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Thai Sumeda incense sticks break into Canadian market

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By Steve A. Morrell

Thai Sumedha incense sticks exported to many countries have now broken into the Canadian market. Hitherto, India was the main exporter of this commodity. Breaking into the trade was extremely difficult, said sole proprietor Sumedha Elpitiya at the recent launch of Sumedha incense sticks exports to Canada.

Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena and Minister of Industries Wimal Weerawansa were Joint Guests of Honour at the launch of this commodity to be exported to Canada.

Addressing the audience Minister Gunawardena said until recently our traditional exports were those commenced during the time of the British, who concentrated on the export of tea, rubber, coconut and other commodities. But all such products, although originating in this country, were products that were introduced by others . However, in this instance, the export of incense sticks under the brand name Thai Sumedha was a break from what we have been accustomed to. That too to a Western market like Canada, where similar products are perhaps not popular.

‘Irrespective of such a restrictive trade atmosphere, Thai Sumedha incense sticks to Canada marks a new chapter in exports, with the ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ brand that could be used in such export products . The President, informed of this product and the ground breaking reality of such exports reiterated support that the government would extend to ensure the product would reach more international markets, the minister said.

‘Incense sticks were traditionally exported by India to most other countries. Thanks to efforts of Sumedha Epitiya, it is now significant that such products are exported to other countries and reports are that such products were extremely well received. Value of exports of this product according recent information is now $ 22 million . The Cabinet was fully briefed on the firm quality of the product and Cabinet support too would be forthcoming, Gunawardena added.

Minister of Industries, Wimal Weerawansa after launch of the ceremonial package of Thai Sumedha Incense sticks destined to Canada said industries of such innovation and breaking with tradition will be supported by this government.

He said his ministry, the Ministry of Industries , responsible for such industries, would respond positively and encourage their expansion.

Chairman, Thai Sumedha Incense Sticks said while in Thailand to buy garments for his apparel outlet, he decided to visit temples in Bangkok and met a Sri Lankan monk . The monk advised him to develop high quality packs of incense sticks. He said he was diffident at first, that his products may not be marketable, but because of his strong entrepreneurial mind, set up its manufacture and production. In tribute to the origins of this product, he branded the product Thai Sumedha Incense Sticks. Combining the words Thailand and his own name Sumedha.

He was conscious of yet an un explored market and was determined to establish quality that would ensure his product would be accepted internationally.

Thai Sumedha Incense Sticks are now exported to the US, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Maldives, Tanzania, Czechoslovakia , UK, Singapore, and Lithuania. Exports to Canada were inaugurated that evening.



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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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