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Local business to global success: Evening forum by Ja’pura Marketing Alumni Association


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 25 September 2017 00:00


Finding the right opportunity, be different and being innovative can be identified as stumbling blocks for local investors who wants to concur the global business. 

Understanding the need to be a part of the global value chain will take us one step closer for Sri Lanka to be in the world map of global trade.    

Today a developing economies around the world cannot survive on their own unlike in past where countries boast on being self-sufficient. There are no self-sufficient economies in today’s heavily globalised environment where symbiosis of international trade is vital for growth. 

Therefore, international production, trade and investments are organised within global value chains where the different stages of the production process are located across different countries.

Global value chains provide opportunities for developing countries to diversify their exports and intensify their integration into the global economy. 

This provides ample opportunities for SMEs in developing economies like Sri Lanka through co manufacturing or sub-contracting production or services of big multinationals across the world. 

Developing countries traditionally exported unprocessed raw materials. The leap to exporting manufacture products was complicated because it required a full suite of complementary industries. Today, the rise of global value chains (GVCs) enables developing countries to slot themselves into a part of the production chain without having to produce a complete, final good. As a result, developing countries now mostly export manufacturing value-added.

This will enable countries like Sri Lanka to achieve rapid productivity growth, gains in modern sector employment, and impressive rises in living standards and declines in poverty.

Sri Lanka is still in its infancy in its participation for international trade activities in GVC comparable to other fast growing developing countries like India, Indonesia and Malaysia. This is mainly due to not securing opportunities or lack of entrepreneurship.

Further global business community require the government policies to be more adaptable to suit the entrepreneurs entering the global value chain. For example, tax reforms, business start off policies, improved infrastructure in proving world class quality etc.  

In addressing this, Marketing alumni of University of Sri Jayawardenapura along with the department of marketing will be conducting a series of workshops targeting young talent in persuading them and inspire them to be a part of GVC. 

The first workshop will be conducted on 29 September at Hotel Galadari from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The sessions will be on the topic ‘Local Business to Global Success’ and Professor Rohan Samarajiva will take the audience through on identifying opportunities for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs. Rohan Pallewatta will add fuel to the session on how he walked the talk in making Sri Lanka a part of global business.  

Both the speakers are living legends in taking Sri Lanka to the global arena. 

Prof. Samarajiva is the founding Chair of LIRNEasia, an ICT policy and regulation think tank active across emerging Asia. He was CEO from 2004 to end 2012. His most recent co-authored book (2013) is ‘Information lives of the poor:  Fighting poverty with technology,’ published in English, French, Myanmar and Spanish. 

Prof. Samarajiva was Team Leader at the Sri Lanka Ministry for Economic Reform, Science and Technology (2002-04) responsible for infrastructure reforms, including participation in the design of the $ 83 million e Sri Lanka Initiative.  He was Director General of Telecommunications in Sri Lanka (1998-99), a founder director of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (2003-05), Honorary Professor at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka (2003-04), Visiting Professor of Economics of Infrastructures at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (2000-03) and Associate Professor of Communication and Public Policy at the Ohio State University in the US (1987-2000). Prof. Samarajiva was Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Post and Telecom in Bangladesh (2006-09).

He serves as Senior Advisor to Sarvodaya (Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organisation) on ICT matters and on the Steering Committee on Infrastructure Development of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Prof. Samarajiva is a Board Member of Communication Policy Research south, an initiative to identify and foster policy intellectuals in emerging Africa and Asia.  He is a member of the Board and former Chair of the Lanka Software Foundation and Board Member of Research ICT Africa.  

Pallewatta is presently the Executive Chairman of Lanka Harness Co. Ltd., the core business of this company is the manufacture of impact sensors for automobile airbags and seat belts. Customers include Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda of Japan, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler of USA, Volvo, Saab, BMW, Aston Martin, Opel and Renault of Europe. 

Pallewatta rakes into the country foreign revenue worth over $ 25 million annually. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Sri Lankan economy, the Junior Chamber International in 2006 awarded him the most prestigious award ‘TOYP’ in the category of Business and Entrepreneurial Accomplishment. An Attorney-at-Law by profession, versatile Pallewatta holds a B.A. (English Special) and has a MBA from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura. He has been a visiting lecturer and an examiner in business law from 2000.

The quality requirement of the product that Pallewatta manufactures is one ppm; which means only a single defect would be tolerated for a million produced. This is the first time that Sri Lanka has entered the international market with a one ppm quality product. The uniqueness of this organisation is that this is the first time that Sri Lanka has entered the international market with this magnitude of quality. 

Pallewatta has proven that if you have a clear vision you can make a mark in the global business no matter how humble your beginning are.

The Moderator for the evening will be Ravi Jayawardena who is CEO (Sales and Marking) at Maliban Biscuits Ltd. and he is one of the key members of the management team which transformed both Maliban Biscuits and Maliban Milk to a very successful business unit.

Prior to that he was the Country Head of Sales at Coca Cola Sri Lanka, where he led the Coca Cola Sri Lanka team to win several Asian ‘Best Practice’ trophies. Ravi has been a leading MBA /CIM lecturer for the last 15 years and he is the head of the Retail Sector of Chartered Institute of Marketing from 2012 to 2015. 

The evening will provide any individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship or corporates who are willing to be a part of global trade adding value to the Sri Lankan economy with food for thought. 

The Organising Committee chaired by the President of the Marketing Alumni Lalith Sumanasiri who is currently the MD of Ogilvy Media and Neo@Ogilvy shared the reason for them to conduct these sessions along with the Marketing department of University of Sri Jayewardenapura: “Within the span of the last 20 years University of Sri Jayewardenapura has produced more than 1,000 marketing professionals who are either working locally or globally in various enterprises adding value for growth or successful entrepreneurs who are proving employment in the SME sector.”

He further elaborated: “We as the professionals would like to add back to the society in the form of inspiring young blood to be involved in global business which is the future for any country. The method we have identified is to add more and more entrepreneurs in to the system by way of helping them to identify opportunities and specially motivating them by sharing success stories.” 

This will be only the beginning for the alumni work on adding and sharing marketing and business knowledge with a wider community. Those who are interested in participating the event can contact www.marketing.lk or call Oshadee on 077 442 2334.


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