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Friday, May 26, 2017

Banktech Asia
Banktech Asia

The BankTech Asia Fin5ive Challenge 2017 is powered by Matchi, a fintech matchmaking firm recently acquired by KPMG


Powered by Matchi, BankTech Asia is scanning the globe for 5 leading fintech solutions to showcase to an audience of 200+ bankers from Asia at their 9th annual event in Kuala Lumpur from 5-6 July 2017 with the aim of fostering more fintech partnerships between the incumbents and the disruptors. The organizers of the international conference highlighted that Sri Lanka is amongst the countries they intend to receive applications from.

In tandem with the direction of regulators from Asia, BankTech Asia aims to use this challenge to introduce innovative world class fintech solutions to banks from around the region. Preparations for the BankTech Asia’s Fin5ive challenge kicked off with a fintech survey to 70 participating financial institutions from the Asia Pacific region to identify solutions that were the most strategically important for their bank.

Survey responses were collated to determine key focus areas which now form the five (5) entry categories for the challenge. To enter, fintech firms must have an approved solution on the Matchi portal that is aligned with any one of below five (5) categories:


  1. Category 1: Mobile/Channel Solutions Mobile/channel solutions that enable banks to provide services to their customers e.g wearable banking, mobile banking, chatbot
  2. Category 2: Payments/Transactions/Remittances Solutions that enable payment/transactions/remittances to be performed efficiently and in a secure manner
  3. Category 3: Process Automation Solutions that reduces manual processes within banks
  4. Category 4: Financial Inclusion Solutions that deliver financial services at affordable costs to underserved customer groups
  5. Category 5: Security/Identification/Biometrics Solutions that enhances the bank’s security against fraudsters, cyber-attacks, data-leaks and etc
Emphasising the synergy of this collaboration, the organiser said “The partnership with Matchi is very strategic for both parties with our reach to over 4000 bankers from around Asia and Matchi’s global reach to over 3000 fintech firms,” Vincent Fong, General Manager of Knowledge Group.

He then added “Having just returned from the BankTech Asia Sri Lanka Conference in March, we feel that there’s a lot high potential fintech firms in Sri Lanka, we believe that this platform would be a great entry point for Sri Lanka Companies to enter the South East Asian Market.” 

The organisers stressed that the quality and relevance of the solution is of paramount importance. In an effort to ensure both those criteria are met, BankTech Asia and Matchi worked closely together to identify a set of industry experts with diverse background from across the region as the panel of judges. Among the panel of esteemed judges are:
  • Amran Hassan, Head of Innovation, Maybank, Malaysia 
  • Paul Ark, CEO, Digital Ventures, Thailand 
  • Paolo Baltao, Senior Vice President, Union Bank, Philippines 
  • Markus Gnirck, Founder, tryb Capital, Singapore 
  • David Milligan, CEO, Matchi, South Africa
The BankTech Asia Fin5ive challenge opened for entry on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 and close on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 at 23:59 GMT. All entries will be validated and a shortlist will be individually scored against a set of criteria by an esteemed panel of judges. 

The Fin5ive winners will be announced on Friday, 9 June 2017. Each of the winning fintech solution providers will have the opportunity to demonstrate their solution live on stage at the BankTech Asia event in Kuala Lumpur from 5-6 July 2017. They will also be given a free exhibition space and one-to-one networking opportunities at the FinMatch event.

Matchi

Matchi is a global fintech innovation match-making firm, since 2013. Matchi has worked with over 100 leading banks and insurance companies (FIs) around the world, and has a database of over 2,500 fintech firms with 700+ curated solutions. Matchi provides both a searchable, highly-detailed portal of fintech solutions, as well as bespoke projects for FI clients to source targeted fintech solutions aimed at the FIs focus areas / pain points. The global Matchi team has run Fintech Challenges and Market Scans for multiple FIs around the world, in markets as diverse as Africa, Japan, Canada, Mauritius and India, as well as searches in more recognized fintech regions.

BankTech Asia

BankTech Asia is one the longest running fintech and banking technology events in the Asia region. With a 9-year track record in keeping bankers and fintech professionals abreast with the latest trends and threats, BankTech Asia has been hosted in several countries including Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mackley Sleepwear children’s collection for age groups 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-14 years
Mackley Sleepwear children’s collection for age
groups 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-14 years
Premium sleepwear label Mackly will launch its first collection of ladies’ sleepwear together with its latest children’s collection with a runway event at Park Street Mews on 18 June. Mackly’s lineup of models will include young children and women who will walk the runway in 100% cotton pyjamas and nightgowns designed for stylish comfort.

Mackly was launched in 2014 with exclusive focus on children’s sleepwear. The founder and lead designer is Sharmila Srikumar, a young mother on a quest to find the perfect sleepwear for her children. In   this case perfection meant comfort, safety, adaptability and cute factor; unable to find sleepwear that met all these requirements in stores, Sharmila set out to design her own and founded Mackly in the process.

