Entrepreneurs get due recognition under HSBC-British Council award scheme
The combined efforts of the British Council and HSBC Bank to encourage university students to become successful entrepreneurs is gathering momentum and at the HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards (YEA) 2012 held for the second year in succession, last week in Colombo two undergraduate groups and one undergraduate were adjudged winners among 127 applicants.
The first prize of Rs 500,000 was won by Ms K.G. Sujani of the Uva Wellassa University (UWU), for her Kitul Centre project; the 2nd prize Rs 200,000 was won by a group of undergraduate from the Sabaragamuwa University for a project called U-Grow connecting Agriculture with IT, while the third Rs 100,000 prize went again to a group of undergraduates from the UWU for the project ‘Nextgen Corporation – Nano solutions for next generation.
Of the three successful projects, the most ambitious one appeared to be the ‘Nextgen Corporation (PVT) Ltd from a UWU group. Viraj Madusanka, Managing Director-designate told the Business Times (BT) that they would be floating the company soon.
The UWU group demonstrated and presented their Business Plan at the awards ceremony. The company once formed would produce Carbon Nano Tubes (CNTs) which has large variety of applications in the fields of sports to space shuttles. The production operation is to separate carbon layers in graphite. Mr Madusanka told the BT that Sri Lanka has the best quality graphite as the contents mined are rich with 99% pure graphite.
The company expects to procure a US$45 million investment and expects a joint venture with another country. He said that CNTs are extensively used by China and it would be ideal to have a joint venture with a Chinese company.
He said that once the production is started, it would take only five months to reach the break-even point and after that they expect a profit of $4 million per month. He said that meticulous calculations have to be made and to prepare the project report they went into extensive research. The building, factory and installing machinery would take around 12 to 18 months.
The cost of production per gram of CNT would be in the range of $90 to $110 while the selling price would vary from $95 to $500. Once production begins, the proposed company plans to sell them at the rate of between $180 and $200 but would go by market forces. Mr Madusanka said that their production would be comparatively very high quality and therefore they could fetch a higher price.
Mr Madusanka said that they are expected to obtain patents for their invention. The company plans to put up its factory in the Kurunegala area where there are graphite mines.
The ambitious team from the UWU comprises Managing Director designate – Y V Madusanka; Finance Director designate – Kushani Hapuarachchi; Human Resource Director designate – Dilshan S Premathilake; Marketing Director designate – C.G. Wickramasinghe and Production and Sales Director – Navoda Senanayeka.
At the awards ceremony, Nick Nicolaou, CEO, HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives and Tony Reilly, Country Director, British Council Sri Lanka elaborated on the approach and success of the HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards (YEA) programme.
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