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Videos Attached, Giving life to the golden ideas of our youth – Derana STARTUP 2021, Launched

Concerning the national interest of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among Sri Lanka’s youth, Derana STARTUP 2021, the much-needed entrepreneurial TV show is now ready to showcase the Top 30 competitors. Implemented in Sri Lanka through a tripartite partnership between YouLead, USAID’s youth skill development and entrepreneurship program together with the TV Derana network and a Jordanian nonprofit organization, Partners for Good, Derana STARTUP 2021 seek to create a culture of entrepreneurial job creators while promoting demand for entrepreneurship among youth across the island.

Addressing the need of the hour, statistics show that less than 5% of Sri Lankan youth who complete technical training advance to start their own business. This is partly because Sri Lankan youth are less inclined to pursue a path down the entrepreneurial avenue as a negative social perception exists towards youth who are seeking out to be an entrepreneur. Derana STARTUP 2021 seeks to break through this unfortunate stigma through an exciting and competitive TV program. By attracting youth to share what could be potentially groundbreaking ideas with the masses, a culture of entrepreneurship will be introduced to Sri Lanka. Working for the man is no longer what drives our youth, being your boss will become a reality through Derana STARTUP 2021 and youth unemployment will be an issue of years gone by.

Derana STARTUP 2021 is called out to all youth entrepreneurs below the age of 35 who have an innovative product or service with business operations not exceeding over 24 months under the entry categories of individual, group and school levels. Over 4000 applications were received representing a diverse applicant pool. The applications were reviewed by a selection committee consisting of industry professionals and academics based on several factors including but not limited to the level of innovativeness and creativity of the product or service, commercial viability, potential competitiveness, sustainability, employment generation, social acceptance and the potential to expand the business. The top 30 finalists were selected from four selection rounds and went through various training and development workshops. They were also assigned a successful industry leader as mentors to develop and guide their entrepreneurial journey. The top 30 finalists are now ready to present their entrepreneurial projects to the general public through the TV reality show Derana STARTUP 2021. The program telecasts on Saturday 9.30 PM, Sunday 8.30 AM on Ada Derana 24 Channel and Monday 11 AM on TV Derana starting from the 8th of January 2022. The LIVE online telecast will be broadcast on Saturday at 9.30 PM on Ada Derana 24 Youtube channel. The viewers can vote for the best entrepreneurial project through SMS. The winners get to take home a cash prize of LKR 4 Million.

Derana STARTUP 2021’s end goal is to use this innovative approach to support innovation, increase the outreach, change behaviors, perceptions and increase demand for entrepreneurship while creating a support network, mentoring culture and access to resources which will, in turn, provide the required support for youth to become innovative entrepreneurs. For more details on the program, interested parties may visit www.deranastartup.lk.

Project launched, click on the link below to watch the video:
https://www.facebook.com/deranastartup/videos/1124172221723924/

Watch the video of the first three contestants:
https://fb.watch/avTzyIBfNS/

For more information contact:
Natalie Samarasinghe-94 71 321 1138 or pas.samarasinghe@gmail.com
Keshini Wijegoonaratna- 213-400-7705 or keshini@srilankafoundation.org

SLASSCOM People’s Summit to Engage, Coach and Lead People into a Hybrid World

The enormous scale of the Pandemic and it’s impact has caused much fear, uncertainty and anxiety across the globe that also culminated in a paradigm shift in the workplace. What was once a primarily in-office model has transformed into a remote-first working environment. For many companies, the novel coronavirus spurred a sudden and dramatic shift from the majority of employees working in the office to everyone working remotely.

Moving forward, employers should not expect work environments and practices to snap back to a pre-pandemic reality. As companies gear up for the return to work, some workforces will stay fully remote, some will return fully to the office, and others will embrace a hybrid approach.

This in turn creates the urge for businesses to increase employee engagement, voice empowerment, recognition, work life integration, well-being, coaching attributes as enablers to manage workforce in the hybrid world.

Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM)’s Annual flag ship event “People Summit” under the theme “Engaging, Coaching and Leading People in a Hybrid World” will share best practices in a hybrid world and beyond. To be held on 25th to the 27th of January 2022, it is slated to attract over 500 HR Professionals across Sri Lanka’s Technology Industry. The Summit consists of 12 speakers who are at the very top of their professional fields, who will conduct several riveting panel discussions on some of the most pressing matters for those in the IT /BPM industry.

Participants of the summit will have the opportunity to listen to subject experts on the theme Engaging, Coaching and Leading at the People Summit 2022. Key-note speaker David King CEO of Tribal Habits, will discuss on virtual engagements with employees in a Hybrid world and focus on digital detoxing to help improve employee wellbeing. Dr. Aditi Raghuram Founder and CEO of Birjendu Gupta & Associates will discuss how Digital Coaching, Individual Coaching and Team Coaching have changed due to prevailing pandemic. Dr. Michael Mol, who is a Global Speaker and Medical Doctor, will speak on leading a remote team, leading an organization and leading towards high performance. Nikhil Raval, Author of Target Gen Z Leadership & Learning Advisor Org Culture & Strategy Expert and Ted Speaker, will speak on “The Leadership Challenges and Opportunities of a Hybrid Working Model”.

Additionally, Pia Lauritzen, who is a Philosopher & Founder of Qvest.io, will speak on the topic “The four leadership hacks on how to use questions to ensure impact” and Alex Draper, CEO & Founder of DX Learning, will speak on “How to rapidly build psychological safety with a dispersed and diverse team”. Similarly, Sureish Nathan (Managing Director at DDI Singapore and Vice President of Asia-Pacific, Leadership Consultant, Executive Coach and Speaker), Ole Bent Rye (Founder & Principal OBR Coaching and The Hybrid Workplace Experts) and Sarah Bolton Howard (Change Leader, Global Strategist and Business Innovator) are also all slated to speak along the topics of “Leadership” in a hybrid workplace.

The event is organized by the SLASSCOM HR Forum and will be held in partnership with Sysco LABS as their Exclusive Strategic Sponsor and 99X as the Silver Sponsor.

Photo Caption

From left to right – Shehani Seneviratne-Board Director – HR Forum, Nuwan Dishan-HR Forum Head and Sharon Kern -HR Forum Co-Head

For more information go to:

NEWSLanka-America Chamber of Commerce inaugurated in Las Vegas with Congress blessings

The Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce, in American was inaugurated and established on Dec 9 by a group of professional Sri Lankan expatriates centering the City of Las Vegas with the blessings of the United States Congressional leaders.

The Sri Lankan expatriates selected the City of Las Vegas to make it the Chamber’s headquarters because of the global attraction it has for international conventions that brings trade and commerce activist leaders and influential economic peddlers to the city.

Sensing the importance of a twin-nation commerce, trade and investment arrangement of this nature that could bring more meaningful economic engagement between the United States and Sri Lanka, five Members of U.S. Congress – both House and Senate – apart from sending their immediate staff to the event, communicated through video messages, commending the initiators of the Chamber project, some of whom they knew, and aired congratulatory messages. They expressed confidence that the Chamber could bring conducive atmosphere for American entrepreneurs to search avenues for investments and economic enhancement in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce, in American was inaugurated and established on Dec 9 by a group of professional Sri Lankan expatriates centering the City of Las Vegas with the blessings of the United States Congressional leaders.

The Sri Lankan expatriates selected the City of Las Vegas to make it the Chamber’s headquarters because of the global attraction it has for international conventions that brings trade and commerce activist leaders and influential economic peddlers to the city.

Sensing the importance of a twin-nation commerce, trade and investment arrangement of this nature that could bring more meaningful economic engagement between the United States and Sri Lanka, five Members of U.S. Congress – both House and Senate – apart from sending their immediate staff to the event, communicated through video messages, commending the initiators of the Chamber project, some of whom they knew, and aired congratulatory messages. They expressed confidence that the Chamber could bring conducive atmosphere for American entrepreneurs to search avenues for investments and economic enhancement in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to Washington, Mahinda Samarasinghe, delivered a congratulatory message on a video clip.