Mackly Sleepwear is especially designed for tropical weather with 100% breathable cotton material. Each piece goes through a needle and metal detector for safety, and is phthalate and allergy free. All t-shirts have heat seals in place of labels to avoid discomfort at the back of the neck, and each piece is tested for colour fastness and shrinkage. Mackly Sleepwear for kids cater to three age groups; 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-14 years. The label also offers a small range of cotton knitted eye masks for deeper, uninterrupted sleep.

Mackley Sleepwear children’s collection for age groups 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-14 years
Mackley Sleepwear children’s collection for age
groups 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-14 years
The ladies sleepwear line builds on these features to bring functional style to the table. Sharmila is responding to overwhelming interest from her clients and others who have been pressing her to design a sleepwear line for an older audience. “The extra comfort of our sleepwear and the high standards we maintain when designing and manufacturing Mackly clothing meant that a lot of mums were requesting that we design sleepwear for them too,” she says. “But we’ve also been playing with some ideas for trendy sleepwear for women for a while now and this felt like a very good time to act on it and launch the line.”

Sharmila adds that this new sleepwear range will bring the same comfort and safety standards of the children’s range with an on-trend focus in order to bring the changing contours and styles of fashion seasons to customers. “We spent a lot of time choosing the right style for our ladies sleepwear,” she says. “We want it to be functional and at the same time trendy and fun. I feel that this is what women want now, because not only do you look good when you’re at home, relaxing in the evening, but you’ll also feel amazingly comfortable.”


The ladies range will be available in small, medium and large sizes with larger sizes to be introduced soon. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

StarFriends Voice  Service
StarFriends Voice  Service

Connecting with Celebrities via Voice over Mobitel Network, Sri Lanka

Kirusa, a global leader in providing telecom and social media solutions, announced today the launch of  StarFriends Voice  Service, in partnership with zMessenger, Sri Lanka's pioneering leader in mobile marketing and entertainment solutions, and Mobitel, the national mobile service provider in Sri Lanka.
 
Kirusa is enabling zMessenger's premium celebrity content service, StarFriends, via its InstaVoice platform, to bring voice capabilities that allow stars to record their voice messages and send to their fans.
 
With the launch of this service, Mobitel users in Sri Lanka can now follow their favorite celebs’ voice blogs. Users can subscribe to the service by sending an SMS in the format Star’s name + V to 2468 (e.g. RoshanV to 2468).
 
From celeb-to-fans, StarFriends Voice Service provides a seamless flow of messages. Using the unique voice update feature of the service, celebrities express their emotions and share their joyous and challenging moments. The voice messages are delivered instantly to fans, creating a ‘Voice Twitter’ experience.
 
Actress Yureni Noshika, singer Raini Charuka, musician Lahiru Perera, and actor Roshan Ranawana are some of the eminent personalities with whom fans will be able to connect with via the StarFriends Voice Service. More celebs are expected to join the platform shortly.
 
Commenting on the launch of the service, Mr. Isuru Dissanayaka Senior General Manager, Marketing of Mobitel Sri Lanka said, “It is indeed a delight for Mobitel to enter into this partnership with Kirusa and to be able to offer our customers this unique service here in Sri Lanka. At Mobitel, we constantly strive to increase the value offerings to our customers, and I am confident that adding the dimension of voice to celeb messages will bring the celebrities closer to their fans and give our customers this unique experience.”
 
Ms. Jayomi Lokuliyana, CEO and Co-Founder at zMessenger said, “The communication between celebrities and their fans takes several forms. In StarFriends Voice service the control remains with the celebrity. However, the fans are also empowered, to connect, respond and engage with them. This makes it a unique connect, and a very personal mode of communication begins to take shape between celebrities and their fans. It is indeed an engaging and innovative service”.
 
Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO of Kirusa said, “We are delighted to bring Kirusa’s InstaVoice Channels service to Sri Lanka in partnership with Mobitel and zMessenger. With incredible successes in Africa, Latin America and now Sri Lanka, InstaVoice Channels has been adopted by hundreds of celebrities and millions of fans.”

About Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd

Mobitel is Sri Lanka’s National Mobile Service Provider and a fully-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom. The company offers mobile telephony services, high-speed broadband, Enterprise Solutions, IDD services and a host of Value Added Services. Mobitel was the pioneer in South Asia to launch a Super 3.5G network, to successfully demonstrate HSPA + MIMO technology and successfully trial 4G-LTE and 4.5G-LTE Advanced Pro technology. The introduction of Dual Carrier HSPA+ technology and 4G-LTE service makes Mobitel’s broadband speeds the fastest in the country. Fuelling over the USD 600mn worth of investments to-date, Mobitel has shaped the ICT landscape, experiencing exciting growth – poised to lead the industry into its next phase of development. A growing customer base stands testament to Mobitel’s strong focus laid on customer centricity, emulating its credo of "We Care. Always."  For more information, visit www.mobitel.lk or dial 1717 to reach the Customer Care Hotline. About zMessenger

zMessenger is the pioneering leader in Digital Marketing and Digital Content, providing a broad range of solutions in strategy and digital technology that helps businesses and brands redefine how they communicate and serve connected customers. We offer complete, integrated digital business and technology services – digital marketing, mobility, and analytics to deliver tangible results for both the real and virtual worlds. 

