My EO Engage Social Impact Business Summit, Colombo – Jan 2019

Published by February 5, 2019 6:47 am

Hola people!! Hope all of you are doing well and had a great weekend! Thank you so much for showering Ms. Pavithra with your birthday wishes! 🙂

January was great for us.. Our MD Ms. Pavithra YS was awarded Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar (you can read about it here) by IMC Ladies’ Wing association. It was followed by a business trip to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Vindhya was a proud participant in MY EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) Engage Social Impact Business Summit 2019 held at Hilton Hotel, Colombo. Ms. Pavithra was invited as the Keynote speaker.

What is this EO? What do they do? Let me tell you…

EO is the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs. EO helps leading entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and connections to experts. (Source: https://www.eonetwork.org/) Since its establishment in 1987, EO has been instrumental in transforming and guiding the lives of entrepreneurs who are set out to change the world for better.

It is spread in 58 countries with 13000+ all around the world. EO Summit is an event that connects entrepreneurs from various countries, provide a platform for them to share their success stories and discuss the ways to achieve the task that they are set out for. It gives a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs who need guidance and knowledge transfer that would help them in succeeding in their businesses.

This summit, titled, My EO Engage Social Impact Business Summit was held for 2 days, Jan 11-12th 2019. It was to recognise members who have made or are making a social impact in their communities and localities and are working towards implementing United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/)

Day 1 of the summit saw members gather and share their journey on how they have managed to make an impact in their society and the experiences associated with it. Members from around the globe were in attendance. There were panel discussions on Profits with Purpose that saw entrepreneurs explain initiatives that they have taken keeping social impact in mind.

Ms. Pavithra was one of the 2 keynote speakers, the other being Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Founder / Chief Trustee of “Foundation of Goodness”, Sri Lanka. She delivered an inspiring speech on the inclusive journey of Vindhya, the social impact it has in the society and the measures that were taken towards SDGs. People in attendance were speechless after witnessing an inspiring video on Vindhyans’ that showcases their sheer grit with which they overcame all the hurdles.  After her speech, everyone promised to hire at least one person with disability in their organization and initiate the inclusion! Isn’t this great? Taking steady steps towards realizing the dream of having an inclusive workplace!

Ms. Pavithra speaking about Vindhya

Mr. Kushil spoke about his organization, Foundation of Goodness and the commendable work that he does in bridging the gap between the rural and urban sector in Sri Lanka. It left a profound impact and was very moving! His speech was rich with meaningful one-liners. Quoting a few of them:

 “Harness the waves of compassion to suppress the waves of destruction”

“Harness the talent in abundance in the village boys and girls!”

“Work style can be copied but not the passion!”

“Adversity – can break you down or make you break records!” and many more!”

Panel discussions saw participation from entrepreneurs, Mr. Nikhil Hirdaramani (Hirdaramani Group, Sri Lanka), Ms. Smita (Indivillage), to name a few and representatives of United Nations who explained about the initiatives taken by the UN towards implementing SDG and they reiterated the point that UN is always ready to help any person or organization working towards it.

Panel Discussion on Business: Profit with Purpose

As rightly said before, this summit served as platform for entrepreneurs to get meet and greet their fellows and thereby continue to stay in touch and help each other.

Day 2 – visit to Hirdaramani’s Mihila Factory

Hirdaramani’s Mihila Factory is located in Agalawatta, 70 kilometers southeast of Colombo. ‘Mihila’, which gives the meaning of ‘Planet Earth’, is an apparel facility, which provides an excellent case study for environmentally sustainable development, especially due to its location- surrounded by lush green fields!. This custom built, state of the art apparel factory, which employs one thousand workers and specializes in knitwear, emits 48 % less Carbon Dioxide when compared to similar facilities of its size. It saves water by an equal percentage. (Source: http://www.tilaksamarawickrema.com/Architecture-1/index-4.html) Through these factors, Mihila factory has managed to be in line with UN’s SDG in many ways.     

Introduction by Team Hirdaramani- Mihila Factory

We were explained about the processes followed in the factory that caters to the well being of its employees and the services offered for them to keep them healthy and happy. We walked through the operational floors where we got to see people bustling around, stitching and checking the quality of the clothes. Floor was properly split process-wise and works in an orderly manner. It was a great learning experience for all of us.

An enriching visit that was! The main take away for all of us was, “Gone are the days of being just an entrepreneur; all of us must see ourselves beyond that and start being a social entrepreneur!!”

Images source: My EO Engage Team

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This post was written by manasa balaji