Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for entrepreneurship in Asia bestowed recognition on Sri Lanka’s homegrown, household staple, Supirivicky at their recently conducted International Innovation awards for the year 2018. Supirivicky won in the Product category and present to receive the award was MD of the Group Mr. Asoka Hettigoda. “This award is a testimony of my fa..
Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for entrepreneurship in Asia bestowed recognition on Sri Lanka’s homegrown, household staple, Supirivicky at their recently conducted International Innovation awards for the year 2018. Supirivicky won in the Product category and present to receive the award was MD of the Group Mr. Asoka Hettigoda.
“This award is a testimony of my family’s untiring efforts to preserve our age old traditions and remedies in a modern form, one that would appeal to both local and international customers, without losing it’s identity or intrinsic characteristics”, said Asoka Hettigoda.
Over 400 attendees were present at the event, comprising of industry experts, entrepreneurs, and innovation leaders. Apart from Supporting Organizations such as Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), Hong Kong-Thailand Business Council, InvoTech, MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, The Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong & Macau), and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), the event was also attended by dignitaries including Tan Sri Dr. Fong Chan Onn, Former Human Resources Minister of Malaysia, and Chairman of Enterprise Asia, Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee, Former Chairman of Tourism Malaysia, and Advisor to Enterprise Asia, Dr. Eugene Chien, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Environment, Taiwan and Advisor to Enterprise Asia, Lieutenant General Sudhir Sharma, Former Quartermaster, General, Indian Army, and Advisor to Enterprise Asia and Dato' William Ng, President of Enterprise Asia. According to Dr. Fong, "Companies that encourage a culture of innovation within their respective businesses are already reaping the rewards of more rapid growth, better employee engagement and resilience against economic trends. There is little doubt that innovation is today the key game changer for many businesses, and this will continue to be so."
Organized by Enterprise Asia, International Innovation Awards (IIA) is the most coveted global recognition program which aims to recognize and honour best innovative practices in the categories of Product, Service & Solution, and Organization & Culture, with the goal to encourage organizations to continue investing in innovations. Judging parameters include innovation distinction, practicality and performance, commercial viability, social and economic impact, replicability, and institutional support. Judges for the IIA was comprised of a panel of innovation experts and thought leaders, while scoring was done using the proprietary 8D Benchmark. The Awards is part of the third dimension of Enterprise Asia's purpose: Democratizing Entrepreneurship, Institutionalizing Sustainability and Empowering Innovation. This year, the committee received more than 160 international nominations across 24 industries. Some of the winners include Dell Inc., Singapore; Ogawa World Berhad, Malaysia; Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited, Thailand; CTBC Financial Holding Co., Ltd., Taiwan; Ping An Group (Ping An Technology), China; Etiqa Insurance Pte Ltd, Singapore; and Roads & Transport Authority, Dubai and of course Sri Lanka’s Supirivicky.
The story of the Siddhalepa Group of Companies goes back 200 years to the middle of the 19th century. In Galle, a small town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka lived Hettigoda Gamage Don Carolis de Silva, an agriculturist by profession. His talents however, were multifaceted. He excelled in the art of Astrology and was also well known as a skilled Ayurvedic physician. Of his two sons, Hendrick De Silva Hettigoda followed in his father's footsteps and studied Ayurveda and Astrology, while his younger son, the late Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Prof. Walpola Rahula, rose to fame as a world-renowned Buddhist scholar. The rest is history as today Siddhalepa and it’s diverse products and services are a household name.
Supirivicky was launched to the local market in 1988 and was the first non white toothpaste based on traditional ayurvedic herbs for total oral care to be introduced in all of Asia. Supirivicky combines nine Ayurvedic ingredients best known for their healing and restorative effects for gums, teeth, throat and tongue. Supirivicky Ayurvedic toothpaste helps to prevent tartar, tooth decay, and discolouration of the teeth. The nine Ayurvedic ingredients are namely, Aralu (Terminalia chebula), Garcinia (Garcinia cambogia), Clove (Eugenia caryophyllus), Munamal (Mimusops elengi), Katukarandu (Barleria prionitis), Pila (Tephrosia purpurea), Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Pepper (Piper nigrum), and Welmee (Glycyrrhiza glabra).
