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Jumpstart 2020

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Being a spur for budding Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs to Initiate their Ideas, Elevate their Journey and Triumph in the field of Business, the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School presents, Jumpstart 2020

With the threat posed to the Sri Lankan economy by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lankan business owners and startup founders have been in need of an extra push to continue their day-to-day operations. From the valuable guidance and mentorship it offers, to being a platform that can validate their business ideas and find investments for their businesses, Jumpstart 2020 has been a tremendous boost for all participating startups. 

JUMPSTART is the signature Professional Development initiative of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, which took place for the 4th consecutive year in 2020. It was staged under two categories, namely the Pitch it! Win it! category and the Shark Tank category. Pitch it! Win it! was a platform for early stage business startups, or business ideators to pitch their business idea before a panel of judges, and stand a chance to win valuable prizes worth LKR 200,000. On the other hand, the Shark Tank round opened an incredible opportunity for businesses in the growth stage, where they were brought to the same table with renowned investors in the country in numerous fields. They were given the opportunity to present their businesses to the investors and stand a chance to win investments for a return of equity in their businesses. Jumpstart also comprised of a valuable Series of Workshops, conducted with the aim of improving the entrepreneurial skills of not only its participants but also the general public. 

Despite having to conduct the whole competition on a virtual platform due to the prevailing health care regulations in the country, we humbly believe Jumpstart 2020 equally served its purpose in the quality of competition it offered to its participants, as well as the experience and exposure it gave to all upcoming entrepreneurs. 

Jumpstart 2020 kicked start on the 7th of November 2020 with the first workshop of its workshop series, Pitch Perfect. Conducted by Mr. Biman Liyanage, CEO & Founder of CirQ Technologies, the workshop addressed on how to effectively pitch one’s business idea. He introduced many important techniques such as the elevator pitch, and the 3-to-5-minute pitch, and also guided the audience on how to prepare a sound business plan.

Following this, the preliminary round of Pitch It! Win It! took place on the 21st of November 2020, with 28 teams pitching their unique business ideas. The Esteemed Panel of Judges consisted of Mr. Aloka Gunasekara, Mr. Milinda Thilakaratne and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Having had the opportunity to witness all the pitches, it was a pleasure to watch the participants engage in not only a heated competition but also genuine teamwork, where each participant spoke about their idea with extreme passion.

Five talented finalists with the most outstanding pitches were chosen to compete for the ultimate award at the Grand Finale!

Jumpstart 2020 would not have been possible if not for our wonderful partners. We are extremely grateful for our partners, namely, 

  • CIMA Sri Lanka- Bronze Partner
  • Venture Frontier- Knowledge Partner
  • Shirtworks- Gift Partner
  • PwC- Advisory Partner
  • E-Law Chambers – Legal Consultation Partner
  • Hub9 coworking- Co-working space partner
  • StartupX Foundry – Mentoring Partner
  • Myshopbox – IT solutions partner
  • Chokolate – Media Partner
  • Thuru – Reforestation Partner

The five finalists of the Pitch It! Win It! category were assisted and overlooked for two weeks leading up to the finals by industry experts from our advisory partner PwC, to help them perform effectively at the finals. 

The remaining workshops took place during the last two weeks of November. Mr. Kavinda Dasanayaka conducted the workshop on Finance and Bookkeeping while the workshop on Marketing and Sales was conducted by Mr. Ahmed Irfan. Next was the Fundraising workshop conducted by Mr. Kishan Nadarajah followed by the final workshop of the series on Legal Aspect of startups conducted by Mr. Revan Weerasinghe. 

The Grand Finale of Jumpstart 2020 consisted of the Pitch It! Win It! Finale and the Shark Tank round. The 6th of December was a day much eagerly anticipated not only by the participants of the Pitch It! Win It! and Shark Tank but also by the organizing committee. The Pitch it! Win it! finalists pitched their business ideas once again before the esteemed panel of judges which comprised of Mrs. Nevindaree Premaratne, Mr. Enosh Praveen and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Following this, the finalists were given a realistic business scenario customized to their business and industry to be solved within an hour, where they had to present the built strategies and solutions to the judges and audience. 

While the heated Finals of Pitch it! Win it! was brewing, Shark Tank was simultaneously taking place with 13 well established Growth Stage startups. They presented their businesses to the sharks, who were prepared to offer investments for the startups they deemed worthy. 

The closing ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 started off with the address of the chief guest, Mr. Dulith Herath who himself had been very impressed after listening to some of the pitches that had taken place. He inspired the audience as he spoke about how he too had started from rock bottom and built Kapruka and Java Lounge into what it is today. 

Team ‘Plutous’ topped the list in this year’s event and went on to be crowned champions of jumpstart 2020, securing prizes worth more than LKR 200,000 inclusive of coworking from Hub9 Coworking, mentoring from StartupX Foundry, legal consultation from E-Law chambers and IT solutions from Shopbox LK. Team Flash came on to take the spot of runners up and received prizes worth LKR 100,000. The remaining finalists also won valuable prizes worth LKR 50,000.