About Kirusa


Kirusa is a global leader in providing telecom & social media solutions that enable customers to have a voice and connect seamlessly. Kirusa’s solutions include InstaVoice® Channels that offers contents celebrity and sports news, live updates, educational content, etc. that subscribers can choose from. The company also offers InstaVoice Ring™, myGenie™ & a host of mobile marketing solutions, which are provided in partnership with over 40 mobile carriers in Africa, India, LatAm, and the Middle East, as well as via the app stores for iOS, Android & Windows. Kirusa solutions are built on its patented technology and its highly reliable, scalable multimodal & cloud platforms, which manage over 2.5 billion calls/messages a month. Kirusa solutions are being used by over 100 Million mobile users in four continents every month. Kirusa has been recognized as one of Top 20 most promising technology companies by Silicon India and one of Top 25 emerging technology companies by Smart Techie magazine. The InstaVoice app won first prize at NJTC Mobile Apps Forum.  Informa selected InstaVoice as a finalist for the Best App in Africa.  Headquartered in New Jersey and led by an experienced team of wireless telecom executives and technologists, Kirusa has offices in four continents. InstaVoice is a US registered trademark of Kirusa, Inc. For more information, visit: www.kirusa.com
Quiz Champions (from left): 99X Technology CEO Apprentice Raveen Ubeysekera, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead Rangitha Kuruppu, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead and Quiz Team Captain Shirantha De Alwis and 99X Technology Technical Lead Sabry Moulana
Quiz Champions (from left): 99X Technology CEO Apprentice
Raveen Ubeysekera, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead
Rangitha Kuruppu, 99X Technology Associate Technical Lead
and Quiz Team Captain Shirantha De Alwis and 99X Technology
 Technical Lead Sabry Moulana
After hours of tense battle among some of the most knowledgeable masterminds in the corporate sector, the 99X Technology Quiz Team emerged victorious and was crowned the Overall Champions at the fifth Glitz Biz Quiz, in addition to sweeping up the Sector Award for the IT and Software Category – retaining this title for the fifth consecutive year.
While the 99X Technology Quiz Team has come close to gaining this hotly-contested title in previous years, this marks the first time that it tasted victory at one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious mercantile quizzes. The team battled it out against 40 highly competitive teams that included Sri Lanka’s premier corporate quiz teams including Dialog Axiata, People’s Bank (2016 overall champions), Hatton National Bank, DFCC Bank, Seylan Bank, IFS, MillenniumIT and SriLankan Airlines, among others.
With the overall title clinched by 99X Technology, Dialog Axiata came in second place followed by SriLankan Airlines and Moody’s Analytics sharing third place. In the IT and Software Category, sector winner 99X Technology was closely followed by IFS and Millennium Information Technologies in second and third places respectively.
The team from 99X Technology was represented by Associate Technical Lead Shirantha De Alwis, who captained the team, Associate Technical Lead Rangitha Kuruppu, Technical Lead Sabry Moulana and CEO Apprentice Raveen Ubeysekera.
Initiated by a group of enthusiastic, like-minded employees with a keen interest in general knowledge, the 99X Technology Quiz Team has maintained a constant presence in the mercantile quiz scene over the past several years and continues to make its mark at a number of events annually.
The team got off to a flying start at the beginning of this year when it placed third overall at the 4th Governor’s Challenge Cup Quiz and sector champions in the Imports/Exports Category. Some successes in 2016 included the YPF Quiz Master 2016 where they placed 6th overall, the CMI Quiz Challenge 2016 where they became IT/BPO category winners and came in 5th place overall and of course, the Biz Quiz 2016 at which they placed 5th overall last year.
The Biz Quiz, organized by Dashing Events, is a premier mercantile quiz competition which brings together the country’s top corporate entities annually to test their knowledge in a wide range of categories. Hosted for the fifth consecutive year, it was held on 7 May 2017 at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo this time around.

