awards and Smarties APAC.

Mindshare is one of GroupM’s media investment management operations, and manages media investment and communication planning for key advertisers such as Unilever, GSK, Etisalat, and AMW to name a few in Sri Lanka.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Marketing & Commercial Manager, SAGT, Dhashma Karunaratne; JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein; Member of European Parliament, Mr. Nirj Dewa; Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne; BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka, Isuru Samarage; and BIZMEET Project Chairman and JCI Colombo South Chapter President, Natalie Goonewardene; & Deputy Head political, trade and communication, EU delegation for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Mr. Roshan Lyman.
Marketing & Commercial Manager, SAGT, Dhashma Karunaratne;
JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein;
Member of European Parliament, Mr. Nirj Dewa; Deputy Minister
of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne;
BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka,
Isuru Samarage; and BIZMEET Project Chairman and JCI Colombo
 South Chapter President, Natalie Goonewardene; & Deputy Head political,
trade and communication,
EU delegation for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Mr. Roshan Lyman.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Sri Lanka announced the inauguration of BIZMEET 2016, Sri Lanka’s first ever professional networking events aimed at promoting consistently ethical business practices among the country’s future corporate leaders.
The inaugural event drew attendance from several distinguished guests. Among those present at the launch of BIZMEET were Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne, who addressed the audience on the ‘Importance of ethical decision making for a sustainable economy and to attract FDI to Sri Lanka’.
Member of the European Parliament, Mr. Nirj Deva sounded the keynote for the event with an address on the ‘Global approach for ethics in business’.
Marketing & Commercial Manager, SAGT Dhashma Karunaratne; BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka, Isuru Samarage; Member of European Parliament Mr. Nirj Dewa; Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne; JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein; JCI Colombo South Chapter President/Project Chairperson JC Natalie Goonewardene.
Marketing & Commercial Manager, SAGT Dhashma Karunaratne;
BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka,
Isuru Samarage; Member of European Parliament Mr. Nirj Dewa;
Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne;
JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein;
JCI Colombo South Chapter President/Project
Chairperson JC Natalie Goonewardene.
Organised by the JCI Colombo South chapter of respected international non-profit organisation, JCI, BIZMEET targets young managers of corporate entities who will be leading their respective businesses in the near future.
Comprised of a series of ten entertaining and informative networking, the sessions will focus on the importance of ethical business practices and sustainable development goals. Through this, the forum’s organisers intend to empower young business leaders with the tools required to consistently make ethical decisions even in the most challenging environments.
Speaking at the inauguration, BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka, Isuru Samarage stated: “Our efforts are purely to empower young leaders to make a positive change in their businesses. We understand the importance of government driving ethical practices but what we want to address through BIZMEET are the responsibilities of businesses to drive a conscience-based approach towards sustainability. This will ensure their own long-term survival but also will work to the betterment of our national economy as well.”
The inauguration event also drew participation from several other prominent personalities in the Sri Lankan corporate and diplomatic spheres including Deputy Head – Politics, Trade and Communication, Mr. Roshan Lymaan, Director and Founder of Right Business, Mr. Priyanga Hettiarachchi and Chief Commercial Officer of the South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT), Mr. Ted Muttiah. 
JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein, Member of European Parliament, Mr. Nirj Dewa, Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne, BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka, Isuru Samarage, and BIZMEET Project Chairman and JCI Colombo South Chapter President.
JCI International Vice President, JC Amzad Hussein,
Member of European Parliament, Mr. Nirj Dewa,
Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne,
BIZMEET Founder and National President of JCI Sri Lanka,
Isuru Samarage, and BIZMEET Project Chairman
and JCI Colombo South Chapter President.
Following its inaugural session, BIZMEET will thereafter host ten weekday evening sessions on a monthly basis (one session per month). While supporting participants in their efforts to learn more about the value of ethical business practices they also hope to gradually build a network of young, ethical business leaders who will work diligently to chart the course of Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory in the coming decades.
The programme has already received strong representation from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union Delegation (EU), and strategically partnered with Give2SriLanka in order to carry out the inaugural sessions. The organisers and their strategic partners are also working to attract Public, Private and Civil Society representation at future events in order to further develop BIZMEET into a regular and respected fixture in Sri Lanka’s corporate events calendar.
“Ideally, business ethics ought to be included in early education itself and that is perhaps something that the state will consider in greater detail moving forward. However there are always measures that can be taken now to start driving a positive change. We believe that in organising BIZMEET and focusing on the second-level management of businesses, we have created a vital opportunity to achieve this vision,” BIZMEET Project Chairman and JCI Colombo South Chapter President, Natalie Goonewardene reiterated.
JCI (Junior Chamber International) is an international Non-Profit Organization with a history of over 100 years and currently operates in 116 countries around the world, of which Sri Lanka has been a part of the organisation for over 60 years.