The Award Ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 was held on the 2nd of January 2021 at Hub9 CoWorking Spaces, Colombo 8, where all Finalists were invited and handed over their awards and certificates. After knowing each other from a months long virtual project, it felt wonderful to finally meet our contestants face to face and have a chat. It was agreed by everyone that having to conduct Jumpstart 2020 virtually was truely an experience to remember for both participants and organizers alike. 

The project’s success owed to not one or a few, but to our entire club. Each and every member did their utmost to make sure this project lived up to its potential. A very big thank you to our wonderful club, our generous sponsors and to our eager participants.

Thank you for making Jumpstart 2020 tougher, bigger and better!

Written by: Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Cut the Greed, not the Green: Phase 2

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About an hour after dawn on the 7th of September 2020, a group of young, energetic Rotaractors boarded a bus to reach Ingiriya, which was the planned location for the second phase of the Project Cut the Greed, Not the Green. Having reached our destination by 8.00 am, we at once realized the change in surrounding both physically and mentally. We were surrounded with so much greenery which was not a part of our everyday lives, since we all lived in highly urbanized areas. The rain had given the flora and fauna that occupied the area a proper awakening. It was such a mesmerizing view with the sun peeking through the leaves of the nearby trees, and the noises made by birds and other animals, resulting in a perfect morning. 

In addition to our group of Rotaractors we were accompanied by a team from the organization Reforest Sri Lanka, a group of students from St. John’s School Panadura, the working staff of a nearby Water Board, the senior officer of a nearby Police station and a few more enthusiastic individuals. 

The samplings were to be planted at the bank of the Kalu Ganga, in Ingiriya. As we stepped into the wooded pathway that led there, we immediately realized that the leeches had already emerged due to the rain, and this was naturally something none of us liked. A slight drizzle continued, but it was no turn around for us as we were nothing but focused on reaching the goal of planting the 400 samplings that we had planned for the day. 

Once all the samplings were unloaded from a lorry, we split into 2 groups which consisted of a good mix of Rotaractos from our club and other volunteers. One group headed to the nearby river bank with mammoties and trowels, while the other got onto a fully loaded boat that took them to a more densely forested areas of the river bank one could not reach by foot. 

The group that went by foot immediately began to plant the samplings near the river bank. The place was smaller than we expected, so after completing planting on the bank, we looked for another spot where we could plant the rest. The kind villager helped us with finding the perfect place for the job; a grove a little away from the river. She took us through a paddy field where we had to walk over a long canal boundary to avoid the mud water on both sides and we crossed several small water streams to reach the destination. Thereafter, we successfully planted all the saplings we had.

The group which took the boar ride had quite an experience as the surrounding scenery looked exceptionally calm and beautiful, and we felt the cold wind and water droplets hitting us as we proceeded towards our location on the boat. The time on the boat enabled the team to interact with each other, which added to the good time we were already having. Our voices and laughter were second only to the sound of the boat engine. 

Apart from experiencing leech bites, slips, mud patches and scratches, we also stumbled across some illegally brewed liquor and were able to witness its disposal in the hands of the local police officers having had the chance to know how the brewing is actually done. 

A few hours passed and with almost all the samplings bedded on the side of the river bank and we decided to call it a day and head back to reunite with the others. We had quite a rough time trying to load the boat back onto a lorry on a muddy and slippery surface and it required a lot of manpower and teamwork.

By the time the boat was loaded we were even more exhausted and that was when the rains started pouring again and everyone scurried for cover depriving us of our long awaited lunch. Reforest Sri Lanka provided us and the other volunteers with lunch packets and the kind lady who helped us to find the grove earlier prepared tea for the entire crew. It was amazing to to enjoy the delicious meal while laughing about the epic moments happened throughout the day, and watching the rain outside.

They say all good things must come to an end, and likewise we had to wrap up an adventurous, productive and fun-filled day. The team of Rotaractors gathered to say goodbye and thank everyone who were a part of the project. 

While walking down the road to catch a bus home we laughed and talked about the experiences we had that day,  and within a time span of two hours we were able to carry our tired selves back home with a lot of satisfaction and memories to cherish, looking forward to the next phase of Cut the Greed, not the Green.

Written by: Rtr. Priyan Jerome

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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All about Jumpstart

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Have you ever had a business idea that could change the world? Ever had a dream plan which you couldn’t yet execute due to shortage of capital, lack of expertise, or fear of being under the spotlight? Have you been looking for an opportunity to gear your journey? Then, Jumpstart is the platform for you!

JUMPSTART, the signature Professional Development project of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, was initiated with the aim of creating opportunities for budding entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka to Jumpstart their business journey, as well as students of Achievers Lanka Business School to have their first taste of the business world. Since its inception in the year 2017, Jumpstart has come about in many exiting twists, opening numerous opportunities for its participants, leading to impactful changes in their professional lives.

