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Lankan Angel Network & Angel Fund Appoint First Female Chairperson

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The Lankan Angel Network (LAN), the country’s largest network of angel investors, has appointed Chandi Dharmaratne as its Chairperson for 2021/2022, at its most recent Board Meeting held in September. Ms. Dharmaratne is the first woman to lead the Lankan Angel Network.

As she steps into this role, Ms. Dharmaratne succeeds Mano Sekaram, Founder/CEO – 99x, who welcomed her by stating; “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Chandi to take the reins of LAN and the Angel Fund. She has been an important person in the LAN ecosystem, and I can think of no better person to lead the Angel Fund as it continues to focus on creating positive change for our communities, and for Sri Lanka.”

Currently serving as the Vice President of Human Resources at Virtusa, Ms. Dharmaratne is responsible for the company’s global HR automation strategy. With a career that began in New York, Ms. Dharmaratne returned to Sri Lanka and joined MAS Holdings, where she has held many leadership roles for over a decade. In 2013, she joined Virtusa as the Head of HR for the Sri Lanka geography. Since then, Ms. Dharmaratne has forged an award-winning, and much accoladed career.

She is passionate about developing employability skills amongst the youth of Sri Lanka as well as encouraging IT industry growth and brain gain. She spearheads projects on these themes via the many organizations in which she has held numerous leadership and board positions, including SLASSCOM, ICTA, AMCHAM, Association of Human Resource Professionals in Sri Lanka, USAID and AISEC. She has also been involved in multiple university collaborations, for example with the Universities of Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Peradeniya, etc., in order to bring industry requirements into our local curricula.

Additionally, Ms. Dharmaratne has been recognized in Echelon’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women in Sri Lanka” and, in 2019, was included in its “New Establishment 100,” wherein only the most innovative and influential young leaders succeeding in many different areas of business were recognized.

Prior to taking up her new role as Chairperson, Ms. Dharmaratne served as a Board Member of LAN since 2019.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms. Dharmaratne said, “I am excited to take on this appointment as the first woman to chair the Lankan Angel Network. This is a particularly interesting time where change is accelerated, and adaptability is mandatory, in order for us to take advantage of new opportunities. With the excellent support from the talented, and well-experienced, industry insiders who make up this year’s Board, I am confident that we will be able to drive Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem to new heights.”

It is also noteworthy that the 2021/2022 Board, as well as being led by a woman, comprises 30% female representation overall – a significantly higher percentage than other corporates in the country.

Joining Ms. Dharmaratne on the 2021/2021 LAN Board Members are: Anarkali Moonesinghe, former CEO – CIMB Sri Lanka; Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Co-Founder/Managing Partner – BOV Capital; Dumindra Ratnayake, Chairman – Martin & George; Adil Mansoor, CEO – Promo Lanka; Kasturi Wilson, Group CEO – Hemas Holdings; Nathan Sivaganathan, Co-Founder – Hatch; Jeevan Gnanam, Co-Founder – Hatch; Lahiru Pathmalal, Founder/CEO – Takas.lk; and Sharhan Muhseen, Director – H2O ONE/Chairman – Platinum Advisors (Singapore).

Additionally, LAN announced the 2021/2022 Board Members for its Rs. 100 million Angel Fund, which is also chaired by Ms. Dharmaratne. The Fund’s Board further comprises Anarkali Moonesinghe, Mano Sekaram, Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Dumindra Ratnayake, Suren Pinto, Founder and CEO – Wavenet Group, and Channa Manoharan, Chief Operating Officer/Advisory Leader – PwC Sri Lanka.

LAN is a platform for angel and private investors that invest in high growth early-stage Sri Lankan ventures. The platform’s Rs. 100 million Angel Fund continues to identify and evaluate opportunities for investment across the island, including in traditionally underserved regions.

With plans to ultimately invest in six to 10 high potential startups in total, gearing them up to scale domestically, and even internationally, the Angel Fund is dedicated to investing in, and mentoring and supporting, early-stage startups across multiple sectors; from making investments at the early stages, to even helping startups identify sources for future funding.



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Integrated solid waste management initiative coupled with tree plantation launched at Hambantota Port

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The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

 Hambantota International Port launched its first integrated solid waste management initiative on Monday 11th on the Company Day of China Merchants Group (CMG), the parent company of CM Port. The initiative is a strategic approach to sustainably manage biodegradable solid waste. The process covers the source, generation, segregation, transfer, sorting, treatment, recovery and disposal of waste in an integrated manner.

