Entrepreneurs Lanka: Non-profit organisation uplifting and supporting businesspeople to grow

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 02:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The first networking meeting of Entrepreneurs Lanka


A panel discussion on the topic of the importance of being in a trade and commerce chamber was held at this launch event with distinguished invitees Salon Nayana owner and Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Board Member Nayana Karunaratne, Rohan Rodrigo Group Director and Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) Chairman Aminda Rodrigo, Lakshman Motor House Director and COYLE Senior Vice Chairman Chamath Kottage, and TNG Packaging Managing Director and COYLE Vice Chairman Saranga Goonewardena. It was moderated by Entrepreneurs Lanka Director and Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Board Member Ashanthi Fernando

The beginning of 2020 brings with it a novel initiative, Entrepreneurs Lanka, a non-profit organisation aimed at backing and enriching Sri Lankan entrepreneurs through networking and business direction. 

Established under the guidance of Founder and President Thilini Ostwald, Director Ashanthi Fernando, Director and Secretary Lakshitha Ariyapala and Director and Treasurer Deshapriya Senanayake, the institution is a registered Sri Lankan network group of passionate corporate leaders with the common vision of ‘Engaging minds, empowering success’.

As a Sri Lankan platform for entrepreneurs, the organisation sees itself as offering a helping hand to SMEs by creating unique networking opportunities to generate leads and conduct curated workshops and training for its members. With the committee consisting of those from different industries, the group is able to bring in a mix of training activities and workshop expertise and most importantly attract a reputable network of people from within the group as well as other business groups and chambers.

With an organisational mission of ‘To network, to learn and to grow together!’, Entrepreneurs Lanka intends to initiate a series of platforms for entrepreneurs to meet potential stakeholders, identify and provide need gaps in terms of training and workshops and most importantly, create an environment to discuss and share queries and obstacles related to one’s own venture. 

In this light, the first activity upon its launch was to carry out a networking and informative session for entrepreneurs. The gathering was hosted at Jetwing Colombo Seven on 24 January with established entrepreneurs addressing the audience and sharing their thoughts on networking to generate business. 

Additionally, participants were informed of the future plans and scope of training and workshops made available for their business and how Entrepreneurs Lanka could be of value to their personal growth. The platform, run by enthusiastic entrepreneurs, was made open to suggestions on value additions that could be incorporated into their list of offerings so as to provide a holistic direction to those who join them. 


From left: Committee of Entrepreneurs Lanka - Director and Treasurer Deshapriya Senanayake, Founder and President Thilini Ostwald, Director Ashanthi Fernando and Director and Secretary Lakshitha Ariyapala


A panel discussion on the important topic of being in a trade and commerce chamber was held at this launch event with distinguished invitees Nayana Karunaratne - owner of  Salon Nayana and Board Member of the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce; Aminda Rodrigo - Group Director Rohan Rodrigo Group and Chairman of the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE); Chamath Kottage – Director of the Lakshman Motor House Ltd. and Senior Vice Chairman of COYLE and Saranga Goonewardena - Managing Director of the TNG Packaging Ltd. and Vice Chairman of COYLE, while being moderated by Ashanthi Fernando – Director of Entrepreneurs Lanka and Board Member of the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The event was also graced by Ranil Wiladdarage - Chairman and CEO of Gflock and COYLE Committee Member, who had been a driving force since the inception of the idea to initiate Entrepreneurs Lanka. A special thank you was also extended to COYLE CEO Indunil Ukwatta for his support in kick-starting the organisation.

Commenting on this new venture, Founder and President Thilini Ostwald stated: “We have heard of many opportunities available for millionaire and billionaire entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. But I truly believe that Sri Lanka lacks support for start-ups and small-scale entrepreneurs. We need support and guidance during our most difficult times. Yes, it is a risk to have members with businesses that have been operating for less than two years. But we are accepting that challenge, which makes us unique. The Small Business Association reports that 30% of all new businesses fail in the first two years. We aim to be of strength to these businesses with a mission to reduce the failure rate of start-ups and small-scale businesses in Sri Lanka.”

The organisation takes on a liberal approach to its conduct, with no barriers exercised in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, etc. The primary objective is to become the sole entity accessible to business persons looking to be a part of a community with which they can connect, share and prosper with an additional learning experience. The long-term intention is to improve the status of local entrepreneurs in the industry, commerce and service sectors to enable them to use their expertise to effect positive change towards sustainable development. 

Entrepreneurs Lanka is a place where efforts will be made for businesses to nurture and lead towards excellence. Those who wish to learn how to be a part of this organisation or how this platform can benefit businesses can call Thilini on (071) 778 7966 or Lakshitha on (077) 351 1441. The next meeting will be held on 27 February at JAIC Hilton from 6.00 p.m. onwards. Call for reservations before 25 February.