The selection of ingredients used in Supirivicky was based on classical Ayurvedic texts such as Charaka Samhitha written in 2nd Century B.C, Sushruta Samhitha written in 6th Century B.C, Saarartha Sangrahaya written by King Buddhadasa, Bhavaprakasha 16th Century A.D., Rajanigantu 17th Century A.D. and many more using formulations/ingredients to create a product suitable for modern use. Traditional Ayurvedic ingredients were converted using sophisticated machinery, creating a fluoride free toothpaste which was recently re-launched as SUPIRIVICKY ORIGINAL and SUPIRIVICKY MILD with Goraka as its key ingredient to improve it’s efficacy and effectives for total oral care.
Established in 1971, the Group is one of the largest and pioneering industrialists of ayurveda products with a range of over 400 medicinal oils, balms, teas, elixirs, ayurvedic cosmetics, ayurvedic teas and other medicines for domestic and export markets. The group also runs an ayurveda hospital, the Siddhalepa Ayurveda Resort & Spa, a city hotel Anarva Mount Lavinia and several Spas in Sri Lanka, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Group was the first in the country to receive ISO Trinity with ISO 9001, 14001, 22000 and also OHSAS, HACCP, SLS275 and GMP. The Group’s unwavering commitment to a green environment has won them many national awards such as the Award for Carbon Footprint ISO 14064 in 2018, Presidential Green Awards and Green Reporting 2018/2015, as well as the National Cleaner Production Practices and awards 2009, 2010, and 2011, for Water, Material, and Energy Efficiency, and the international green awards and recognitions such as The Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards 2017 under the Green Leadership Category Award for Outstanding and Exemplary Achievement in Social and Responsible Entrepreneurship.
Named the “Balm King” by Asiaweek in 1989, Dr. Victor Hettigoda D.Lit has also been awarded several prestigious accolades over the years including the coveted “Deshabandu” award, bestowed by the President of Sri Lanka, in recognition for his untiring contribution to the field of Ayurveda. He has also been bestowed the “Shahassrabisheka Waidyasuri” award conferred by the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Welfare, in recognition of being one out of 100 best Ayurvedic Physicians of the Century who have rendered yeomen services to the Nation. The Honorary “Ayurveda Vishwa Panditha” was also conferred on Dr. Hettigoda by the Samastha Lanka Ayurveda Waidya Sammelanaya (Federation of Sri Lanka Ayurveda Physician) in recognition of his contribution to the field of Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka. In 1998 LMD named Dr Victor Hettigoda as one of the 50 greatest Sri Lankans since Independence.
SUPIRIVICKY IS THE LEADING AYURVEDIC TOOTHPASTE LOVED BY ALL SRI LANKANS AND OTHERS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Siddhalepa’s strong commitment towards Climate Change, recently notched up another bar with the ISO 14064 certification for quantification & reporting of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and removals. Siddhalepa has been measuring their organizational GHG emissions since 2017, conducting an assessment of organizational GHG emissions inventory, also known as a carbon footprint inventory. ..
Siddhalepa’s strong commitment towards Climate Change, recently notched up another bar with the ISO 14064 certification for quantification & reporting of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and removals.
Siddhalepa has been measuring their organizational GHG emissions since 2017, conducting an assessment of organizational GHG emissions inventory, also known as a carbon footprint inventory. The total gross GHG emissions is calculated to be 1029.26 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e) for 2017/2018 financial year.
By accurately measuring the GHG emissions associated with a company’s operations, the company is able to develop and improve their carbon management strategy and identify new opportunities for carbon reduction. By taking proactive steps to measure, manage report and reduce carbon emissions, a company demonstrates leadership and commitment to addressing the risks associated with dangerous climate change.
The carbon footprint has a number of key benefits to an organization. Reducing the carbon footprint helps a company to better understand its impacts on Climate Change, develop key performance indicators for carbon emissions and energy use. On a social scale, it helps maintain a leading position as an Environment Friendly Company in Sri Lanka, meet the demands of stakeholders to address the imperative Corporate Responsibility of Environmental Preservation and develop action plans to make real carbon savings across the business.