99X Technology is an award-winning software product engineering company that specializes in delivering high-end software product development services to independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide, with a primary focus on 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. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Furniture on display at Meubel House gallery on Gower Street
Furniture on display at Meubel House gallery on Gower Street
With real estate in Colombo steadily rising in value, contemporary homes are becoming smaller and professional advice on how to enhance a space proves valuable and cost-effective for homeowners. During a visit to the picturesque Meubel House gallery on Gower Street, Architect Suzette Whehella shares her tips for making the best out of every space and a few guiding principles for choosing the right furniture.
Architect Whehella grew up amid spaces and design metrics - her father was an engineer and since she was six, she aspired to create living spaces. She studied architecture at the City School of Architecture and branched out on her own with Suzette Whehella Associates. Architect Whehella prefers to focus on a few projects at a time; this has allowed her to dabble in sub-disciplines close to her own work-for example interior design, which she started experimenting with when she realized how a beautifully designed space could be furnished and accessorized to make it truly extraordinary.
Furniture on display at Meubel House gallery on Gower Street
Furniture on display at Meubel House gallery on Gower Street
When she meets with clients Whehella tries to find out what makes them tick. “Interiors are about character,” she says. “It has to reflect the little quirks and interests of the person living in the house.” It can be challenging to keep your own preferences out of it, she laughs. “You have to remember that this is where someone else will be living and that it needs to be about their likes and dislikes.” Her advice is to consult with an architect first if you’re doing the interiors for your own house, as they will have a good idea of what the space requires.
To begin with, a house with open areas and natural light is instantly easier to work with. If natural light is difficult to tap into, Whehella advises strategically placing lamps and lights for good lighting indoors. Then, you could choose the furniture and other accessories to individualize your space.
Architect Suzette Whehella at the Meubel House gallery
Architect Suzette Whehella at the Meubel House gallery
When choosing furniture, remember that size matters. A larger space can handle large furniture while it is always advisable to choose smaller pieces for a smaller space. It may sound self-evident but many homeowners give in to the temptation of buying a large pettagama, or wooden chest, for their tiny living room. To be comfortable, you need as much space as possible to walk around, says Whehella.
Use quirky, unusual versions of the most traditional items of furniture. She used it at a conference for guests to network and it proved to be the perfect way to get people to relax. You could also use unusual colours to brighten up a solid colour scheme-for example a room painted in white and filled with white or light-coloured furniture will instantly take to multi-coloured chests. Whehella suggests using it in a TV room or living room, but recommends that you pair it with an otherwise muted colour scheme. “As a rule of thumb, we say no more than three colours. Beyond that it gets to be too much. I would also follow this rule when you’re painting indoor spaces - for walls, less is more.”
Furniture on display at Meubel House gallery on Gower Street
Furniture on display at Meubel House
gallery on Gower Street
Mix and match shapes and textures, but with restraint. Thinking in height and width dimensions can also help you find visual balance in a space. A strategically placed mirror can also add a touch of elegance to a larger space, or create the illusion of space in a smaller room.
The day bed which was made entirely of reclaimed wood from a boat, is an example of a statement piece that can dress up a large space or add excitement to an outdoor area. Whehella recommends using primarily wood in outdoor spaces - just make sure you maintain it well - or rattan, a naturally renewable material favoured by many Sri Lankan households. If you must have metal, use galvanized wrought iron for a rustic look to add character to a space.

Whehella shares that interior design is often about instinct tempered with insight - perhaps from a professional, but experience can also help. Instinct will help you bring a strong sense of character to a room, while knowing what goes where, and how, will help you make that space truly home. At Meubel House you’ll find a bit of both - guidance to help you find the right fit for your home, and respect for character in a space via customized furniture.
The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, designed to tackle pollutants that penetrate the deeper layers of skin
The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, designed to
tackle pollutants that penetrate the deeper layers of skin
The Drops of Youth Liquid Peel and the Drops of Youth Fresh Emulsion are the newest additions to the extensive range at The Body Shop stores in Sri Lanka. These 100% vegan youth enhancing solutions are designed for skin that is regularly exposed to polluted environment, making them the perfect go-to pollution solution for city dwellers.

There is little doubt that city skin deteriorates faster. In fact, up to 80% of the damage and ageing the skin experiences day after day is linked to external aggressors like UV and pollution. Science is beginning to draw parallels between pollution and premature skin ageing; a recent study by a leading skincare brand found that urban pollution is one of the biggest skin aggressors. People living in cities tend to have lower levels of Vitamin E, deceased barrier function and dehydrated skin in comparison to their rural counterparts. A skincare routine that tackles both is vital and the Body Shop’s new Drops of Youth anti-pollution products are the ideal tools for this task.

The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, designed to tackle pollutants that penetrate the deeper layers of skin
The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, designed to
tackle pollutants that penetrate the deeper layers of skin
The first is the Drops of Youth Liquid Peel to tackle pollutants that penetrate the deeper layers of skin, causing the breakdown of collagen. The transforming gel-to-peel technology and revolutionary texture of the product traps and gently lifts impurities, fine pollutants and dead skin cells to reveal fresher and more youthful looking skin. 88% of respondents conducting a self-assessment after using the product agreed that it peeled off impurities and left their skin feeling purified.

