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London Stock Exchange Group empowers female founders

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The current women’s economic empowerment interventions around the world have proven that there are many obstacles faced by female entrepreneurs. The emerging evidence from psychology and experimental economics on agency, mindset, and leadership show that for successful interventions to be transformative, they need to move beyond basic access to financial and human capital and also tackle central psychological, social, and skill-constraints on women entrepreneurs.

Seeing this need, London Stock Exchange Group Sri Lanka (LSEG) chose to partner and drive Hatch’s KICKASS Series 4, which is geared towards empowering women entrepreneurs.

Having first started in March, Hatch; the hub for all things startup, completed three cohorts of its programme tailored to nurturing female founders and is now ready to launch the fourth iteration of its incubation programme to support and empower a whole new group of women in business, together with LSEG. As a dedicated space for growth and collaboration with the goal of supporting innovators and entrepreneurs, Hatch and the Kickass Bootcamp series complements LSEG’s goal of championing gender equality and empowering entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. The programme is specially designed for women and addresses gender-specific concerns faced by women in business while encouraging networking, knowledge-sharing and mentorship from peers and industry experts. LSEG understands that this is an integral part of creating a foundation for female-led businesses to thrive.

As a leading global business with an expansive footprint in Sri Lanka, LSEG strongly believes in contributing to the communities in which the organization operates in. As such and as a part of their CSR and sustainability mandate, the organisation is committed to supporting gender equality and entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the country’s long-term social and economic development. Furthermore, LSEG’s company-wide flagship initiative – the Women Inspired Network (WIN) – embodies these ideals and focuses on nurturing talent at all levels, both internally and externally.

Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at LSEG SL, Bani Chandrasena said “We believe that some of the main challenges female entrepreneurs face is the lack of access to funding channels and to the right know-how in order to grow their businesses. As such, LSEG finds it important to channel our efforts towards addressing these issues via targeted funding and programmes such as the Hatch Kickass Bootcamp, with the inclusion and support of other corporates.”

Throughout the years, LSEG has continued to work with local and global charity partners to conduct numerous initiatives that support their long-term CSR objectives. In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020, they partnered with Apeksha, a female-led organisation that provides sustainable employment for visually impaired women to raise LKR 400,000 by staff locally and in the APAC region with all proceeds going to the charity. They continue to work with the Sri Lanka Welfare Society of the Blind Women in order to support its self-employment fund, along with partnering local universities for multiple programmes promoting women in IT, and forums such as The Diversity Collective LK that are committed to increasing female engagement in the ICT and service industries.



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Aitken Spence invests in yet another renewable energy project in hydropower

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Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC accepting the share transfer form from Harsha Abeywickrama – chairman Sunshine Energy Ltd; in the presence of Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Dr. Rohan Fernando – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam – Chief Financial Officer Aitken Spence PLC and Leel Wickremarachchi – Managing Director of the power segment from Aitken Spence PLC. Shyam Sathasivam – Managing Director, Sunshine Energy Ltd. and Harin Udeshi – Director, Waltrim Energy Ltd.

Aitken Spence PLC recently acquired Waltrim Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings PLC for Rs. 900 million. The company contributes 6.6MW to the national grid via three mini hydropower plants located in the Nuwara Eliya district, namely of Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited, Upper Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited and Elgin Hydropower (Private) Limited. Waltrim hydropower draws energy from Kothmala Oya, Upper Waltrim hydropower and Elgin hydropower from Dambagasthwala Oya.

Aitken Spence expands its portfolio in hydropower in the pursuit of meeting rising energy demands, sustainable development, access to clean energy and lowering our national carbon footprint. This is the second hydropower plant which is owned and operated by Aitken Spence. Branford Hydropower (Pvt) Ltd. is the other hydropower plant with a 2.5MW capacity located in Matale. The company also owns and operates a wind power plant with 3MW capacity located in Ambewela.

“This is yet another investment made by Aitken Spence that shows our commitment to expand the power generation portfolio with renewable energy projects. Hydro power plays a key role in renewable energy segment in Sri Lanka and this initiative strengthens the country’s efforts to move towards cleaner energy sources and effective and efficient management of sustainable and affordable generation of energy supplied to the national grid,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

“Aitken Spence maintains highest environmental, safety and quality standards in the management of our power plants. These stringent management frameworks will be extended to the newly acquired power plants to meet compliance requirements as well as global benchmarks for cleaner production of energy,” added Leel Wickremarachchi, Managing Director of the power segment of Aitken Spence.

The Power segment of Aitken Spence is a leading player in the sector with a reputation for investing in pioneering technologies and has diversified into renewable energy by establishing hydro power and wind power plants to support Sri Lanka’s demand for energy. With their commitment to increase the country’s energy consumption from renewable energy sources, the company recently introduced Sri Lanka’s first waste to energy power plant that was officially launched in February 2021. Moreover, these initiatives are in line with the collective efforts of government and the private sector to produce clean energy sustainably.

 

 

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Best Woman Entrepreneur at Entrepreneur Awards 2020

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Christell Skin Clinic proved their mettle as industry leaders yet again, by clinching the three topmost awards at the recently held Western Province Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony 2020. The highly-anticipated annual event -jointly organised by the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka- took place this year at the BMICH.

The event brought together industry leaders and newcomers with the aim to recognise and honour micro, small, medium and large sector entrepreneurs that have contributed significantly to Sri Lanka’s service sector over the past year.

The country’s leading aesthetics and wellness centre took home The Best Enterprise service sector trophy, as well as the Best Entrepreneur of the Year award – the most sought-after prize of the night. More notably however, the Best Woman Entrepreneur title was awarded to the director of the Christell Skin Clinic, Dr. Shanika Arsecularatne, in recognition of her inspirational journey to becoming one of the most successful businesswomen in the country, and also of her outstanding contribution to the field of cosmetology and wellness in Sri Lanka.

“I’m truly honoured to receive this recognition, especially because I believe that no one receives an award like this out of sheer luck, but rather in acknowledgement and appreciation of the hard work, sleepless nights and sacrifices we have all made, to be where we are today,” said Dr. Arsecularatne on accepting her award.

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Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete car park in Sri Lanka

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The car park of the Walgama Food City with its new “Paving with Plastic”

As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Cargills holds a strong commitment to serving the nation and preserving the planet for future generations. By partnering with AGC Innovate Pvt Ltd – one of the country’s leading innovative solutions providers – Cargills initiated the launch of “Paving with Plastic” as a means to address Sri Lanka’s plastic waste menace in an ecofriendly and pragmatic approach.

The benefits of plastic are irrefutable – this versatile material is ubiquitous in our everyday lives, due to it being cheap and convenient to produce as well as being highly durable and user friendly. However, once used and disposed, plastic lingers in the environment for too long and does not decompose.

As a result, the inherent problem of plastic pollution is a global crisis, with Sri Lanka generating approximately 7000 metric tons of mismanaged solid waste daily, with 6% accounting for plastic and polythene waste. Therefore, in the absence of a proper waste management system, non-recyclable plastic is dumped in large landfill sites. These sites are now exceeding their maximum capacity, and has led to pressing environmental and social concerns in the country.

As a first step to tackling this waste plastic problem, Cargills made a landmark decision to pave the Cargills Food City Carparks using Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete, partnering with AGC Innovate.

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