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Dr. Cornelius Boersch confident in Sri Lanka as haven for Global Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors



(From Left) Managing GP, BOV Capital Ltd - Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Super Angel Investor - Dr. Cornelius Boersch, Founder, Veracity AI - Jeevan Gnanam, and Co-Founder, Hatch Works - Nathan Sivaganathan at the live discussion held at Hatch Works on Oct 13.

Dr. Cornelius ‘Conny’ Boersch is the most active Tech-Investor in Europe; and the largest Venture Capitalist in Latin America.

Keen to promote the replication of proven, successful models and business ideas for implementation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka continues to have an untapped market, with very little risk for investors, given the potential of the market.

Dr Cornelius Boersch – European Business Angel of the Year (2009) and a Certified Super Angel by the European Investment Fund (EIF), during his first visit to Sri Lanka this year partook in a private event held on October 13, 2021 at Hatch Works in Colombo. The event which welcomed a limited number of guests, was broadcasted via Facebook Live for local and global audiences.

Conducted in partnership with Hatch Works, Lion ventures, and The Council for Startups, the event featured a conversation-style knowledge sharing session with Dr. Boersch, led by Founder, Veracity AI – Jeevan Gnanam, and was later joined by Co-Founder, Hatch Works – Nathan Sivaganathan and Managing GP, BOV Capital Ltd – Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, and was concluded with a Q&A session.

Speaking at the event, Dr Boersch noted “There is no shortage of knowledge, talent or passion in Sri Lanka. However, the biggest challenge I see here is the conservative mindset and the belief that the Sri Lankan market works differently compared to the rest of the world. When I started the largest food delivery company in Europe many people said that this model could not be applied to countries such as India and even Saudi Arabia, but we see that the food delivery companies are the most successful businesses in today’s market.

The world has become so similar that ideas that work in London and Berlin can also work in Colombo. Sri Lanka has one great advantage (although you may see this as negative), you are five years behind. This means you don’t have to make the same mistakes that others have, you can instead replicate models that have been tried and tested and developed to be successful. There are business models that can be applied to any market, and entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you have to create something new. I see the potential in Sri Lanka.”

General Partner, Lion Ventures – Love Yadav, the key personality behind the partnership with Dr. Cornelius Boersch, noted “As early stage investors we look for new opportunities and it is apparent that Sri Lanka is ideal where untapped potential is concerned. After successfully deploying capital for the first round of funding, Lion Ventures is closing in on its second round of funding wherein 60% of its capital will go towards venture build up ideas and the remaining 40% towards promising local startups that are easily scalable and globally transportable. I would like to thank the Board of investments and its Chairman Mr Sanjaya Mohottala who has played an integral role in the success of this trip”.

Dr Boersch spoke passionately about the need for replicating models proven for success in other markets, but adapting them to Sri Lanka’s market. Whilst his focus remains on developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sri Lanka, he also delved into the concept of changing the local mindset, and for serial entrepreneurs to take on the role of investors to help newer entrants. His three-day business tour of Sri Lanka included discussions with the Founders of promising startups, The Council of Startups, Port City commission; as well as private meetings with top business houses and a courtesy visit with the Minister of Youth & Sports and Development Coordination & Supervision – Namal Rajapaksa, where the future of Sri Lanka’s strategic digital revolution was discussed in depth. Acting in partnership with Lion Ventures – a private investment vehicle formed to make long term investments through a venture build up structure focussed on digital transformation and clean technology models Dr Boersch aims to fast-track his strategic goal of further developing Sri Lanka’s local market and its entrepreneurial prowess, as he is set to revolutionise Sri Lanka’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Investment Director, Mountain Partners – Jorge Perez Garcia concluded: “Sri Lanka is at the inflection point of digital disruption as the Sri Lankan Startup ecosystem is ready to bloom. During this short but insightful visit to its capital, Colombo, we have been inspired by the talent of founders and managers alike, as well as by the new measures that the government will put in place in the coming months to support entrepreneurship. We are clear this is a pivotal moment for the country; we have seen it many times in other countries around the World and we see the same starting in Sri Lanka. Together with our local partner, Lion Ventures, we are starting a journey to capture opportunities in the digital space through our Company Builder and Early Stage Fund. With them, we plan to nurture and boost the local talent, bring successful disruptive business models to the country and back some of the most promising local teams. We want to invite every family office, investor, manager and entrepreneur to join us in this exciting journey that will boost the country’s long-term economic growth and open the door to a brighter future for new generations to come.