The Drops of Youth Fresh Emulsion with SPF 20 protection is an emulsion that can be used daily to help protect against pollution and enhance the skin’s youthful appearance. By infusing thyme and buddleia extract and a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB filters, this powerful but ultra-light formula hydrates skin and can be used as or in addition to daily moisturizer. This protection can be enhanced with the Skin Defence range’s Multi Protection Essence, which brings a more considerable SPF 50 protection to the table.

The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Emulsion, contains
SPF20 to protect against pollution and
enhance the skin’s youthful appearance
The Drops of Youth range is enriched with high quality Community Trade Babassu Oil sourced from North Brazil. This babassu is grown by a community calling themselves the ‘guardians of the forest’; the wild babassu palm trees are an essential livelihood resource in these areas. Its nuts are packed with natural goodness, including hydrating oils for supple and smooth skin. 


The products are available at The Body Shop flagship store on Bagatale Road and Odel on Alexandra Place. 

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. In April 2017 The Body Shop launched a worldwide campaign to ban animal testing in partnership with Cruelty Free International. 
Mulberry Sari
Mulberry will unveil The Glamour Collection with an exhibition and sale on Saturday, 20 May at The Kingsbury Apartments on Bagatale Road. New additions to the label’s Elegance Collection introduced in December 2016 will also be available at the venue.

Mulberry is a label for contemporary woman seeking saris for casual and occasion wear. Mulberry’s seasonal collections are curated by sisters Nadira and Azra Abdul Cader; they launched the label in 2012 because their own search for affordable, contemporary and elegant saris in Colombo was often a difficult one. The two sisters began exploring the bazaars and design houses of other South Asian countries to handpick the best from what they found, and the Mulberry brand was launched. Over the years the label has become known for a tasteful selection of merchandise featuring saris and jewellery in on-trend colours and designs.

The Abdul Cader sisters say that they just want to make it easier for women to walk in and find exactly what they want. “Most of us don’t have time to visit several shops to find one sari. At Mulberry, we’ve already done the hard work for our clients and they can choose from a very carefully curated collection,” says Azra.

Mulberry’s fashion code is simple: contemporary elegance with an affordable price tag. The Glamour Collection will comprise of saris and jewellery that embody this spirit, with one of a kind pieces that will stand out during the upcoming wedding season. Each sari carries a distinctive appeal with varying textures, weaves and patterns. Customers may complete their outfit in one go by adding a statement piece of jewellery from the extensive collection on offer.
Pieces from the Elegance Collection will also be available at the venue, featuring a range of saris in silk, cotton, silk-cottons and raw silks. Nadira encourages anyone hoping to attend the show and sale on Saturday to have a peek at the collection on Mulberry’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MulberryStyle . 

“The Elegance Collection was an immediate hit when we launched it in December, and we’re guessing that The Glamour Collection will be snapped up pretty quickly too,” she says.


The Glamour Collection show and sale will be open to all on Saturday, 20 May from 10 am to 6 pm at Windsor Room, 4th Floor, The Kingsbury Apartments, 1, Bagatalle Road, Colombo 03.
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hanif Yusoof - Founder & President, Peter Larsen - COO and Saif Yusoof - Managing Director of EFL Sri Lanka at the opening of a dedicated auditorium at the state-of-the-art EFL Campus in Orugodawatte
Hanif Yusoof - Founder & President, Peter Larsen - COO and
Saif Yusoof - Managing Director of EFL Sri Lanka at the opening
of a dedicated auditorium at the state-of-the-art EFL
Campus in Orugodawatte

Opens new auditorium and launches e-learning platform catering to growing demand for logistics services

Responding to significant growth in demand for qualified professionals in the sector, global logistics provider Expolanka Freight (EFL) announced a significant expansion of its training capabilities with the opening of a dedicated new auditorium facility together with the launch of breakthrough cloud based e-learning platform.
Situated at its state-of-the-art EFL Campus in Orugodawatte, the spacious new auditorium will serve as focal point for an extensive range of training and development progammes aimed at producing Sri Lanka’s next generation of logistics specialists to take the industry forward over the medium-long term.
Parallel to the expansion of its physical capacity, EFL also announced that it would be launching a new cloud-based e-learning platform and social collaboration tool known as ‘Layup’ with a view to developing more effective, streamlined and ultimately focused training programmes for its employees.
Branded as the ‘EFL Campus’, the application combines e-learning with concepts such as game dynamics and social collaboration and features a range of learning courses covering the basics of supply chain to the more in depth skills such as 3PL planning.
Through this hybridized approach of digitally augmented learning combined with in-person training, EFL will substantially increase its ability to train larger groups of logistics professionals at the new facility, while maintaining a high quality, engaging learning experience.    
“Our investments into training are part of a firm commitment towards developing the next generation of supply chain specialists. With the continued success of EFL’s international expansion we are confident that these investments will be beneficial both for our local operations and placements abroad.
“A key concern for us was to ensure that when we opened our new auditorium, the increased scale of operations would still be balanced with the same level of comprehensive training.” Saif Yusoof, Managing Director of Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd said.

