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DateLine Tuesday, 11 November 2008

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Government Gazette


Colombo MBA website launch today

Sri Lankan businesses have been resilient in the face of adversity and one of the foremost reasons is the leaders behind these businesses.

Businesses that thrive in today’s modern context are spearheaded by those with immense commitment, passion, integrity and creativity. As a tribute to such leaders and as a source of encouragement for our country’s future business leaders, The University of Colombo promotes itself as a maker of such, thereby introducing a website about current leaders in the country. The objective behind this is to help the development of entrepreneurship within the country and to get inspiration from current leaders in terms of shaping their future dreams, so that they can become leading people in society and in a business environment.

In Sri Lanka it is somewhat difficult to find life experiences of leading Sri Lankan personalities and entrepreneurs as a collection which would be helpful for upcoming future leaders. To fill this information gap, MBA students in 2007-2009 batch of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance under the initiative and guidance of Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne have interviewed nearly 70 leading personalities in the country. The MBA batch of 2007-2009 has created www.srilankaleaders.com, where the interviewed articles will be published as an e-booklet.

The MBA batch invites all our future leaders to get into this website to get inspiration and motivation in achieving their dreams.

The MBA batch says that the University of Colombo’s MBA vision is to “help develop a new breed of future business leaders as those listed in our website, and to those who will contribute towards uplifting the lives of many people thereby transforming their organizations to challenge the impossible of tomorrow’s global world. We want to see University of Colombo MBA in every future CEO’s business card”.

The Faculty of Management and Finance of the University of Colombo has been the first and only institution in Sri Lanka who reached this cardinal height in the academia - listed among the official selection of the 1,000 best worldwide business schools for the year 2008 by the EDUNIVERSAL.

This selection is an emanation of a worldwide expertise which was conducted through research, work of nine renowned international experts representing nine geographical areas around the world as well as the representatives of the academic council of the United Nations Systems.

The website launch will be held at the Fingara Town and Country Club, today at 7 pm, under the patronage of Vice Chancellor University of Colombo Prof. S.M.K. Hirimburegama and Dr. P.S.M. Gunaratne, The Dean of the Faculty of Management and Finance, followed by the key-note address by CEO Cargills Ceylon PLC Ranjit Page and the Joint Managing Director of Triad Advertising Dilith Jayaweera will be presenting his case on “Building True Sri Lankan identity.”

Suspended from trading by the CSE

SKM Lanka Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, foreign investor for over Rs. 150 million states that they have invested over Rs.150 million in the capital market of Sri Lanka from the inception. The company states:

“We regretfully inform that we have been temporarily suspended from trading on the ground that our net capital has fallen below the minimum of Rs. 35 Million.

This is a very temporary phenomenon due to the continuing slide in the values of securities in the Stock Market.”

“Colombo Stock Exchange drew our attention to this on October 20. As our Chairman/CEO was abroad we could not take immediate action.

He returned to the island on November 3 and the same day we initiated action to meet the net capital requirement but on November 4 the Colombo Stock Exchange suspended trading to be reinstated no sooner the firm complies with the minimum net capital requirement. On the next day the market went up and even without the increase in net capital referred to in our letter it is risen to Rs. 34.4 million as at November 4.

“We have not resorted to forced selling because we were quite confident that the market would rise and that the fall in the market was primarily due to forced selling of unpaid shares by some brokerage houses.”

Bud that bloomed with nature

Major Vijith Welikala, Chairman, Wild Holidays (Pvt) Ltd.

At a time that the concept of Eco Tourism was not even heard in Sri Lanka, a young entrepreneur with a military commando background who had a passion for forestry bought a thick jungle from a village called Ella in Uva Province in 1999. It was not for a business dealing but to facilitate his father’s meditation programme. However when the father was not happy with the place his son Major Vijith Welikala had to think what to do with the property.

However, he did not want to sell or transfer the property since he had admired so much the nature. Suddenly an idea struck. In order to satisfy the nature-lovers he commenced a tourism service namely World Holiday (Pvt) Ltd.

Today Wild Holidays headed by Major Welikala can be attributed as the pace setter in Eco Adventure Tourism in Sri Lanka manned by local and foreign experts and facilitators with state-of-the-art equipment imported from USA. It was the Ella Adventure Camp in the serene wildness located in Karandagolla village came into being with an initial investment of Rs. 3.5 million.

With the success of the first project he ventured into the second project in 2001 at Unkelipawwa in the banks of Kirindi Oya where adventure activities are conducted. In this environment the visitor is surrounded by the mysteries of nature. The tourist resort in consisted of eco-lodges, tree houses, camping sites and many more.

Then in 2002 it was further expanded with another eco adventure hub titled Thotupola situated at Piliyandala in the serene and scenic surroundings facing the Bolgoda Lake. This location became popular among the people who are prone to meditation.

Because of the prudent management and specially, because of his sensible thinking to launch varieties that attracted the nature-lovers his exercise became more fruitful. White Water Rafting Centre at Kitulgala and Farm Site at Mahiyanganaya and Spiritual site at Arugam Bay came into existence as a result.

Asked Major Welikala why he wanted to embark upon a project of this nature he said: I never thought of doing eco tourism as to that extent but hailing from Uva I had the passion in my life for jungles and adventure.

I enjoyed living in tree houses and I was wondering how to give this pleasant experience to other people. Then I developed it at Ella Adventure Camp and was able to give that experience to other people. These tree houses became very popular just by word of mouth which increased the local demand. Then I extended it to the corporate sector as well.

He said inward bound Journey activities for personal development is a regular feature at these places.

Tourists absorbing the best spirit of the nature under a jungle canopy
with cool breeze.

Elaborating the significant features in each site he said, in all our sites we have a different themes encouraging people to visit and experience the real nature of that place . At Mahiyangana site out theme is the farm. People who go there totally mesmerised on environment without since nothing artificial could be seen.

They participate in all farming activities even watering the plants ,collecting harvest etc. Likewise other places include adventure and spiritual tranquillity. It is very pathetic that the government has not identified the huge potential the country has in this industry. We always promote only the sun, sea and the sand and wild life to some extent. But the unique selling point has not been identified. We don’t have to do anything.

We have about Rs 18 million turnover annually but once the peace is established in the country this will have huge potential to earn valuable foreign exchange in a big way towards the development of the country. The company has planned to invest Rs 50 million in the near future. It has also given employment to 100 people.

This location is attractive to such an extent, the foreigners are ready to pay huge amount of money merely to spend the night on a mat.

Major Welikala was awarded with the National Gold Award for the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, by the FCCISL Presidential Award for Tourism Development in Uva Province. In 2004 adjudged as the best eco adventure stall at the Tourism Fair at BMICH and was selected to participate at the WTM eco tourism fair held in Germany in 2002 .


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