APEA recognises top Lankan entrepreneurs | Sunday Observer

APEA recognises top Lankan entrepreneurs

19 August, 2018

Nine most outstanding Sri Lankan business leaders were named winners of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2018 (APEA) held in Colombo. This is the fourth in this series of awards held in Colombo.

Since 2007, over 1,200 international business leaders and entrepreneurs have been awarded in this series in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and China. APEA series-the regional Award Recognition Program recognising entrepreneurial excellence -is an initiative of Enterprise Asia, Asia’s leading NGO for entrepreneurship.

The APEA 2018 which was staged in Sri Lanka showcased the country as a venue for MICE tourism. The awards stimulate the growth of local brands while ensuring sustainability and innovation. It also supports better connectivity among the regional entrepreneurs and help strengthen the regional ties, Minister Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Land John Amaratunga said.

The awards reward the fair, proactive, successful and innovative entrepreneurs, especially the youth who hold the key to the economic growth. The Enterprise Sri Lanka program is expected to harness the entrepreneur spirit and focuses on every sector of the economy to bring prosperity to the country, he said.

The Government firmly believes that progress should be inclusive. With regard to tourism, the earnings should be increased as there are numerous concessions offered to the sector. It has become the most viable sector in the country. Tourism is one area we are encouraged to create a value chain and we are concerned about the sustainability of the small entrepreneurs, the Minister said.

“The National Enterprise Development Agency (NEDA) under my Ministry has introduced the new SME Policy for the first time in our SME history. NEDA is the leading state institution in Sri Lanka that facilitates development of Lankan entrepreneurs and SMEs” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

“The new policy focuses on many innovative aspects relevant to SMEs. It identifies high potential SME clusters, enabling environments, modern appropriate technologies, entrepreneurial culture, skills development, access to finance, market facilitation, research and development and SME resource efficiencies. It is time for our entrepreneurs, especially the winning entrepreneurs of today, to study it carefully and make use of it. I am pleased to say that this policy is a result of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s economic vision statement to the Parliament. His vision was that local entrepreneurs should now enter the global markets. For this, the Government shall support in enhancing their productivity levels and develop their competitiveness. In fact, I am pleased to say that my Ministry has been actively working to develop not only SMEs but even to create new SMEs. Our continued efforts to develop SMEs have been recognised internationally. For example, as a result of the efforts of my Ministry’s Department of Commerce, we received a large support initiative of Euro eight million for trade development from which we are also allowed to strengthen our SMEs.

I wish to thank the European Union and International Trade Centre for extending valuable support to develop our trade and SMEs in many ways.”

“Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives sustainable and progressive economic and social development within a world of economic equality. We can say with certainty that the recipients of the APEA are like none others. Not only do they have to prove their entrepreneurial skills and experience in one of the toughest contests in the world, they also subject themselves to a pledge to uphold the highest standards of entrepreneurship, which includes allegiance to the two founding pillars of Enterprise Asia, namely Investment in People and Responsible Entrepreneurship,” President of Enterprise Asia, DatoWilliam Ng said.

“Enterprise Asia organises more than 15 regional programs for its stakeholders annually including governments, universities, youth groups and the community at large, but not limited to Entrepreneurs,” he said.

The APEA is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship globally. Beyond recognising the efforts of these entrepreneurs, we hope to encourage them to continue taking their businesses to the next level in the current digitalisation era, and in the process, providing more job opportunities to the people in the region, and help to drive the economy forward which is in align to Enterprise Asia’s purpose, Democratising Entrepreneurship, Institutionalising Sustainability and Empowering Innovation, he said.

The APEA is held in over 14 countries across the region, including Sri Lanka is a regional recognition program that aims to band leading entrepreneurs across the region to spur greater innovation, fair practises and entrepreneurship development.

The recognition not only open doors to join an exclusive alumni of Enterprise Asia, but enables them to be part of one of the largest networking platforms for business leaders across Asia Pacific.

Winners • Mohamed Anverally, Chairman of Anverally and Sons (Pvt) Ltd - Food and Beverage Industry

• Bhathiya Udumalagala, Managing Director of Bhathiya Group of Companies - Industrial and Commercial Products Industry

• Jude Rodrigo, Founder of Bopitiya Auto Enterprises - Manufacturing Industry

• Ananda Caldera, Executive Director of Global Rubber Industries Pvt Ltd - Manufacturing Industry

• Kalana Gamani Kodituwakku Hewamallika, Chairman and Managing Director of Interpharm (Pvt) Ltd - Healthcare, Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Industry

• Dulith Herath, Founder Chairman of Kapruka.com - Retail Industry

• Thilak Weerasinghe, Chairman and Managing Director of Lanka Sportreizen - Hospitality, Food Service and Tourism Industry

• Nilan Wickramasinghe, Chairman and Managing Director of Lion Royal Tourism and Lion Royal Resorts - Hospitality, Food Services and Tourism Industry

• Abdul Cader Mohamed Zulfikar, Chairman of Milco (Pvt) Ltd - Food and Beverage Industry

Pictures by Sulochana Gamage