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.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Great Manager Awards
Charitha Subasinghe - CEO JayKay Marketing (John Keells),
Riaz Hassen - CEO Colombo Leadership Academy,
Niranjalli Wickramasinghe - Moderator/ Senior Manager T&D AIA Insurance,
Akhilesh Mandal - President Great Manager Awards,
Chiranthi Cooray - CHRO/ DGM HR Hatton National Bank PLC
and Prasad Piyadigama - Director Organization and
Human Resources (INSEE Cement)

The Great Manager Awards

The Great Manager Awards aims to identify, assess, recognize and benchmark Great Managers in the corporate sector. By bringing nominees together onto a level playing field, the adjudicators will assess their management style, focus on results, execution, people management and leadership integrity to recognize the best, and provide guidance for development.

The aim is to find out what makes a Great Manager great, how an organization’s managers stack up against industry peers, what they can learn from peer group companies and how to nurture more great managers leading to the development of a leadership eco-system in the organization. Nominees will be assessed for managerial effectiveness on a global research-based model known as R-OPTI. The focus will be on results, execution, people, team, organizations and leadership integrity with the survey and results audited by an esteemed advisory panel and faculty. Organizations and managers can benchmark best practices, receive recommendations for improvement of leadership effectiveness, and identify key competencies of managerial talent.



Riaz Hassen - CEO Colombo Leadership Academy
Riaz Hassen - CEO Colombo Leadership Academy
The awards are conferred by The Great Manager Awards, a global human resource management consulting body committed to improving performance capabilities and business acumen of partner organizations. The Great Manager Awards programme launch in Sri Lanka is powered by Colombo Leadership Academy and People Business, a premier leadership coaching and executive education facility with top conglomerate clients.

“Our focus is on inspiring organizations and more importantly, individuals, to nurture effective leadership skills and to develop a leadership eco system that drives high performance,” said Riaz Hassen, Director and CEO of the Colombo Leadership Academy. “So it’s very exciting to partner with the Great Manager Awards to recognize high performers. This will set the ideal benchmark for recognizing individuals with great leadership and management skills, and the companies that have nurtured such individuals.”

Akhilesh Mandal - President Great Manager Awards
Akhilesh Mandal - President Great Manager Awards
The awards will be given in two categories. The main category is for Great Managers, which will recognize leaders across industries and organizations. The second will recognize Companies with Great Managers, which will recognize and award companies with great managerial quotient.

Registration for the Great Manager Awards closes on 30 June 2017. To participate register via http://www.greatmanagerawards.com/gma-srilanka.php. For details contact gmasrilanka@gmail.com or 0720865001/0720865000.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, John Keells Holdings
Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, John Keells Holdings
Sri Lankan entrepreneurship is geared to hit the fast-track at the second annual John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017, as teams of aspiring innovators and inventors compete for a chance to win entry into a six month Accelerator Programme at JKH that offers Rs. 2 million in seed investment, a curated growth oriented curriculum, office space in Colombo, access to legal, finance and secretarial expertise, access to mentors involving senior JKH leadership, active interaction with JKH businesses, as well as the prospects of further investment during or after the six month Accelerator Program.  
John Keells X was first launched in 2016 with the goal of boosting creative and intellectual talent through a public competitive format. This year’s challenge has evolved into a fully-fledged accelerator programme that will holistically educate participants on key factors to hone business performance. This will also include an entrepreneurship curriculum and growth hacking curriculum delivered by leading international trainers with extensive startup experience. Additionally, participants will receive invaluable mentorship from some of the most respected entrepreneurs and business magnates in the country.
Krishan Balendra (President, Leisure Sector/Director - JKH), Ajit Gunewardene (Deputy Chairman - JKH), Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director - JKH), and Ramesh Shanmuganathan (Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer - JKH) at a panel discussion for the inaugural John Keells X programme last year.
Krishan Balendra (President, Leisure Sector/Director - JKH),
Ajit Gunewardene (Deputy Chairman - JKH),
 Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director - JKH),
and Ramesh Shanmuganathan (Executive Vice President
and Chief Information Officer - JKH)
at a panel discussion for the inaugural John Keells X programme last year.
The updated format of the open innovation challenge held last year,  John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017 will now include extensive support to accelerate business ventures over a six month period, and this was prompted as a result of the strong and enthusiastic response from young entrepreneurial talent at the inaugural event last year.
Commencing from 2 May 2017, competing teams must work to exhibit disruptively innovative ideas that hold the potential to complement the core sectors that John Keells Holdings PLC is currently engaged in, such that growth of their early stage business can be accelerated through aligning with any JKH business unit or industry vertical spanning Leisure, Transportation, Consumer Foods and Retail, Property, Financial Services, Information Technology and Plantation Services.
Applications for the John Keells X Open Innovation Challenge 2017 open from 2 May to 25 June 2017, and can be submitted through the event website: www.johnkeellsX.com. There, participants can also discover more information about the Accelerator Programme, including details of the selection process and basic guidance on how to get started. JKH will host a series of road shows and meet ups in order to provide guidance to the pool of potential applicants.
Shortlisted candidates will go on to a ‘Demo Day’ where they will pitch their ideas to an eminent panel of judges. The panel of judges for this year will comprise Ajit Gunewardene (Deputy Chairman - JKH), Ronnie Peiris (Group Finance Director - JKH), Krishan Balendra (President, Leisure Sector/Director - JKH), Gihan Cooray (President, Retail Sector/Director - JKH), Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya (Regional CEO - Axiata Group South Asia/Non-Executive Director - JKH), Jonathan Alles (Managing Director/CEO - Hatton National Bank PLC), and Ramesh Shanmuganathan (Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer - JKH)
Up to seven of the best teams from Demo Day will thereafter be selected to participate in a six month Accelerator Program running from November through to April 2018. Through this programme, JKH will offer access to interact with JKH companies and  senior leadership level mentors at JKH along with opportunities for further investment in the selected winning entities during or after the six month Accelerator Program.
Notably, the interaction with John Keells X does not end with ‘Demo Day’. The relationships built with JKH will help individuals and teams navigate the tough path of a start-up with much greater confidence. JKH may also support this year’s most promising start ups to secure long term funding provided they are capable of meeting the Group’s rigorous internal evaluation criteria.