The Sri Lanka Consul-General for the Western States of the United States Dr. Lalith Chandradasa, and Minister-Counsellor of Commerce of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, Charitha Yattogoda, represented the Government of Sri Lanka.

The nine-member Board of Directors of the Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce is led, as President, by Sanje Sedera, who maintains close rapport and discourses with lawmakers in both the U.S. House and Senate, and being a leading entrepreneur himself, is destined to work with another accredited 12 directors who have higher academic achievements in business management, investment, public affairs and public diplomacy, and broad knowledge of the manner in which global trade and commerce work, as well as the deep understanding of the manner in which the American system functions, including the agencies and departments in Washington, the Chamber intents to work with.

State of Nevada Judge Kalani Hoo administered the oath of office of the Board of Directors and the key-note address was delivered by States of California and Nevada leading entrepreneur and Taiwanese-American professional Teddy Liaw.

The Chamber proposes developing an action plan to set up economic ties at Macro and Micro levels. At the micro-level, Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce will be targeting small and medium entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka to provide a firm launching platform to their products and services to global markets. The Chamber has currently established an e-commerce platform to fulfill this task, and it was announced at the December 9 inaugural session.

At the macro level the Chamber intends of exploring “Sister City” concept to tie up with the newly developed Port City Colombo, in Sri Lanka, with a major metropolitan city in the United States, to promote trade and commerce, and discussions were initiated by President Sanje Sedera and President-Elect for the Years 2023-2025 Aruna Abayakoon with Sri Lanka Consul-General for Western United States Dr. Lalith Chandradasa and Washington Sri Lanka Embassy Minister-Counsellor Charitha Yattogoda during their visit to Las Vegas to attend the Chamber’s inauguration.

To strengthen the nonprofit groups who are dedicated to alleviate people out of poverty in Sri Lanka and to strengthen the micro entrepreneurs, the Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce has developed a comprehensive plan to allocate resources. Just recently the Chamber was able to finalise an MOU with the “Mother Sri Lanka”, one of the largest nonprofit groups in Sri Lanka, headed by Dr. Janaki Kuruppu.

By: Island.lk

World’s largest natural corundum Blue Sapphire found in Sri Lanka

The largest single natural corundum as a single crystal (Blue Sapphire) in the world has been found in Sri Lanka.

With a weight of around 310 kilograms (1.550,000 carats), it has been named as the “Queen of Asia”.

The National Gem and Jewellery Authority says that the gemstone had been discovered in the Batugedara area and that it belongs to the Gemological Institute and Research Private Limited.

The “Queen of Asia” is currently located in Horana and was displayed to the media for the first time today (12).

For more information:

WhatsApp to stop working on some phones from tomorrow

(NDTV); WhatsApp will no longer support a list of Android devices starting Monday, November 1. As a result of the update, affected users will lose all their chats if they have not yet been backed up and exported. WhatsApp has also recommended the users to switch to a supported device to continue to use its instant messaging service. Devices running on Android 4.1 and later are amongst the list of supported devices for the app. WhatsApp also supports newer iOS as well as KaiOS operating systems.

Through an updated FAQ page, WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer support phones running on Android 4.0.4 and older versions from Monday. Affected users are advised to switch to a supported device and save their chat history before the deadline reaches.

WhatsApp has not yet defined which all the devices will no longer be supported by its app. You can, though, check whether WhatsApp is ending support for your Android device by following the steps below.

Go to Settings > About phone.
Scroll down to look for the Android version running on your device.
If it’s Android 4.0.4 or lower, you should look to switch to a device with a higher version of Android.
In case if you are among the affected users, you can export your chat history either by taking a backup of your chats or through exporting separate individual or group chats.

For backup, you can go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup > Back up from the WhatsApp settings. You can also export an individual or group chat by opening that chat and taping the three-dot menu from the top-right corner of your screen. You will now have to tap More > Export chat. WhatsApp will also let you choose whether you want to export your chat along with media files such as audio, images, and videos you have received in the chat or without any media files.

