The Sri Lankan Chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), the world’s largest peer-to-peer network of entrepreneurs, successfully concluded its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the year 2022 at the Port City Colombo. In line with EO’s core mission of engaging with leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, the day’s schedule witnessed a variety of activities including addresses from key global and leaders within the organization. The key highlights of the AGM included a review of the past year’s activities, keynote address by EO Global Chair MarcStockli, a speech by incoming President of the EO Sri Lanka ChapterJithendranGajendran, water sports activities and a special segment by dynamic comedy duo Blok and Dino who shared their insights on their personal entrepreneurial journey of the past few years.
Additionally, the incoming team of Board Members was also introduced to the large gathering. Sri Lanka has experienced numerous challenges over the past two and a half years, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and the ongoing economic crisis that is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Given such a backdrop, Marc Stockli highlighted the resilience of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs who continue to strive for success while showcasing high levels of flexibility and adaptability amidst difficult operating conditions of the global impact of the pandemic and the unprecedented economic challenges faced in Sri Lanka at the moment. He also commended EO Sri Lanka for taking initiative during this crisis to use their skills and resources to uplift underprivileged communities in the country. During his speech,Incoming President of EO Sri Lanka JithendranGajendran outlined the goals and objectives of the organization for the upcoming year, stating, “As a country we are faced with unprecedented challenges, both from a social and economic standpoint.
EO Sri Lanka chooses to be inspired from the traditional Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken and damaged pottery is rebuilt with gold so that the broken parts are now the strongest and the more beautiful aspect of the pottery. We believe this is a good metaphor for the resilience of the Sri Lankan spirit.” Gajendranalso emphasized that EO Sri Lanka’s focus this year is to understand key areas for development within the organization and to support the growth of entrepreneurs in the country. “It is our collective belief that within us lies the intuition and genius that can make us stronger and smarter so that we can again rebuild Sri Lanka” he added. Additionally, based on the success of the Save Sri Lanka project so far, EO Sri Lanka unanimously decided to continue on with the project where the main focus is to provide much needed medications to underprivileged communities or state hospitals.
About EO Sri Lanka Entrepreneur’s Organization is a global, peer-to-peer network of business founders and builders who gain the wisdom and support needed to realize ambitions and move the world forward, together. EO Sri Lanka is comprised of leaders, founders, builders and changemakers who share a passion for entrepreneurship. It is an organization that helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential in business and personal life through life-enhancing connections, shared experiences and collaborative learning. EO Sri Lanka is community with fellowship that fuels growth. For more information on Entrepreneur’s Organization – Sri Lankan Chapter, please visit their website on www.eonetwork.org/srilanka.
Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023
Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.
SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.
“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”
The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”
Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.
David Pieris Group imparts three-wheeler mechanic skills to 20 women in Jaffna
Producing skilled female labour and encouraging active participation of women in the economy of the Nation, the David Pieris Group successfully concluded another mechanical training programme in Jaffna recently.
The women who completed the programme titled ‘Empowering Women Through Technical Training’ received a NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) Level 01 certificate and comprehensive 02 tool kits at the awards ceremony held at the North Gate Hotel, Jaffna on the 09th November 2022. 20 women from the Northern Province including the Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts participated in this programme.
This programme, was initiated by the David Pieris Group in association with the Sri Lanka Women’s Bureau under the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment in 2017 and is the first and only mechanic based technical Programme exclusively targeting women.
Speaking at the ceremony Samantha Silva, Chief Marketing Officer, David Pieris Motor Company (Pvt.) Ltd said; “This initiative will provide the technical training required to attend to any type of repair related to three-wheelers with the ultimate goal of creating trained, certified women mechanics, especially in the Northern Province which has an increased percentage of women led families and communities post three decades of civil war.”
The candidates for the programme were selected in collaboration with the DPMC Dealer network in the Northern Province. Upon completing the theory segment of the technical training, the candidates had the opportunity of attending to practical repair work at DPMC service dealers in their respective areas in order to gain necessary and valuable hands- on experience. At the conclusion of the programme subject to a final assessment, they were certified as mechanics.
Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism
Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.
“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.
As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.
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