Here’s all you need to know about Jumpstart 2020!

Taking the theme ‘INITIATE. ELEVATE. TRIUMPH’, Jumpstart 2020 would be staged under the following three categories.

  • Pitch it, Win it
  • Shark Tank
  • Board Room Challenge

*Due to the prevailing situation in the country, Jumpstart 2020 will be conducted completely online via the platform ‘Zoom’, up until the finales of each category. In the case of team participation, participants may join from one location or separate locations.

The decision of holding the finales physically would be made closer to the date, based on the health care regulations of the country. If the situations do not permit, the finales would be conducted virtually, similar to the previous rounds.

GAME PLAN

Pitch it, win it!

A platform for idea wizards and early stage startups to pitch their business idea before a panel of judges, and win valuable prices to Jumpstart their business journey. Participants of this category may be individuals or teams having an early stage business startup, or merely a business idea in mind.

As the first step of this category, a workshop‘Pitch perfect’ open to the public would be conducted on the 7th of November 2020. It will focus on how to pitch a business idea soundly, and prepare a business plan. All participants of ‘Pitch it, win it’ are expected to participate for this workshop, which would guide them towards performing effectively in the preliminary round.

Following this, the participants will pitch their business at the ‘Pitch it, win it – Preliminary round’ which will be held on the 22nd of November 2020. This would comprise of a presentation followed by a Q&A session with the judges. Participants will be questioned on the application, feasibility, and the return on investment of their business idea. The teams with the four most outstanding business ideas, will be qualified for the finals.

As part of the ‘Pitch it, win it!’ category, a series of workshops open to the public will be conducted from the 23rd to the 29th of November 2020. They would be conducted by the judges and industry experts, and will mainly address the topics, 

  • Finance and book keeping
  • Marketing and sales
  • Fundraising
  • Legal Aspects and Business registration

This will be a valuable opportunity for the finalists to enhance their knowledge and skills prior to facing the finals, and all finalists are recommended to participate for the workshop series.

In addition, upon getting select for the finals, all finalists would be assigned a mentor who would guide them towards preparing for the finals. .

The selected finalists will compete in the ‘Pitch it, win it! – Finale’, which will be held on the 6th of December 2020. They would be given an unseen business scenario prepared by the judges, customized to their business and industry. Each team would be given one hour to build strategies and present a solution which would reflect their skills in quick thinking and decision making.

The winners of ‘Pitch it, win it’, will be decided based on a final score comprised with 50% brought forward from the preliminary round, and the other 50% from the points gained through the grand finale.

The first three places of the ‘Pitch it, win it!’ round, will receive valuable prices to escalate their Business. The winners of this category will be awarded prices worth LKR 100,000, which will include all or some of the following.

  • Cash Prices
  • Co-working space
  • IT solutions
  • HR solutions
  • Portfolio solutions
  • Web hosting
  • Mentor-ship

The participants of the ‘Pitch it, win it’ category have the opportunity to compete for an additional prize by submitting a thorough Business Plan about their start up. The required structure of the business plan will be sent to all participants of ‘Pitch it, win it’, upon registration, and submissions will be taken in until the 21st of November 2020. Competing for this award will be optional, and the points earned from it will not affect the ‘Pitch it, win it’ scores of the participants.

Registrations for ‘Pitch it,win it’ will be open until the 20th of November 2020.

Shark Tank

This will be a straight Finale, conducted in the form of a networking event, where the stage is open for growth stage startups to connect with potential investors from numerous fields of Business, who may be interested in offering them investments for a return of equity in their Businesses.. Participants of the category maybe individuals or teams, owning a business in the growth stage.

There will be a selection in order to take part for this category, and upon registration the participants will be asked to submit and overview of their start-up on the following points,

  • Existing revenue generation
  • Scalability
  • Profitability/impact
  • Business Model
  • Traction

The qualified would pitch their business to the investors, following some rounds of discussions. The businesses will be evaluated on grounds such as feasibility, growth and return on investment, and the participants stand a chance to receive investments for their Businesses. The participants may also gain expert advice for their business, and create long lasting contacts with investors. The Shark Tank round will be held on the 6th of December 2020.

Registrations for ‘Shark tank’ will be open until the 2nd of December 2020.

Board Room Challenge

An opportunity exclusively for the CIMA and ACCA students of Achievers Lanka Business School, to explore the Business world as well as gain experience to face their case study examinations at the higher stages of their courses.

The students would be divided into groups, and each group would be given a company to review. The students are expected to do a research on important aspects of the company, such as operations and finance, and present it before a panel of judges, along with a detailed report. The winners of this category will be presented with Certificates. The Board Room Challenge will be held on the 22nd of November 2020.