John Keells Holdings PLC is Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange. From managing hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives to providing port, marine fuel and logistics services to IT solutions, manufacturing of food and beverages to running a chain of supermarkets, tea broking to stock broking, life insurance and banking to real estate, inbound and outbound travel, JKH has made its presence felt in virtually every major sphere of the economy. Since modest beginnings as a produce and exchange broker in the early 1870s, it has been known to constantly re-invent, re-align and reposition itself in exploring new avenues of growth.
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The Body Shop’s 100% vegetarian Almond Milk & Honey range; formulated without colourants and  ideal to soothe sensitive skin
The Body Shop’s 100% vegetarian Almond Milk & Honey range;
formulated without colourants and  ideal to soothe sensitive skin
A soothingly timeless pairing of milk and honey gets an upgrade in the brand new body care range from The Body Shop. Treat sensitive skin with the care it deserves, with the inspired combination of almond oil, milk and honey that forms the base of this new range of products.

1-in-3 women believe that they have sensitive skin, and caring for this can be a joyless task. The Body Shop team has formulated a thoughtful range of skincare products to nourish, soothe and restore sensitive skin. With pleasurable textures and a hypoallergenic fragrance, this is for the woman who luxuriates in her skincare routine.

The Almond Milk and Honey range is 100% vegetarian and has been formulated without colourants. It was dermatologically tested on a large group of volunteers and an overwhelming majority of women found the range the ideal balm to soothe sensitive skin, with 95% saying that they would recommend the body lotion to others with sensitive skin. This Soothing and Restoring Body Lotion protects against uncomfortable, tight and itchy skin with silky smooth, fast-absorbing and lightweight moisture that lasts for 48 hours.

In the shower, choose from several options. The real crushed almond shells in the Gently Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub will gently buff away at dead skin cells to leave skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. The Soothing and Caring Cleansing Bar works in harmony with the skin’s natural moisture levels to ease uncomfortable tightness. The Soothing and Caring Shower Cream is a specially formulated soap-free shower gel to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier and PH levels.

For after-shower indulgences, the Soothing and Restoring Body Butter enriched with natural oils provides 48 hours of intense moisture. For on-the-go care, pop the Calming and Protecting Hand Cream in your handbag.

It’s good for the planet, too. The almond oil used in the formula is sourced from almond nuts grown in the fertile Alicante region in Spain. It is a new addition to the Body Shop’s Enrich, Not Exploit range of Community Trade ethically sourced raw ingredient list, taking the brand a step closer to achieving its goal of doubling the number of ingredients on the list by 2020. The honey is sourced from the Sheka rainforest biosphere reserve via the beekeepers of Beza Mar, a group dedicated to improving the livelihoods and preserving the traditions of Ethiopian beekeeping communities.


The Almond, Milk and Honey body care range is available at The Body Shop flagship store on Bagatale Road and Odel on Alexandra Place. 