The GHG standard is divided into three scopes, two of which are mandatory and the third voluntary. Siddhalepa achieved the necessary requirements in all three areas to be awarded the SLS ISO 14064 Standard.
Scope one of the GHG standard deals with direct carbon emissions, scope two deals with indirect carbon emissions while scope three deals with voluntary indirect emission reductions.
Siddhalepa will continue their GHG Emission reduction drive with several measures that they plan for the future. Among them are: Establishing a Green Building Policy for all future constructions according to the National Green Building Council practices and guidelines, Establishing an Energy Efficient Appliance Purchasing Policy, establishing a Green Procurement Policy, establishing a resource optimization program to reduce or eliminate waste generation of all types of operations and activities of the company. They also plan to develop energy efficiency improvements in factory premises
Achieving the GHG standard is a further endorsement towards their overall commitment towards a greener environment. The company has won a long history of recognition at National Environment Awards. The Group has been among the winners at the National Cleaner Production Awards for water efficiency, material efficiency and production practices from 2009 to 2011 and won a Green Award for the second consecutive year, in 2017 and 2018.
Congratulations to our Managing Director, Mr. Asoka Hettigoda for being among the top 50, A list profiles of Sri Lankan Business People featured in LMD's November issue. THE A-LIST PROFILE This year's roll call of the island's leading business personalities pays homage to leaders from diverse fields. The 2018 lineup is led by the nation's trailblazing conglomerates, followed by the banking ..
Congratulations to our Managing Director, Mr. Asoka Hettigoda for being among the top 50, A list profiles of Sri Lankan Business People featured in LMD's November issue.
THE A-LIST PROFILE This year's roll call of the island's leading business personalities pays homage to leaders from diverse fields. The 2018 lineup is led by the nation's trailblazing conglomerates, followed by the banking and finance industry – they are among the giants of Sri Lanka's engine of growth. Sector-wise, hotels and travel, manufacturing, apparel and retail also feature prominently, and there are representatives from construction and engineering, e-commerce, motor, power and energy, real estate, technology and telecommunications too.
Asoka Hettigoda has been tasked with maintaining Hettigoda Group's leadership status in Ayurveda products and services – and as such, he has promoted true Ayurveda and the careful use of natural resources, and introduced modern technology to the fledgling sector. The group's flagship brand Siddhalepa manufactures Ayurveda medicines in addition to healthcare, beauty, skin, oral care, wellness and spa products. The baton passed onto him by his father Deshabandu Victor Hettigoda, the famed entrepreneur of recent decades, is thus in good hands.
"Believe in yourself believe in what you sell” - Asoka HettigodaDownload PDF
Re - establishing their commitment to a green environment, Siddhalepa was once again recognised at the recent Presidential Environmental Awards, with a bronze award. Director Purchasing, Siddhalepa, Mr. Wasantha Ariyathilake receiving the award on behalf of the company from Chief Minister, Western Province, Isura Devapriya. Consistently and courageously championing the green c..
Re - establishing their commitment to a green environment, Siddhalepa was once again recognised at the recent Presidential Environmental Awards, with a bronze award.
Director Purchasing, Siddhalepa, Mr. Wasantha Ariyathilake receiving the award on behalf of the company from Chief Minister, Western Province, Isura Devapriya.
Consistently and courageously championing the green cause, Siddhalepa has been among the country’s annual environment award winners in the past few years.
Siddhalepa is also the first Ayurveda company to be recognised in the pharmaceutical category at the Green Awards.
The Group has won awards at the National Cleaner Production Awards for water efficiency, material efficiency and production practices from 2009 to 2011 and won a Green Award for the third time.
This year the company strengthened its key criteria for eligibility which are energy saving, waste management, efficiency in utilisation of natural resources, and contribution to CSR activities.
“Our award is a reflection of our commitment to nature,” said Director, Mrs. Lankani Hettigoda. “This award and the awards won in the past are testimony to our commitment to a sustainable living,” she added.
The company has a well-defined Environmental Management system of ISO 14001 and have taken all measures to mitigate the impact on environment due to industrial activities.