OUR SUCCESS STORIES

Jumpstart 2017

Jumpstart 2017 was staged under two categories; the Cooperate Awards and Enterprise Awards. The Corporate Awards category took a similar approach as the ‘Pitch it, win it’ category in 2020, rewarding many valuable prices for the top three talented entrepreneurs. The first place walked home with,

  • Prize of LKR 100,000/=
  • Working space at Business Hubs Sri Lanka.
  • ICT solution (app or website), entrepreneurship mentoring and a collection of tech-tools from Revolution Portfolio.
  • Y club membership and networking opportunities from Youth Business Sri Lanka.

The Enterprise Awards category focused on the CIMA foundation level students of Achievers Lanka Business School, and took a similar approach as the Board Room Challenge in 2020. Mainly serving as an eye opener for the students who were just stepping into the Business world, the competition awarded certificates for participation as well as the first 3 places.

Jumpstart 2018

Jumpstart was back in 2018, to seek the next best start-up in town! It followed a similar approach as the ‘Pitch it, win it’ round this year. This year, Jumpstart brought in many  more exciting prices to the table, for the winners to escalate their Business Journey. The first place was awarded,

  • Rs.100,000/- Cash prize
  • 1-month free Co working at any co working space through Million spaces
  • 6 months free Co working at Business hubs
  • ICT solution (app or website), entrepreneurship mentoring and a collection of tech-tools from Revolution Portfolio.
  • Membership to the Y- club – Premier entrepreneur gathering & mentoring network for the finalists.
  • Providing a linkage to Social Media platforms and Marketing opportunities for the winners of JumpStart. (Based on the product feasibility and scale up opportunity)
  • Networking opportunities with investors for the winners of Jumpstart

Jumpstart 2019

Jumpstart expanded its limits in the year 2019, catering for Business ideators, early stage start-ups as well as Businesses in the growth stage. The business ideators and early stage startups competed in the ‘Pitch it, win it!’, similar to that of 2020. The first four places received many valuable prices with the winners being awarded,

  • A professional website developed worth over LKR 100 000 from Dawn Developments, which includes 8 Dynamic Pages, .com Domain, 5 Email accounts along with 5 hosting space, Server Security, Website Backup and maintenance for 2 years and Technical Support of any sort (IT related).
  • Discounts up to 75% on Dynamic Website for any number of pages, Static website over 10 pages, Any Domain, Additional Emails (after 5 free emails), Mobile Application, POS System, ERP Systems, Chat Bot, Dashboard with data analytics, HR System, Help Desk System and Consultation start up support for the website from Dawn Developments.
  • Co-working space of 6 months from Collaborate Co-working
  • 30 hours of Mentorship from StartupX Foundry
  • An article in the ‘Chokolaate’ Magazine

The Shark Tank round focused on Business in the growth stage, and took the same approach as it will this year. It opened the floor for the competitors to connect with reputed investors in the country in various fields.

After the completion of three successful editions, JumpStart has proven time and time again that it is the ideal platform to Jumpstart your business journey. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity and the rewards in store, to make your business dream a success.

Initiate your idea, Elevate your journey and Triumph in the field of Business, with Jumpstart 2020!

Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Skill Up: A Journey of Goodness

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An eye-opening tour, an inspiring workshop and to top it all, a fun evening on the beach to cap the day. The 19th of September is definitely a day the Rotaractors of Achievers Lanka Business School, look back to in nostalgia. “Skill Up” was a venture consisting of a tour into the well renowned charity organization “Foundation of Goodness” in Seenigama along with a workshop “Art of the Deal”, discussing project Management and the art of effectively approaching sponsors, conducted by Mr. Kushil Gunasekara, founder of “Foundation of Goodness”.  

“Foundation of Goodness”, is a voluntary Social Service Organization, focused on building a holistic rural community development model, focusing on 10 empowerment divisions including Rural Welfare, Children and Youth Empowerment, Women Empowerment and Business and Enterprise, in a wide range of areas. They hold the mission, “To empower the less privileged rural communities whilst inculcating the spirit of goodness, so that they may have equal opportunities to excel in life.

The journey started off with a one hour’s journey to Seenigama, a small coastal town bordering Hikkaduwa. We reached the “Foundation of Goodness” premises by 8.45 a.m and were greeted graciously by none other than Mr. Kushil Gunasekara, himself. To briefly introduce who Mr. Kushil, he is a former manager for the legendary cricketer, Muttiah Muralitharan, businessman and a proud Rotary Past President. His great dedication to charity and volunteering is well renowned across the globe and has lauded him the support of global icons such as Sir Ian Botham and Bryan Adams to name a few. 

At our arrival, Mr. Kushil provided a lengthy but inspiring introduction of the organization, all the way from its humble beginnings, the story of how it was brought to the ground by the mighty strength of the 2004 tsunami, and how despite all the odds, the organization rose back up stronger than ever. He explained his initial motive to embark on this mission, where he saw the large gap between the Colombo educated, privileged individuals like himself while the people of his village Seenigama, though very talented, smart and committed, unable to enjoy the same privileges due to the lack of opportunity and underdevelopment in the area. This bore his conscious heavy and prompted him to begin this campaign to better the lives of the people of his hometown.

