Ceylon Biscuits inspires future entrepreneurs

Thursday, 5 June 2014 00:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. (CBL), the nation’s leading biscuit manufacturer, home grown through entrepreneurial skills, has extended sponsorships to educate 300 school children through a student entrepreneurship program collaborating with Young Entrepreneurs Sri Lanka (YESL). The program spearheaded by CBL Chairman Mineka Wickremasinghe, and as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, introduces the selected school children to entrepreneurship through innovative sessions with the aim of inculcating knowledge and ability to apply insights gained into their education, career pursuits and potential entrepreneurial endeavours in the future. Approved by the Ministry of Education, under the young entrepreneur program, the project helps students develop entrepreneurial skills and gain hands on experience about businesses by forming their own companies and developing products that are taken to market. YESL is the host for Junior Achievement (JA) worldwide programs in Sri Lanka and implemented the JA curricula for these students. Schools from the surrounding neighbourhoods of CBL factories such as Pannipitiya, Ranala, Ratmalana and Kandy were selected for the program. “At CBL we believe that programs of this nature will give students concrete entrepreneurial skills and an opportunity to understand and experience how the private sector operates and in turn, the capabilities they need to cultivate and transform into future entrepreneurs. Our collaboration with YESL is part of our endeavour to provide mentorship to these students who hopefully will be Sri Lanka’s future entrepreneurial role models,” said Nandana Wickremage, CBL Group Director, Head of Marketing and Sales.                           The children gain knowledge on preparing accounts, how to form a company, register it and even how to select an appropriate business. After the sessions they are required to register an actual company, issue shares, form a Board of Directors including directors for marketing, HR, finance, corporate affairs, etc. Moreover, the new venture was required to generate funds and any profits channelled towards a CSR project of their choice. Patrick Amerasinghe, President of YESL noted: “We conduct this program according to the worldwide curricula. Our primary aim is not just to create youth who are capable of securing employment opportunities but to create and build youth who will be productive. “For the successful implementation of such a programme, a strong sponsor is required. CBL’s contribution towards the success of this programme has not only helped create young entrepreneurs but has also powered and energised it through their dedication shown towards the entire program. I firmly believe the commitment portrayed by CBL’s towards the students entrepreneurship program. Is an admirable example that other corporates need to follow,” he added. Prior to its commencement, YESL, under the sponsorship of CBL, conducted sessions to educate and create awareness of the program among the principals and teachers of the selected schools. Recently the students visited CBL Headquarters and presented the results of their work. The evaluation committee comprised of CBL senior management and independent evaluators from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Accountants and the Central Bank which appraised the teams based on JA international guidelines. Among the new ventures and products the students have engaged in were, ornaments, handicrafts, paintings, wall hangings, food items (seeni sambol), key tags, greeting cards and even model answer papers. On completion of judging, awards will be given to the best company, product, logo, business plan, annual report, etc. Individual performance too will be judged and awards presented to the best president, HR, marketing PR, CSR directors etc. The winning students have the opportunity to compete internationally at the Asia Pacific level among other selected global entrants