The organization structures its programmes around categories of Empowerment, International, Community and Development, with a view to providing opportunities for international youth leaders to generate meaningful and positive changes in their respective home countries. JCI is among one of the few organizations granted consultative status by the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), advancing a long term partnership and collaboration in sharing similar goals and working towards the enhancement of the communities. 
Launching disability-friendly employment awareness

Xpressjobs.lk is a startup that was launched in November 2015, to fill a vacuum between jobseekers and job-offerers.  Pioneered by Mr. Chathum Henegama and Dr. Oshadie Korale (B.Sc) (PhD) the website is meant to provide a relevant platform for job seekers to connect with companies that require staff in a quick and effective manner.  

The online portal has enjoyed unprecedented popularity, as in the last six months alone they have collected an impressive lineup of over 1000 companies offering employment, including top companies such as MAS Holdings, the Colombo Stock Exchange, John Keells Holdings and HSBC etc.

Posting a job advert is very easy on our portal, as there is no waiting time in between the time you click on ‘post a job’ as the job vacancy immediately goes ‘live’. This means you can start collecting CV’s as soon as people start responding to the new posting. We also have over 20,000 registered candidates on Xpressjobs.lk and they get alerts on new job postings on a weekly basis.”, said Dr. Oshadie Korale.

Disabled_employment
Disabled employment
She also went on to speak about a new initiative by the company, “ I am very excited to announce that we have launched a project to bring awareness to ‘disability-friendly employmen’t. Once we launched it, within a matter of just 30 minutes we had 20 companies on board. We will be putting out the list of these companies by the end of this week. We have differently-abled candidates from Blind graduates to those with hearing impairment struggling to find jobs, so we are trying to bridge the gap and find them suitable jobs too by listing all companies willing to come on board to our platform. The posting will display an icon to show companies that are prepared to take in these candidates.”

Xpressjobs.lk is very different from all other online job portals. It makes the job seekers life very simple. Submitting a CV has been made very easy. Once the candidate has registered, they can just click APPLY on jobs they are interested in, and the company will get their CV with along with a cover letter. Applicants can also send tailor made CV’s and cover letters to each company through the jobseeker system. One other very interesting feature provided is a weekly email to all registered job seekers offering selected jobs suiting their criteria, but across a range of industries, showing scope available, in the event the candidate wishes to gain experience in a new sector. 

In addition, job vacancy’s have been divided into sectors to narrow down the search by Job Sector, Job Location, Part Time/ Full Time, Temporary etc. There is an integrated system in place to make the company’s Human Resource Departments’ life easy so they can manage the CVs, make notes while interviewing, and also have a range of drag and drop options. 

Xpressjobs.lk is also reaching out to job seekers on social media. Their Facebook page has generated over 40,000 followers to date and has a host of tips and advice for jobseekers. The online portal of Xpressjobs.lk has also received a good ranking on Alexa Rankings; they are currently slotted at 575th place and are rapidly moving upwards on a daily basis.

Mr. Chathum Henegama is a product of Ananda College and a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He is currently also the Chief Technical Officer of Davton UK.  Dr. Oshadie Korale is well known locally to have co-founded Adopt a Dog in Sri Lanka (ADSL). She is a Pharmacologist but currently works in the IT Sector.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Team Mindshare
Team Mindshare
GroupM Sri Lanka ended the first quarter of the year on a festive, goodie-laden note at Barracuda Beach with a day of Avurudu games and celebrations.
Dressed in their finest traditional garb, Club MPower members made the beachfront of Barracuda their playground for the evening. Five teams engaged in traditional Avurudu celebrations, competing in games such as Kotta pora, Kamba adeema and Goni paneema. Two members from each team also took part in Avurudu Kumariya and Kumaraya contests.

GroupM Digital Team
GroupM Digital Team
“Club MPower is about bringing our team members together and creating experiences for them,” said Sabry Haniz, Chief Operating Officer. “Almost everyone attended the Avurudu celebrations this time around. It’s been a very busy but fulfilling three months, so this was a good way for all of us to unwind and celebrate the spirit of the season together.”


