Mitra Innovation recently hosted an internal event about Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Mitra’s Colombo office, and serial entrepreneur Dulith Herath was invited to be the main speaker. Find out about Dulith and the event here, and watch the excellent video.
The workshop is the first of a series of three which showcases successful entrepreneurs’ personal stories of building high growth businesses. Globally successful entrepreneurs will be invited to Mitra to share their start-up stories, lessons learned and thoughts on the future in an informal, interactive and engaging atmosphere that is inspiring to the team, and will help further develop their leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities.
Dulith Herath is the founder and CEO of Kapruka, a business that started with the simple idea of helping expats buy things for their loved ones in Sri Lanka. By setting up a rose flower farm, Dulith made it possible for expat Sri Lankans to send flowers to their loved ones at home. The success of the flower delivery service allowed Dulith to expand his business into what is known today as Sri Lanka’s largest e-commerce organisation with over 10,000 products and over 30 types of distinct services. Furthermore, Dulith opened up the Java lounge, a café franchise which is the first to offer Starbuck’s coffee in Sri Lanka. Kapruka’s success stems from innovations inspired by the company’s spirit of creativity which has set the standard for online business strategies and web based bench marks in Sri Lanka. Mitra has partnered with Dulith on several projects in the past, (e.g. Leaf, an energy monitoring tool) and hopes to maintain the partnership in the future.
Mitra was honored to have Dulith speak at the workshop, during which he shared his passion for innovation and startups, inspiring everyone to innovate. Dulith spoke about his early days which he spent experimenting with technology and building a firework wielding robot. He also worked on a number of personal projects during college, one of which (sithiyama.com- a Java-based site that would pinpoint places on a map of Sri Lanka) landed him a job at Microsoft as an application architect. Two years later, Dulith worked at Dell as a development specialist. Kapruka.com was born a year later.
Dulith belongs to the innovation category of entrepreneurs and stated that starting Kapruka was a platform for him to showcase that innovation. Today, he takes pride in the absence of investors in Kapruka, which has given him the freedom to explore various innovative ideas. Dulith also emphasised the importance of teams, stating that teams are key to achieving long run success. Employees that are nurtured to become leaders can potentially be selected from within as the company scales up.
Dulith, similar to Mitra’s belief, encourages young people to become established in all aspects of life as early as possible and encourages people to be more focused because it leads to increased creativity. Dulith’s most important tip for marketing an idea or product (and pretty much everything) is Pilot testing, which allows one to learn about the market response. He attributes the success of all his ventures to three factors: the corporate culture, passion to innovation, and profitability.
He further briefed the team about his latest venture Grasshoppers, which is an ecosystem of self-employed drivers that help SME’s do e-commerce delivery. Several parties, including UN organisations, have expressed interest in exploring opportunities to introduce Grasshoppers to their respective countries due to the unique way it connects SME’s in developing countries to e-trade/e-commerce. According to Dulith, Grasshoppers helps to overcome the three main barriers to e-commerce faced by SME’s (import and export barriers, payment gateways/ alternative payment options, and door-step delivery). It does this by offering handy solutions that subdue these barriers and facilitate the scaling up of these businesses to national and international markets. Mitra hopes to one day contribute to the venture which supports young and small entrepreneurs all over the world.
His speech helped us to think about; stress reduction, positive communication, purposeful action, and thinking outside the box.
Thanks from the mitra team for the presentation.