The entrance was glamorized with different pictures, banners and different snippets depicting donations and achievements each telling a unique story of its own and each backing up that introduction provided. The profound impact that FOG has provided not only to the people of Seenigama but also to citizens all across different corners of this island was made aware through each of these different displays.

Following this introduction, we were provided a tour of the premises where we were shown the preschool, play area, computer rooms and the technical training rooms.

The organization has offered a multitude of courses in order to enhance the skills of the people ranging from Programming, GIT, Technical training (NVQ), Cookery and Bakery, hairdressing and many more. These courses had proven a lot of success over the years with multiple success stories of students gaining meaningful employment across different fields in various multinational organizations. Many of these individuals have had sorrowful back stories as they’ve been rendered orphaned and homeless due to the 2004 tsunami, but despite these odds, they’ve strived hard and achieved successful careers. We watched as the classes were conducted in meticulous manner with students young as their 20s up to students in their 50’s, mainly those whom were housewives who wish to learn a trade to create new forms of income for their households.

We then wandered across the other sections of the foundation such as the crafts store which displayed a variety of creative, environmental handcrafts which were up for sale for those interested. This was right next to the FOG library which had a variety of donated books from donors across the world. This was also adjoining a “Good Thoughts Room” which was pioneered by Mr. Kushil in order to instill peace upon a troubled mind and to invoke motivational thoughts for the students of FOG.

The room that had got everyone’s attention was the cricket room which consisted of signed cricket memorabilia from multiple global cricketing stars including signed jerseys, game bowls and bats, signed pictures from global cricketing icons; Sir Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and many more. This felt like a holy place of worship for our cricket crazed Rotaractors who enjoyed the opportunity immensely!

Up next we had the “Art of the Deal” workshop conducted by Mr. Kushil Gunasekara himself. During this workshop, Mr. Kushil spoke about his extensive experience in Rotary, both as a club treasurer and as a president. Understanding that his core principles were not aligned with those of the Rotary movement in Sri Lanka back in the day, he became disillusioned with the concept and went on to embark on this journey of his own. Here he explained how he built donor trust in his foundation and how he made this foundation started by himself, into one of the most successful charity foundations in the country to date. This he achieved through making the best use of every donation he received, making sure that its impact was truly felt not only by its recipients but also his donors. The many life lessons and tips he explained based on his years as a Rotarian and in his NGO career were of immense value for our Rotaractors and truly inspired us too, to reach beyond.

The skills development program carried out by the foundation has not only been limited to the fields of academic, soft skills and vocational training, but has also taken great strides in the field of sports. As an avid sportsman himself, Mr. Kushil identified the importance of sports and the great potential of the children in Seenigama. We got the chance to see the great strides the foundation has made in this field where they’ve built two well maintained cricketing grounds along with a 20 feet swimming pool complex. The immense effort taken to maintain the cricketing turf took all of us by surprise as we’ve never seen a ground so well maintained in our lives and this was clearly well reflective of the quality standards the Foundation of Goodness has maintained.

The Swimming Pool complex namely the “Bryan Adams Swimming Pool Complex” was one donated by the iconic Canadian guitarist and singer Bryan Adams who was so impressed by the foundation’s work, that he not only provided a grant to build the complex, but also funded its maintenance for an entire year. The results of all these collective efforts of the foundation and its donors has borne fruit with the multitudes of national level sportsmen/sportswomen this initiative has trained and created for the country. 

We capped off this very eventful day with a relaxing and fun evening in the Hikkaduwa beach where everyone got a chance to unwind before heading back home.

Reflecting back on this memorable day, it truly gave inspiration to what great acts of kindness we as human beings are capable of achieving if we put our heart and soul to it and its profound impacts to those who receive it. To quote Mr. Kushil Gunasekara himself “It’s not about doing great things, but doing little things with great love”, and I truly believe that even the small bit of kindness can make all the difference in the world.

Written by: Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Cut the Greed, Not the Green Phase1

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The Forest Cover of Sri Lanka which stood at 49% in the year 1920, has dropped to a shocking 16.5% over the past century. Today, deforestation continues to take place drastically, destroying over 25,000 hectares of forest annually. While the rich and valuable forest resources of this country are being limitlessly taken away to fulfill the needs of mankind, there exists groups of people dedicated towards compensating the situation and reforming the original as much as possible. We, at Rotaract Achievers believed it was our duty as well to contribute towards the re-forestation of Sri Lanka, and decided to join hands with this valuable cause.

Cut the greed, not the green is a reforestation project carried out by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, partnering with Reforest Sri Lanka. The project was initiated with the aim of planting trees at different locations around the country. After having completed two successful phases of this project during the last Rotaract year, our team was determined to do an even bigger job this time, completing many more phases of this impressive project.

The first phase for this year took place on 5th of September 2020 with a target of planting 500 kumbuk plants at the Etipola Mountain base beside Moragolu Oya, located near Riverstone, Matale. Our club members had planned to gather by 4.00 AM, at Achievers. However, adhering to the Sri Lankan custom of getting delayed, it was 5.00 AM when we actually set off. After a four-and-a-half-hour journey, we reached our destination.