Alongside Android 4.1 and later versions, WhatsApp currently supports iPhone running on iOS 10 (supported by iPhone 5 and later models) and newer versions and feature phones such as the Jio Phone and Jio Phone 2 running KaiOS 2.5.0 and later.

For more information:

Video Attached!!SLF Intl, USA Showcases 2021 Sri Lanka Day, One of a Kind Virtual Event!!!!! to the Global Audience

When 2021 Sri Lanka Day celebrations began many people logged in to the SLF Platform on August 20th from all around the world and entered the lobby were simply flabbergasted to witness such a detailed creation, with the information center, the Auditorium Exhibition hall, and the Networking lounge. The entrance to the Auditorium door opens and you are lead to the roof top in a elevator which is never seen any virtual event before. It was also breathtaking to see the creation of the virtual people moving around in the lobby and in their seats in the Auditorium and Networking lounge.

The attendees had the choice of deciding which segment of their interest and was able to enjoy it from the comfort of their homes.The five hour Amazing Cultural Performances from all over the world was viewed and enjoyed by many when some of the other Attendees were visiting and chatting with Vendors in the Exhibition Hall and the networking lounge was busy with people trying to connect.

The event continued on August 21st & 22nd, with excitement building up to win quiz prizes when our amazing live mc’s promoted enthusiasm and anticipation among the attendees to stay until the very end.

The “Pageant of Lanka” was showcased to give a feel of the original Parade that is hosted on the World Famous Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

We appreciate our Sponsors for their contributions to support the event as well as showcasing their products. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the volunteers for their valuable time to assist in many different ways.

The event ended with a Big Bang by the band “Sithara” to entertain the attendees with some nice Sihala Music.

Click on the link to watch the video:
https://youtu.be/LYNb8q1TIxo

Leveraging Talent In Sri Lanka – Webinar Organized by SLASSCOM

Originally founded in Silicon Valley, AIClub focuses on bringing AI literacy to almost anyone and has expanded its offices to Sri Lanka with more than 60% of AI and software R&D being conducted right here at home.

Dr. Nisha Talagala , CEO and Founder of AIClub will share her experience and the thinking behind selecting Sri Lanka as a test-bed for their company. She will be describing what the local hiring landscape is like for advanced technologies such as AI and Cloud, the important factors considered in their decision to set up in Sri Lanka and a glimpse of what the past one and a half years has been like since setting up.

Register now via:
https://slasscom.glueup.com/event/leveraging-talent-in-sri-lanka-44988/

Sri Lanka voted among ‘The Best Countries to Travel to’ in Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards

Oct 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka has consistently ranked among the world’s favorite destinations for travelers seeking unadulterated escapism and the experience of a lifetime. The island offers a unique mix of sensory delights, making it a must-visit for the traveler that yearns to be inspired and awed.

According to the Conde Nast 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards, Sri Lanka ranks among ‘The Best Countries to Travel to’, as voted for by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers. The prestigious travel publication Condé Nast Traveler invites readers to submit their vote for the destinations and experiences they wholeheartedly recommend. In the most recent survey, over 800, 000 people responded with their preferences. The results were then published on the Condé Nast Traveler website.

Sri Lanka was once again amongst the most celebrated destinations in the world, reaching an impressive score of 93.96, which is an improvement over last year’s score of 91.79. This significant advancement is a testament to the success of ongoing efforts to market the island as a unique, experiential destination, offering heady adventures and novel encounters. The ongoing integrated communication campaign by Sri Lanka Tourism, a first of its kind, is bringing tremendous returns in terms of raising the country’s overall profile globally.

“The rise in awareness has spurred a renewed interest in Sri Lanka over the last few years. This is no coincidence and is the result of strategic efforts by Sri Lana Tourism to give the island greater visibility both through traditional avenues and by increasing the island’s digital footprint,” said Ms. Kimarli Fernando – Chairperson Sri Lanka Tourism. She went on to add, “These strategic efforts, especially a focus on key source markets, have enabled us to tell rich and engaging stories about Sri Lanka and in doing so show the world that we have so much more to offer, beyond our beautiful beaches and a tropical setting. Marketing the island as a niche destination for a more exclusive audience allows for a sustainable model of tourism, one that will ensure a huge influx of visitors once borders reopen, while also giving the industry a strong foundation and a decisive vision to work towards.”