 “The idea is to collect all biodegradable material including garbage from vessels calling at the port that can be converted into compost, and process it.  The processed product will be used as manure for trees that will be planted within the Port and Industrial zone,” says Jeevan M. Premasara, Senior General Manager HR & Admin at HIP.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

The launch of the sustainability drive under the theme ‘Healing the Environment’ coinciding with CMG’s company day, was done under the leadership of CEO Johnson Liu. The program also includes the planting of 500 trees of different varieties, recommended by the Hambantota dry zone Botanical gardens. Twenty-five trees were planted as part of phase 1 of the project, and the port plans to grow and nurture endemic trees that will enrich the biodiversity of the industrial zone and port premises.

“As we launch the first phase of this tree planting and waste management/recycling projects, we will take into consideration planting different types of endemic plants that will thrive in the sandy soil of the Hambantota area in the next phases of the project.  Apart from that, we understand the importance of proper waste management systems and hope to partner with the district’s main waste recycling projects in the future.  As we expand into various industries in the zone, we hope to make our surroundings greener and environmentally friendly, bringing us closer to our goal of becoming an entirely green port,” added the Senior General Manager HR & Admin.

 HIP’s global partner CMPort’s parent company, CMG’s company day commemorated 149 years of sustainable operations this year.  CMG, which is involved in numerous projects to protect and sustain the environment, spreads its sustainability mission across all its members, partners and associate organisations. The ‘Healing the Environment’ project undertaken by HIP is an extension of their international partner’s sustainability drive.

 The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

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Douglas & Sons Great Place to Work® Certified

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Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd (DSL) announced that it is certified as a Great Place to Work® by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. DSL earned this distinction based on extensive ratings received by its employees in an anonymous survey that was conducted by Great Place to Work®.

Commenting on the certification Saroj Perera, Chairman/Managing Director of Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd said, “We are extremely proud to receive this certification, as it comes amidst a challenging time for businesses in general, when there is a considerable amount of pressure put on both employees and employers to perform at very high levels. We believe that our employees are our strongest asset, and this certification further reconfirms that we are certainly an employer of choice, enabling our employees to reach their full potential, whilst contribution to the growth of the company.”

“We applaud DSL for seeking employees’ feedback and the opportunity to certify itself,” said Kshanika Ratnayake, CEO of Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with DSL should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

“According to the Great Place to Work® study, 92% percent of (total number of employees 372) employees say we are a great workplace,” said, Rohan Ariyawansa, Senior General Manager – Human Resources. “345 of our employees completed surveys, resulting in a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 5.”

Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd was established in 1986 with a vision to deliver excellence across the board and has today grown into a strong, diversified conglomerate with a passion for innovation that cares for the environment in the markets in which it operates. Its diversity and close ties with stakeholders in all key aspects of the economy forms the bedrock of its success in the country. Its access to key global players enables it to display and market Internationally reputed auto parts, tires, batteries and agricultural implements funnelled through its island-wide network of dealers.

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

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“DFCC Bank’s new ‘Auto Loan’ scheme provides affordable avenues for purchasing your dream vehicle”

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In its latest step to drive economic and social value creation, DFCC Bank, the pioneer in commercial banking, announced the launch of the ‘DFCC Auto Loan’ facility, an innovative vehicle loan scheme that enables greater affordability for consumers interested in purchasing automobiles.

The new DFCC Auto loan initiative introduces loan facilities of up to LKR 10 Mn, with an extended payment period. The facility provides the borrower with leverage to afford a vehicle of their choice, through a structured repayment plan, inclusive of a residual value. It also includes an embedded rollover option that enables the client to continue the loan for an extra few years without settling the residual at the end of the loan period subject to a maximum overall tenure of 8 years. The borrower thereby receives the option of settling the residual by disposing the current vehicle and obtaining a fresh loan for a new vehicle, instead. The prime goal of the loan scheme is to enable customers to buy their dream vehicle, through an affordable monthly instalment plan with reduced risk and an increased loan period.

The loan facility will be applicable only for all cars, vans, SUVs and double cabs that customers choose to purchase.

DFCC Bank firmly believes that it is of paramount importance to enhance the affordability of vehicles as a path towards uplifting the standard of living, while securing economic growth and the financial stability of its customers. The lack of access to affordable customer-centric loan facilities, and severely restricted cash flows due to stagnant economic conditions in light of the pandemic, have proved to be a significant hurdle in the path of economic development. Having noted the existing economic issues faced by customers, DFCC Bank’s ‘Auto Loan’ scheme, which extends to a significant portion of society, stands to have notable positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

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