GroupM is the world’s largest media investment group, with a focus on finding or creating valuable audiences, engaging with them effectively and efficiently, and delivering marketplace advantage to clients, stakeholders and people. GroupM also serves as parent company to agencies including Maxus, MEC, Mindshare, Mediacom, Digital Media, Trading & ESP. GroupM formally launched in Sri Lanka in 2011, entering the local sphere with clients including many of the world’s top advertisers, a global team comprising of 18,000+ employees and presence in almost a 100 countries. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Aaliya Mohamed, Fashion Designer and CLA student.
Aaliya Mohamed, Fashion Designer and CLA student.
Following the immensely successful launch of its Young Entrepreneurs Development programme last year, Colombo Leadership Academy (CLA) is hard at work grooming the latest generation of young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.
The island’s premier leadership coaching and executive education facility has already been able to nurture and inspire a diverse spectrum of young entrepreneurs to take the reins on their own business ideas and refine novel, innovative business concepts into powerful and practical business models capable of thriving in real market places.
"Overall I feel that the Young Entrepreneur programmme has really helped me to develop a long-term strategy and vision for my business. I’d definitely recommend this programme to any young entrepreneurs looking to embark on their own business venture. Participating in this programme gave me the sense of motivation and direction that I needed to achieve my dreams and I’m confident that the programme can do the same for others,” Fashion Designer and CLA student, Aaliya Mohamed said.
Developed by the CLA with a view to growing the inherent strengths of an entrepreneur among Sri Lanka’s next generation of business leaders – including an emphasis on problem-solving skills, analytical ability and unconventional approaches to branding and marketing – the Young Entrepreneur development programme has been carefully crafted module-by-module in order to bring out the best in its students and rapidly hone their ability to successfully identify and build on a given business opportunity.
The programme provides comprehensive training in: business idea generation, market analysis, business incubation, business model development, prototype development & simulation, creating brand value & innovation, intellectual property & legal, leadership & HR, and market strategies.
Furthermore CLA also provides support to its students to gather startup capital and post-programme mentorship by experienced entrepreneurs to shape their business journeys.
In this manner, CLA aims to gradually contribute towards the creation and expansion of a vibrant start-up culture locally which in turn will open up unprecedented new opportunities for Sri Lankan’s from all walks of life to empower themselves while striking an easier balance between their personal and professional lives.

Be sure to be a part of CLA’s next intake to experience an inspiring and empowering Entrepreneurship programme and dare to create your own success story.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL presents the Lawris Girls’ Home with the donation.
Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL presents
the Lawris Girls’ Home with the donation.
 China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation (AVIC-INTL) recently conducted a charitable donation programme in support of the Lawris Girl’s Home, Colombo, for the third consecutive year.
Through the programme, AVIC INTL donated Rs. 300,000 worth of food, supplies, stationary, cooking utensils, electrical and other essential items to the home as part of an on-going commitment to help support and nurture disadvantaged communities in Sri Lanka. 
The Lawris Girls’ Home was founded by the wife of famous Sri Lankan educationalist and former principal of Nalanda College, Mr. D.C. Lawris. Since its establishment, the home has adopted and provided a caring abode for more than 2,000 orphaned children.
AVIC INTL’s involvement with the home commenced in 2014 when it held its first donation campaign for the Lawris Girls’ Home under the name Raise the Future with Love.
Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL Engineering with one of the children at Lawris Girls’ Home
Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL
 Engineering with one of the children at Lawris Girls’ Home
Delivering a message of support to the home just prior to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL Engineering, Sri Lankan Branch said: “We wish the children and staff of the Lawris Girls’ Home a very happy and prosperous new year. It has been a great pleasure for us to provide the assistance and services we can to help improve the living environment and education for these children and we promise to continuously extend our support to these children and the Lawris Girls’ Home in future.”
Commenting on this year’s donation campaign, Vice Principal of the Lawris Girls’ Home, Mrs. Kumari, expressed her sincere gratitude to the representatives of AVIC INTL and the positive example they had set through the continuous assistance to the Lawris Girls’ Home while urging other corporates and individuals to emulate that example by supporting the Lawris Home and other similar organizations that work to assist and uplift underprivileged communities and children across the island.
Miss. Feng Yao, Manager of Human Resource Dept, AVIC-INTL opens gifts of stationary for the girls at the orphanage
Miss. Feng Yao, Manager of Human Resource Dept, AVIC-INTL
opens gifts of stationary for the girls at the orphanage
While working to promote foreign direct investment projects in Sri Lanka and carrying out its own construction projects in partnership with local companies, AVIC INTL has also placed significant emphasis on social welfare activities for the past six years that they have been present in Sri Lanka. These include projects to drill free tube-wells for communities surrounding project sites, carrying out maintenance of local roads, donations of educational supplies and stationary to schools and disaster relief for communities affected by mud and landslides that took place in recent years.

Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL Engineering (middle) and employees from AVIC-INTL Engineering with the children from orphanage
Mrs. Liu Yue, Deputy General Manager of AVIC-INTL
Engineering (middle) and employees from AVIC-INTL
Engineering with the children from orphanage
The company also remains confident and invested in the social and economic development of Sri Lanka as a whole through mutual cooperation and support between Sri Lanka and China. 

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