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Green Energy Innovation at Demo Day 2022

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(From Left to Right) Eyas Fazul – Founder of Rhoda; Sahan Ranasinghe – Founder of Sanota; Balachandran Ramesh and Rathypriya Ramesh – Founders of Ecosteem; Christiane Einfeldt – Country Director of GIZ Sri Lanka; Holger Seubert – Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sri Lanka and the Maldives; Ranjith Sepala – Chairman of Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority; Sriyani Wijethilaka and Rohitha Ananda – Founders of Eco Tech Base; and Chamara Gomes – CEO of Route Sonar.

The fourth edition of the Green Energy Champion (GEC) competition has moved into its final phase with the launch of the ‘Demo Day’ where the winning five green energy innovators – namely Ecosteem, Sanota, Rhoda, Route Sonar and Eco Tech Base – presented their solutions to an audience comprising local and international industry leaders, investors, business executives, and several other dignitaries.

The Green Energy Champion competition is set to identify the most promising ideas and innovations from the thriving Sri Lankan start-ups and small and medium enterprises. The winning innovations ranged from smart mobility solutions like route optimization and the first Sri-Lankan e-bike, affordable solar powered rooftiles and hot water systems to a household-based organic fertilizer and biogas solution.

GEC’s Demo Day was livestreamed on 3rd February 2022. After the welcome by Country Director of GIZ Sri Lanka, Christiane Einfeldt, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Holger Seubert, and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority, Ranjith Sepala, addressed the gathering as guests of honour.

In his keynote address, Sepala, highlighted the ambitious goals Sri Lanka has set: “Sri Lanka has begun an important journey towards completing carbon neutrality by 2050. In this journey, we have set a goal to realize 70% of electricity generated by renewable energy sources by 2030. We are delighted that the Federal Foreign Office of Germany joined hands with us by commissioning the Green Energy Champions initiative which is certainly a timely landmark project for Sri Lanka. I congratulate the five green energy startup innovators and their renewable energy ideas and solutions towards a greener Sri Lanka.”

Ambassador Seubert in his address pointed out that the new German government has put climate change action at the forefront of their agenda. Congratulating the five winners, he added: “Green Energy Champion shows us every year that there is huge, untapped potential for creative ideas in the renewable energy sector here in Sri Lanka. Entrepreneurs and private sector are vital in the shift towards a greener economy. It is the innovations driven by companies which – enabled by the right policy frameworks – can scale sustainable solutions within very short timeframes.”

The founders of Ecosteem, Sanota, Rhoda, Route Sonar and Eco Tech Base pitched their business solutions to the investor and partner network gathered at the event, concluding Demo Day with a networking session aimed at facilitating alliances and partnerships among key green energy stakeholders.

During 2021, the five local green energy innovators had participated in a six-month accelerator programme with Hatch and Good Life X (GLX), which helped them fine-tune their business model, develop their products and build strong local and international business relationships in the Green Energy ecosystem.

After intensive capacity building and mentoring by renowned industry experts, the five teams are equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop their businesses further while simultaneously creating a positive impact on the environment, the community, as well as the economy.

The ‘Green Energy Champion’ is a programme that supports innovators who are driven to lead the Green Energy revolution. The project is commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the State Ministry of Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development, the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka.

For more information, please visit www.greenenergychampion.lk & follow us on facebook.com/greenenergychampion and instagram.com/greenenergychampion



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Seylan Bank takes the lead to promote LANKA QR beyond Western Province

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Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, organized the ‘Seylan Pay QR Carnival’ in Kurunegala to promote the LANKAQR programme introduced by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to strengthen digital transactions in Sri Lanka. The special programme, focusing on encouraging local merchants and SMEs to join the national QR transaction system, took place at the Vehera Sports Ground in Kurunegala recently. Officials from the Central bank of Sri Lanka, the Lanka QR Committee and partner banks were present at the event.

Organised as the 14th leg of the LankaQR national rollout campaign, the Seylan Pay QR Carnival set a firm footprint with the highest number of merchants at the event. Seylan Bank alone on boarded over 100 merchants for the SeylanPay payment solutions from the Kurunegala area. Over a thousand customers walked in during the event which benefitted many merchants accepting LankaQR, to process transactions on the day and generate great traction in the district since then.