The surrounding was mesmerizing as the Knuckles range was visible covered by the steamy evergreen vegetation. Despite wanting to sit and enjoy the beauty for some time, we had to directly get into work since we were already late. The samplings and required equipment had already been brought by the members of Reforest Sri Lanka, who were also present to lend their hands for the project.

As the first stage of the process, we had to take the plants down a slope towards the area they had to be planted. We decided to spread out at hands distance and passed the plants down the slope, to make the job faster. After bringing them down, everyone had to take two or three plants and walk another 200m towards the planting spot. This was indeed the most energy draining part of the entire process. We planted the samplings in the holes which had already been bored by augers. After planting about 250 of them, we decided to take a break and have lunch before resuming to finish the remaining.

We all relaxed along the Moragolu Oya, rejoicing the scenic beauty of the environment while having a simple meal, and even enjoyed the natural fish therapy in the small ponds formed by the stone beds along the stream. Just before getting back to work, it started to rain which paved in many ways to add misery to our task.

The main problem we faced was leaches, as they started to appear drastically after the rain. It was a dreadful sight to see two or three leaches lurking beneath our clothes and relishing on our blood. However, we managed to plant some more samplings amidst this chaos. But eventually with many of us fatigued towards the end with the amount of work, and the gradual worsening of the weather, we decided to wrap it up for the day. Even though we weren’t able to achieve the target due to the unfavorable conditions, we managed to bed 320 plants by the end of the day, and everyone felt content and happy to see how it had turned out.

The evening view of the mountains was so lovely; we spent some time enjoying the view and taking pictures to capture the moments.

Before we set off back to Colombo, we decided to spend some time at the Bambarakiri Ella. It is a multi stepped waterfall, where a series of waterfalls, each having its own pool are connected together one after the other. There were two pools accessible for us. Even though one was safe, the other one had a dangerous plunge pool just below its adjoining waterfall which had a history of no one returning from it after going in. Fortunately, just before we could get into it, somebody directed us to the safer side which was suitable for swimming. We swam and refreshed ourselves in the cold water after the tiring day. The waterfall is indeed a hidden gem, a tranquil and peaceful place. A suspension bridge spanning the falls added the finishing touch to the already beautiful scenery.

No one wanted to leave that place, but since it was already late, half heartedly we all got back to the vehicle and returned to Colombo, putting an end to a very eventful day, with plenty of memories to cherish.

It’s undeniable that the value of time we spent for such a project is immeasurable. Our club members gained a lot from the first phase of Cut the Greed, not the Green, from the knowledge and experience, to fostering partnerships, the satisfaction gained from contributing towards reforesting the county, not to mention the amount of fun we had. We ended the day eagerly looking forward to the second phase of the project very soon!   

Written by: Rtr. Gowthaman Jegatheesan

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Our 11th Installation Ceremony

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It was another memorable day on the Calendar of Rotaract Achievers. It was the most awaited and excited occasion, where a new president, along with a new Board of Directors were to be appointed to ‘Reach Beyond’.

The 11th Installation Ceremony of Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School was held on 29th of August 2020 at Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA) Auditorium. The young bloods were ready for their duties which they’re assigned to, and were about to officially take over that day!

The compere for the night, Rtr. Vinuri Ramanayake (who is none other than our President’s very own sister), held the proceedings perfectly together from beginning to end. The event was graced by the Chief Guest; President of the Rotary Club of Colombo Midtown, Rtn. Aswan Bangsajayah.

The ceremony commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp by the dignitaries, after which they were invited to take their seats at the head table. Then, Sergeant-at-Arms, Rtr. Niflaz Nuhuman called the house to order and handed over the proceedings by collaring the District Rotaract Representative, Rtr. Kasun Sigera and Outgoing President, Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe. Rtr. Sathma called the 11th Installation Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, and the event was officially begun!

After the National Anthem, the proceedings were followed by the Rotaract formalities. Rtr. Asel Gunaratne recited the Flag Salutation, Rotaract Invocation and Rotary four-way test. After the Rotaract Song, the welcome address was delivered by the Project Co-chairpersons, Rtr. Mark Nesan and Rtr. Nethmi Lavanya.

Next up, the Secretary’s report was presented by the Secretary for the year 2019-20, Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake. It outlined the remarkable projects Rotaract Achievers had completed during the last year, under the theme “To Avail and to Thrive”. Rtr. Thisura added that he was proud of how the club had performed; the service it had done towards the community, as well as how he saw the club members learn and grow through this journey. He then displayed a video presentation which replayed the beautiful memories created during the year, which was a nostalgic moment for us all.