The frequent spotlight on Sri Lanka across international media along with celebrity endorsements, has helped position Sri Lanka positively as a destination with a myriad of immersive experiences available to explore. The Island destination offers travelers everything from pristine beaches to untamed wilderness, the highest concentration of waterfalls in the world, misty mountains, and an inexhaustible list of natural wonders. All this is swaddled in a rich and diverse culture, with a riveting history that very much adds to the island’s allure.

Sri Lanka’s impressive performance at the 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards, the most prestigious survey of its kind, is an indication of the untapped potential that must be actualized, this is especially crucial as the island’s tourism industry is a key economic driver. The efforts made, even during the pandemic, to keep Sri Lanka in the spotlight and maintain top-of-mind awareness across its target demographic will guarantee faster recovery for the entire tourism industry. The progress made within the industry during the downtime will enable Sri Lanka to reemerge as a truly world-class destination that caters to a more high-yielding visitor, opening new revenue streams and pathways to prosperity.

New Product Development & Promotion is one of the Ten Key Pillars which guide the initiatives led by Sri Lanka Tourism. The pillars also provide a comprehensive framework for implementing the government’s overall vision which includes closer cooperation between vital sectors such as labor, immigration, technology, innovation, and international policy. This new outlook has enabled the island to move away from mass-market tourism and offer a more curated, experience-based model. This transformation will enable Sri Lanka to retain a place in the hearts and minds of the global traveler, positioning it amongst the most preferred destinations for high-value tourists, seeking authentic, memorable, and diverse experiences.

For more information go to:

A Special Investment Account from BANK OF CEYLON

How to open a SDA ?

Customer is required to forward scanned copies of the following duly filled and signed documents via email to inttrade@boc.lk (if any preferred Branch please mention) to the attention of Nilantha/Supun

Applications to be downloaded
SDA Customer Registration Form
SDA Savings Account Opening Application
SDA Fixed Deposit Opening Application
KYC (Know Your Customer)
Applications can be downloaded via the following URL;

https://boc.lk/index.php?route=product/category&path=217_392_473&desc=1

In addition to the above, following documents need to be forwarded via email,
Copy of Passport
Copy of foreign address verification document
Copy of the valid employment visa/permit granted by a foreign government
Proof documents for source of funds
If documents are in order, Bank will open SDA Saving account and the Account Number will be informed to customer via email for his/her to remit money to open the SDA Fixed Deposit.

On receiving the remittances, Bank will open SDA FD and inform the customer accordingly. Upon Maturity Funds are freely convertible repatriable outside Sri Lanka

For more details, Sri Lankans living in USA may contact,
Nilantha – +94 772 929 259 (WhatsApp/Voice Sri Lankan time 8.00 Am to 9.00 Pm )
Supun – +94 772 103 106 (WhatsApp/Voice Sri Lankan time 8.00 Am to 9.00 Pm )

Sri Lankan born Kamzy Gunaratnam elected to Norway Parliament

Jonas Gahr Støre’s Labour Party won the Norwegian parliamentary election.Kamzy Gunaratnam was elected to Parliament through the Labour Party.

Gunaratnam was born in Sri Lanka and came to Norway as a refugee when she was three years old. Her parents were Tamil refugees who worked in the fishing industry in the north of Norway, though they relocated to Oslo a few years after arriving in the country so that Gunaratnam and her brother could go to a Tamil school.

After joining the Tamil Youth Organization in Oslo, Gunaratnam met governing mayor Raymond Johansen who encouraged her to get involved with politics, which she did.

Gunaratnam was elected as a representative to Oslo City Council for the first time in 2007, she was a deputy member of the Storting (2013-2017) and took office as the Deputy Mayor of Oslo on 21 October 2015. (Colombo Gazette)