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, April 28, 2017

Pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collection showcased at the dinner
Pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collection showcased at the dinner
The movements of the stars have long inspired humanity to strive for greatness; to shape matter into forms that capture the essence of time itself. Celebrating this timeless legacy, iconic Swiss watchmakers Jaeger-LeCoultre hosted an intimate dinner to showcase its very latest Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2017 collection.
Together with exclusive brand partner Chatham Luxury, Jaeger-LeCoultre Brand Director Middle East, India, Turkey & Greece, Marc de Panafieu, Area Sales Manager Alejandro Garcia Estefan and astronomer Keith Cobby hosted a select gathering of Chatham’s patrons as they were invited to experience first-hand, a specially curated range of stunning timepieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rendez-Vous, Reverso, and Geophysic collections. The event was hosted under the stars at Governors Rooftop Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka.
The showcase was complemented by a presentation on Horology and Astronomy by Keith Cobby, during which invitees were presented with a deeper understanding of the intrinsic connection between the movements of the stars and their legacy in the measurement of time.
“Since our entry into Sri Lanka with our partners at Chatham Luxury, we have seen our customer base grow, and become more passionate about the legacy of elegance epitomized in Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatches, and we look forward to developing these relationships in future,” Marc de Panafieu noted.
Guests observing the Jaeger-LeCoultre collection on display at the event
Guests observing the Jaeger-LeCoultre collection on display at the event
Visionary watchmaker Antoine LeCoultre first founded his workshop in 1833. Ever since, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been synonymous with a style that has elicited the same wonderment decade after decade. Over the past century, Jaeger-LeCoultre has created masterpieces like the Millionometer , and paved the way for the precise manufacture of watch parts, the keyless watch, and many more of the world’s most stylish and complex wristwatches. Utilising stones such as meteorite stone and lapis lazuli, these timepieces have been designed for those who value time, and seek to celebrate its momentary and fleeting nature.
The latest collection from Jaeger-LeCoultre represents the most advanced distillation of the brand’s time honored signature style, blending impeccable timekeeping accuracy with breathtaking artistry and craftsmanship to produce wristwatches of unmatched elegance.

Among the masterful pieces displayed at the event was the new Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time in Platinum. One of the most visually impressive watches in the Jaeger-LeCoultre SIHH 2017 collection, the new range combines a world-time complication with an "orbital" flying tourbillon allowing the time in twenty-four cities around the world to be read simultaneously. Available in a limited series of 100 pieces, the Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time watch is a testament to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s remarkable watchmaking skills expressed through the ease-of-use and operating.
Products from The Body Shop’s Almond Milk and Honey collection designed to nourish, soothe and restore sensitive skin
Products from The Body Shop’s Almond Milk and Honey
 collection designed to nourish, soothe and restore sensitive skin
The Body Shop in Sri Lanka together with the Hilton Colombo hosted invitees at a session about sensitive skin and superfood for skin on Thursday, 20 April. A soothingly timeless pairing of milk and honey gets an upgrade in the brand new body care range from The Body Shop. Ms Aradhika Mehta, Head- Marketing, The Body Shop Sri Lanka, introduces the brand and the new range to all the invitees. Superfoods are the next big thing in both beauty and cuisine, and the Hilton’s Chef de Cuisine Chamlie Waidyaratne and Pastry Chef Ranjith Kapukotuwa explored this topic alongside. The event was attended by beauty bloggers as well as guests of Hilton Colombo.

Ms Aradhika Mehta stated “1-in-3 women believe that they have sensitive skin, and caring for this can be a joyless task. The Body Shop has formulated a thoughtful range of skincare products to nourish, soothe and restore sensitive skin. With pleasurable textures and a hypoallergenic fragrance, this is for the woman who luxuriates in her skincare routine.”  The Almond Milk and Honey range is 100% vegetarian and has been formulated without colourants. It was dermatologically tested on a large group of volunteers and an overwhelming majority of women found the range the ideal balm to soothe sensitive skin, with 95% saying that they would recommend the body lotion to others with sensitive skin. This Soothing and Restoring Body Lotion protects against uncomfortable, tight and itchy skin with silky smooth, fast-absorbing and lightweight moisture that lasts for 48 hours.

In the shower, choose from several options. The real crushed almond shells in the Gently Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub will gently buff away at dead skin cells to leave skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. The Soothing and Caring Cleansing Bar works in harmony with the skin’s natural moisture levels to ease uncomfortable tightness. The Soothing and Caring Shower Cream is a specially formulated soap-free shower gel to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier and PH levels.

Arrangements of The Body Shop’s Almond Milk and Honey range displayed at the event
Arrangements of The Body Shop’s Almond Milk and
Honey range displayed at the event
Aradhika Mehta also guided the attendees through a range of The Body Shop superfood products that they could add to their beauty routine. She recommended the expert facial masks, available in four variants for different results which could also be used in combination when multi-masking. All four-Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask, Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask and Amazonian Acai Energizing Radiance Mask-use ethically sourced, 100% vegetarian products that are perfect for the skin.


Both product ranges are available at The Body Shop stores on Bagatale Road and Odel on Alexandra Place. 


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. 

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