This was followed by the speech of the outgoing President, where Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe took the stage to address the audience as the President of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, for one last time. She started off by saying that the four years she was a part of Rotaract Achievers were some of the best years of her life, and that she could not put into words how grateful she was for this “Magical Journey“. She said that it was her absolute honour to have led this club, and that the memories and satisfaction she gained through this movement would be cherished for a lifetime.

Rtr. Sathma extended her gratitude to the Past Presidents and Past Members of Rotaract Achievers, and wholeheartedly thanked the present members who have given their utmost commitment to continue the legacy, giving an individual shout-out to her Executive Committee and Board of Directors. She also did not forget to appreciate her parents, siblings and friends who have supported her throughout this journey. Rtr. Sathma said she was nothing but proud of her team, and her love towards the club was visible in her face. She wished her best for the incoming team, being certain that the club will only reach greater heights under the leadership of Rtr. Thisura. Rtr. Sathma ended her speech reminding everyone that “You are only as brave as you allow yourself to be”.

Rtr. Sathma then handed over tokens of appreciation to dignitaries who have played a major role during her Presidency. A real surprise was revealed when she also had a token for her very dedicated Secretary (Secretary Slave :P), and incoming President, Rtr. Thisura. Following this, a token of appreciation for Rtr. Sathma was handed over to her by her Board of Directors, and the Board of 2019-20 officially stood together for one last picture.

After this, the best part chanced. It was the introduction of the incoming president, and Rtr. Thisura was surprised to see his schoolmate Ruchira walking up on stage to introduce him. After an exciting reveal of Rtr. Thisura, the most anticipated moment arrived. It was time for a new leader to take up the club to reach its boundary, and to officially hand over the reins. Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake was collared as the 11th President of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, by outgoing President Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe.

Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake officially addressed the gathering as the President for the year 2020-21. He then inducted his Board of Officials, giving each one of them a funny and unique introduction.

On the lineup, the District Rotaract Representative, Rtn. Rtr. PP. Kasun Sigera was invited to address the gathering. He spoke about his career in Rotaract and what it has to offer. He admired the club for the work done throughout the past year, and wished a successful year ahead.

Following this, the District Rotaract Chair, Past District Rotaract Representative Rotarian Amjad Yoosuf and Chief guest, Rtn. Aswan Bansajayah shared their words. President Rtr. Thisura presented token of appreciation to the dignitaries.

After this, the floor was open for felicitations. The Rotaractors and well-wishers were lined up. They expressed their Congratulations and wished the club all the success for the upcoming year.

The vote of thanks was delivered by the Secretary of the year 2020-2021, Rtr. Suwithi Karunasekara. Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake terminated the 11th Installation Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School for fellowship and refreshments.

A part of the crowd was enjoying the refreshments while mingling with one another, while others were still busy taking pictures. All in all, it was a great and memorable day of Rotaract Achievers, which was made possible despite the Pandemic. The hard work of everyone who made it a success is highly appreciated.

VIVA LA ROTARACT!

Written by: Rtr. Mark Nesan

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena  

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Speak to Lead

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The third of September was definitely a day to remember! The first Professional Development workshop for the year Speak to Lead was finally here. It was to take place right after the club meeting that day, and fellow Rotaractors from other clubs were also to join the session.

Having experienced a very thrilling and sensational public speaking workshop by our guest speaker Ms. Sachintha Gunaratne “Speak Up” the year before, the Rotaractors of Achievers were rather upbeat over this follow up session of Speak to Lead conducted by Sachintha herself again.

The workshop started off with a round of introductions with everyone introducing who they were. However, this wasn’t your typical introduction, unless you’re used to walking up on stage doing your own unique dance to Apache Indian’s ‘Boom Shakala’ while introducing yourself. It was the first step of Ms. Sachintha’s strategy of overcoming our fear of taking the stage: being comfortable and confident enough to embarrass ourselves! Everyone was on their feet having a good time, laughing at not only the silly antics put up by others but also over the silly dances each of us had to offer.

After that exciting introduction, we all settled down to listen to some key points on how to make our speech great. The most important aspect Ms. Sachintha stressed on was how we need to make our speech an extension of ourselves. In other words, it must be based on what we’re truly passionate about. According to her, this makes sure that our tone, facial expressions and gestures would all synchronize with our speech. Therefore, it makes it easier to make the best use of our body language as we’re speaking about something that naturally comes to us.

Afterwards she asked a few members what they were passionate about. She used this to bring out how we could potentially build powerful speeches from the ground up, using something that interests us or we are passionate about. She strongly suggested that instead of speaking on overused and generic topics, that we should use novel and abstract content that can maximize our engagement with our audience. At this point, she stressed on the importance of understanding our audience when delivering a speech, and how we need to put our place well in the audience. Ms. Sachintha also taught us how we can orient our speeches to what would engage the audience the best. An important tip to aide this which she pointed out was that we should always use language that refers to the audience, such as constantly using the word “YOU” which gives a strong impression to the audience that you are talking to them.