As the key feature of the event, Seylan Bank educated their customers on the use of the Bank’s QR payment system, the SeylanPay Mobile App, and assisted customers in making payments to merchants. Over 50 stalls selling clothes and accessories, gift items, food, sweets, electronics and electrical equipment, plants, beauty care, cosmetic items and automobile parts were set up for the benefit of consumers, with attractive added discounts for customers using QR payment systems to purchase items, thereby encouraging and familiarizing the use of it among them. This marked a record high number of merchants participating among many LankaQR nationwide rollout campaigns that were organised to date. A Seylan Bank Mobile ATM was deployed at the premises, ensuring that customers had easy access to carry out cash withdrawals if required and check their account balances at any given time. In addition, a special fun zone was set up for children at the event premises, whilst a musical evening entertained the adults present at the Seylan Pay QR Carnival.

“Seylan Bank’s commitment to develop the banking and finance network together with the industry led to us hosting the 14th leg of the Lanka QR national rollout campaign. We also realize the potential this system brings to the SME sector in the country, in terms of transaction efficiency and savings. As a bank that has continued to support SMEs in the country in a wide spectrum, the alliance with Lanka QR helps in developing the entire transaction ecosystem of the country,” commented Chaminda Senewiratne, Head of Digital Banking Channels, Seylan Bank.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka introduced the LANKAQR service in October 2020 with the aim of moving towards a cash-less society while increasing financial inclusion in Sri Lanka, and was supported in this endeavour by Banks, licensed financial institutions and Lanka Clear (Pvt.) Ltd. It has already stood out as an attractive option with notable benefits for small and medium enterprises.

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Stylish Garments unveils its latest export-oriented BOI factory in Ambalangoda 

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With the Board of Investment (BOI) widening its projects, Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd, unveiled its sixth BOI approved factory in Ambalangoda which manufactures children’s wear, jerseys including school uniforms exclusively targeting the international market. The Stylish Garments is a renowned a garment manufacturer and exporter of jersey knit and lighter woven apparel products.

The latest project, which is a USD 3.5 million investment, is to generate 500 employment opportunities for people living in the south and other parts of the country. Moreover, the products are slated to be exported to the UK and Europe. The agreement in this regard was signed recently at the BOI Head Office in the presence of BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone.

The Director General said “A project of this nature should be recognized owing to the fact that it depicts the vibrant and vivid expansion of BOI projects, which has now started to reach the rural areas, The new venture will uplift the livelihood of the people living in the Ambalangoda area plus become a crucial source of bringing dollars to the country in a situation where the country isin dire need of dollars,” she underscored.

Founder and incumbent Chairman of the Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd Leelaratne Hattanarachchi said,” we were determined to launch the project irrespective of current challenges because such new projects would bring dollars to the country. That’s the very reason why I ventured to start operations at this new factory by turning the advantage of this crisis to ourselves. At the same time, we do appreciate the support rendered by the BOI at this critical juncture and look forward their support in future too.”

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Browns Investments solar power plant deal dominates CSE trading

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE’s leading listed company, Browns Investments, disposed of 50.1 per cent of its stake in Sagasolar Power Power (Private) Limited to another leading company, Aitken Spence Pvt. Ltd. yesterday, market sources said.

The total value of the company was Rs 1.4 billion and under this deal Browns Investments sold the stake for Rs 700 million. The capacity of the solar power plant is 10 megawatts, stock market analysts said.

Sagasolar Power built the solar PV facility on 45 acres (18.2 ha) of land within a dedicated energy development area in Baruthankanda, Hambantota district, Southern province. The country’s previous largest solar plant is a 1.3-MW facility also located in Hambantota.

Amid those developments, the trading activities in the stock market turned negative due to macro and micro economic uncertainties. Accordingly, stocks slipped over 1 per cent at mid-day trade yesterday for the third consecutive day, market analysis said.

The All- Share Price Index fell by 121 points and S and P SL20 went down by 50.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 982 million without any crossings. Top seven companies that that contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 274 million (3.5 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 185 million (1.2 million shares traded), JKH Rs 77 million (626,000 shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 59.8 million (9.9 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 58.9 million (8.9 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 32.6 million (89,000 shares traded) and Commercial Bank Rs 15.4 million (309,000 shares traded). During the day 51.5 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 share transactions.

Yesterday the Central Bank announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 356.04 and the selling price Rs 367.33.

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