As the founder of Mountain Partners AG and Conny & Co. AG, Dr Boersch has been an entrepreneur since 1990 and the founder of ACG AG, a leading company in the RFID market. He was also the Founder/ Chairman of Rocket Internet, a multi billion dollar global company. His global portfolio also includes space logistics and drone technology. (News release)

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ESOFT Metro Campus holds Graduation Ceremony 2021



Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group (Right) presenting a certificate to a graduate

The Annual Graduation Ceremony of ESOFT Metro Campus was held at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall (BMICH) on the 23rd and 24th of November 2021. A total of 1,800 students graduated at this year’s event. Successful students received their Pearson BTEC Higher National Diplomas, Pearson Level 7 Qualifications, London Metropolitan University (UK) Degrees and MBA’s, Kingston University (UK) Degrees and MSc’s.

It was held across two days and split into 9 sessions, to be in full compliance with health guidelines. In addition to the conferring of degrees, batch tops were awarded gold medals and special awards were made to the top achievers of the programmes.

Keynote addresses were by an eminent group of academics and industry leaders including Mr. Conard Dias CEO, LOLC Finance PLC, Mr. Thushera Kawdawatta – CEO, Axiata Digital Labs, Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group, Dr. Sampath Wahala – Chairman, Sri Lanka Accreditation Board, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe – Managing Director and joint Managing Partner Moore Stephens Consulting (Pvt) Ltd and Moore Stephens Aiyar, Prof. A.A.C Abeysinghe – M.Phil. PhD Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Management & Finance, University of Colombo.

Foreign delegates from the University Partners were present virtually and delivered their speeches and wishes for the graduates via video. The Virtusa careers team were also present on both days in order to provide career opportunities to the young and successful graduates. ESOFT prides itself in producing graduates who are work-ready and able to take on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new economy.

ESOFT has a rich history of 21 years and is the largest private sector higher education network in Sri Lanka, and offers a variety of programmes through an extensive island-wide network of over 40 branches and serves over 40,000 learners each year in a range of programmes from school leaver courses to postgraduate programmes.

ESOFT partnered with Kingston University London in 2012 to offer undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in engineering and soon established a dedicated College of Engineering in Katubedda. In 2013, they partnered with London Metropolitan University to offer a range of programmes leading to undergraduate and postgraduate awards in Computing, Business, Hospitality, and Travel & Tourism. A range of MSc programmes in IT and an International Doctoral programme for IT, Science and Engineering research areas, has also been introduced via Kingston University.

The ESOFT Group has won local and international awards from Pearson (UK), BCS (UK), NBQSA, National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka in recognition of their academic excellence and business performance. Their pinnacle accomplishment was to be recognized by the Sri Lankan Government as a Non-state Degree Awarding Institution in 2019.

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Coconut industry products raking in forex to the tune of $ 7000 yearly – State Minister



By Steve A. Morrell

Earnings from exporting coconut products amounted to $ 7000 annually. Such exports include jaggery and treacle, which are key products relating to the coconut industry, State Minister of Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion Arundika Fernando said.

Although coconut, as part of the plantation industry, was not given due recognition, it was now a distinct contributor to forex earnings and was of significant importance to the economy of the country, Fernando said.

The State Minister added: “Development of the coconut plantations includes value addition promotion to its various products, which are now key to sustaining the coconut plantations.

“Such development included propagation of 600,000 nursery plants for distribution among smallholders and large-scale plantations to add further progress to the industry. As a result, the coconut industry is part of the mainstream economy.

“The coconut industry made a substantial financial contribution to the economy of the country. Value addition in all products was key to development. Coconut products, used extensively in allied local industries, were contributors to value addition. This is efficiently handled by the private sector.

“Collaboration with the Jaffna University was on-going to develop kitul and palmyrah.

“Soil testing and further inputs were envisaged for development.

“Export markets would include Europe, Canada and the US. This is particularly true of kitul treacle and jaggery. Value of these exports would reach approximately $ 2 million.”

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INSEE Cement’s 360-Degree Approach Eases Cement Shortage in Sri Lanka



Operating at maximum production capacity with optimized distribution channels for a number of weeks, INSEE Cement has successfully helped to mitigate the cement shortage that was prevailing in the local market. INSEE Cement’s concentrated and immediate contingency measures across its entire operation at the onset of the shortage ensured an uninterrupted market supply of cement, while also logging a record-high 700,000 MT production output during the third quarter of 2021 for the company.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer, INSEE Cement took on the responsibility to ensure the local construction industry’s post-COVID-19 revival remained on its trajectory,” stated Gustavo Navarro, Chief Executive Officer at INSEE Cement Sri Lanka. “We continued to fully support government regulations and industrial policies to first stabilize the market, and were able to deploy our island-wide distribution and dealership network to ensure an uninterrupted supply across the island. The loyalty and patience of our customers gave us that extra encouragement we needed to overcome the challenge.”

INSEE Cement operates at a 3.6MT maximum capacity, with a 1.5MT production at the Galle plant, a 1.3MT output from the Puttalam facility and a 0.8MT import capacity at the Colombo Cement Terminal. To mitigate the shortage the company introduced two more additional import vessels to its logistics operation to accelerate production and distribution cycles.



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