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DateLine Tuesday, 12 June 2007

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Multiplying businesses through machine-building

Made in Sri Lanka by Ruwanthi Abeyakoon

ENTREPRENEUR WITH A HEART: His aim is to provide the opportunity for others to start their own businesses while earning a living. The Proprietor, Asoka Industries and Hardware, Nihal Asoka Egodage, manufactures of several machines using the resources in Sri Lanka.

"I manufacture machines and others can use them to start their own business. They can find employment through this. My business helps the birth of several new businesses," he said.

Nihal Asoka Egodage

"I established the first factory in Karamatiya, Hambantota in 1987. First we were not manufacturing machines but were involved in welding and manufacturing items for contractors. Then I ventured into manufacturing machines. I started in a small way.

In 1994 I shifted the factory to Kirama. I started the factory on my own," he explained.

Egodage manufactures cake mixers, blenders, yogurt incubators, driers, oil expellers, flour mixers, fish smokers, bottle sealers, coconut blenders and dough sheeting machines at his factory.

There are twelve experienced and talented workers under him. "I teach them. The assistance I get from my family and my staff has paved the way to success. The business started with the guidance of my father. He used to repair the machines at a tea factory.

He assisted me in my business. After completing my studies I worked at a machine-manufacturing factory for three years. With that experience and the guidance of my father, I was able to start off my own business," Egodage explained.

Some machines produced with local materials.

"There is no specific time period to manufacture the machines. We manufacture around two oil expellers and two gingerly roll machines for a month. Meanwhile, we take other orders and manufacture machines according to the needs of the customers," he added.

He has customers islandwide and provides his service to anyone in need. "There is a good market for the machines. Our business is not restricted only to Hambatota. We get orders from all over the island.

We frequently get orders from the Industrial Development Board and Ambilipitiya Cathyreech food processing company. I am a member of the Hambantota Chamber of Commerce and Industries. The chamber directs customers to me. The Business for Peace Alliance also assists me in my business," he said.

Egodage recalls the invention of the oil expeller as his greatest achievement. "I worked hard to invent this machine and my greatest victory was inventing the oil expeller.

I got the idea in 1992. I tried to invent it with my father's help but it was not successful. In 1995, I tried again and it was successful. I invented the first oil-expelling machine in Sri Lanka. There were no imported oil expellers too. I got the opportunity to export the oil expeller to America in 2002. The yogurt incubator, which we manufacture, was also exported to California," he said.

"We use local iron to manufacture the machines. In 2005, I won the gold award for the best entrepreneur. At present I have the knowledge to manufacture 13 machines including two of my own inventions. My business has expanded and I own vehicles and buildings of my own. I hope to improve my business further and serve the country," he said.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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