Seeing that the session was getting monotonous, Ms. Sachintha felt it was best that we try out an exercise where we try to bring out our expressions and our gestures. For this, she played a few songs where we had to sing-along while showcasing our emotions to bring out the meaning of the lyrics. She first played “Hello from the Other Side” by Adele where the crowd had to bring out their remorseful emotions with the words. After some time, the song was changed to “Sheela” by JayaSri which really got everyone riled up and full of energy. Everyone took turns to show their most passionate affection to their beloved කුමාරි Sheela. Some rotaractors really took it onto themselves, notably Rotaractor President Thisura who capitalized the opportunity to express his passionate feelings for someone a few rows behind him. (#ඒවිදෝමගේකුමාරි?).

Finally settling down after that exhilarating item, we next looked into what goes into the structure of a complete and powerful speech. Ms. Sachintha explained on how a amazing speech is like an amazing sandwich. The start needs to be charming enough to hold the audience attention from point get-go and the body must portray the strong message you want to convey, while the conclusion must end on a high note good enough that the audience would remember your speech for a long time. This brought us to the two essential factors we need to keep in mind while preparing our speeches which is “What you say” & “How you say it”.

Finally, to put everything we learnt into practice, we were given a few real world everyday scenarios where we would need to get up on stage and which are also situations where our nerves would get the best of us. Notable of those given scenarios was the Best man/Bridesmaid speech at your best friend’s wedding which was the topic all the speakers spoke about. One of the highlights of this item was Rtr. Oscar of RACIIT ’s speech for Rtr. Thisura’s supposed wedding, which was kept quite heartfelt.

The two subsequent speeches that followed by Rtr. Hasitha and Rtr. Asel didn’t see reason to hold back, and really went onto rip each other off! The item finally finished off with another heartfelt and well delivered bridesmaid speech by Rtr. President Methmini of RACUOCFOA, which ended the event on a high note.

Taking the standards of the last year’s workshop up another notch, Speak to Lead ended on an even higher note. Breaking the norms of a typical monotonous one-way public speaking workshops, we sang, we danced, we joked and we learnt. Making use of the fun but valuable tips we learnt, we will hopefully be able to not only break ground on our stage fright but to also embrace the speaker within us. Here’s to another amazing session organized by our PD team at RACALBS and we await more great events of this caliber to come!

Written by: Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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RefleXions

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RefleXions by Rotaract Achievers on Scribd

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ShareIt: Be Aware of what you share

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File Transferring among various devices such as Personal Computers, Mobile Phones Tablets used to depend on several technologies like Bluetooth, Infrared until recently. Though these services were reliable they were not suitable to transfer large content as the transfer speed was several MB per second. With the development in data transmission techniques, new services emerged promising faster file transfer speeds due to their reliability of techniques such as NFC, WiFi, etc. These apps had another advantage of being able to work across different device platforms be it Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and it helped to increase their popularity in a rapid face. Among such apps, SHAREit can be considered as one of the leaders in the category, which has been downloaded for over 1.8 billion times across 200 countries and have around 500 million active users as well. 

Unlike social media apps, which are notorious for their data and privacy practices, these File transfer apps are not considered to be harmful. But do they really operate with fewer privacy data? We are about to explore this by looking at the privacy disclosure of SHAREit App.

The App collects your personal information if you open an account or use another service like Twitter, Facebook to log in, which includes your basic personal details along with email address, mobile number, etc.

Furthermore, when you use the service, the app may collect Location data related to your device. This does not limit to the usual GPS data, but also data from “WiFi, compass, accelerometer or other sensors in your mobile device”

Therefore it appears that the app may be using a number of hardware in the device you to transfer file and content while gathering several location related data that can affect your data privacy. 

Another controversial point that appears is that the App possibly collects data about the other activities that you perform while you are using SHAREit. 

As per the privacy statement, your personal and usage data is collected to function the services of the App. And they may require to transfer user data to countries such as “the People’s Republic of China or Singapore.” China is known for its controversial personal data monitoring and usage, and this is further enhanced by the fact that the parent company ushareit has Chinese roots.

But the company states that depending on the applicability of laws, the users will be able to request their personal data, restrict or even erase them by sending their request to dpo@ushareit.com

Furthermore, the statement explains that the company will not share your personal data with third parties without consent. But there are certain exceptions such as under the mandatory requirement from government authorities, For the purpose of academic research or the public interest, to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests, etc. 

  “The information that you transfer, send and/or share through the Application, the Services and/or the Site may be intercepted, collected, used and disclosed by third parties” For which the company is not responsible and the users need to take necessary security measures to avoid such incidents.  

Our Verdict: Despite the seemingly safe outlook of the App, ease of use and the transferring speeds, there may be a threat for your data privacy by using SHAREit. Therefore it is advisable to take necessary privacy protection measures in-app and with the support of other apps such as Anti-virus services.

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Episode 3

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In this episode we meet one of the upcoming Multi-faceted personalities of the country, Hirushi Jayasena. Where we talk about her rapping skills, her time at Harvard and many more.

Hope everyone would have great fun watching it.

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