Siddhalepa’s innovative project for schoolchildren - the Herbal Garden has been hailed as a pioneering and unique environment program which encourages children at a very young age to contribute to protecting our environment. In a country wide program schoolchildren are trained to grow indigenous herbs in their school premises and care for the garden with assistance provided by for plants, tools, manure etc. by Siddhalepa.
The company also runs a highly successful national waste management program covering religious sites and maternity homes in the entire country. Storage containers for raw material are modified as waste bins and distributed to these sites to be used to manage waste.
The international environment norm of the three principle - reduce, recycle and reuse is practiced using effective waste management methods for all other types of waste in the company.
Siddhalepa Managing Director, Mr. Asoka Hettigoda, as chief guest at Entrepreneurs Live 2.0 program organized by the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM) recently lead the team of presenters with his experiences and learning in entrepreneurship, which took Siddhalepa to the next level of business from its humble beginnings. Prof. Ajantha S. Dharmasiri, Director and Chairman ..
Siddhalepa Managing Director, Mr. Asoka Hettigoda, as chief guest at Entrepreneurs Live 2.0 program organized by the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM) recently lead the team of presenters with his experiences and learning in entrepreneurship, which took Siddhalepa to the next level of business from its humble beginnings.
Prof. Ajantha S. Dharmasiri, Director and Chairman of the Board of Management of PIM and Patron of PIM Genesis with Siddhalepa MD, chief guest at event Mr. Asoka Hettigoda.
The PIM, affiliated to the University of Sri Jayewardenepura is recognized as the nation’s management mentor, which encourages and supports students who aspire to become entrepreneurs through their business incubator, PIM Genesis.
In its signature event ‘Entrepreneur Live 2.0’ Genesis featured seven successful entrepreneurs who are MBAs and alumni of the PIM, to share their successful story and their vision for the future.
Being the premier MBA provider to the nation for three decades, PIM always supported entrepreneurs who drive the economy with innovating thinking. Genesis, their business incubator was designed to give birth to many innovative businesses by grooming young entrepreneurs to the nation.
Established in 2014 with the vision to “Be the master flow of new local businesses to support the national economic development”, the program focuses on grooming and enhancing the quality of the start-up businesses` initiated by the PIM’s MBA students. This facility assists the PIM entrepreneurs by providing advisory services, facility-based services, creating opportunities for networking and partnering with the leading local business firms as well as other business professionals.
Prof. Ajantha S Dharmasiri, Director and Chairman of the Board of Management of PIM is the Patron of PIM Genesis, while Dr. Travis Perera, Senior Consultant of PIM is the Mentor of Genesis.
The other presenters who shared critical entrepreneurial insights from their experiential learning were: Mr.Suranga Herath, CEO, Amazon Trading /English Tea Shop; Ms.Nayana Ranathunga, CEO, Senikma Holdings; Ms.Jayamini D Samarathunge, Chairperson and Principal Trainer of Mind International (Pvt) Ltd, Mr.Madhushan Raigamage, Chief Innovation Officer of JFS Holdings, Mr. Tesmon Melony, CEO and Managing Director of M I Synergy Private Ltd. ND and Yasas Gunaratne, Chairman and Managing Director of HASH 33.
While the main aim of the event was to showcase sustained success of these entrepreneurs, the impact was directed at the final year MBA Entrepreneurial Skills Projects of PIM MBAs to motivate the emergence of future entrepreneurs who would venture to startup their own businesses.
PIM as a premier business management learning institute has an impressive record of about 5000 MBA students in about 30 years. All top 100 companies in the country employ at least one PIM MBA graduate.
Ayurex Kandy 2018 - International Ayurveda Educational Exhibition & Trade Fair was held at kandy city center on 5th 6th and 7th October 2018, the exhibition was the biennial event organized jointly by the Department of Ayurveda, Central Province and the Central Provincial Council of the Government of Sri Lanka for the 4th occasion. The 2nd day of the exhibition was declared open b..
Ayurex Kandy 2018 - International Ayurveda Educational Exhibition & Trade Fair was held at kandy city center on 5th 6th and 7th October 2018, the exhibition was the biennial event organized jointly by the Department of Ayurveda, Central Province and the Central Provincial Council of the Government of Sri Lanka for the 4th occasion.
The 2nd day of the exhibition was declared open by His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena.
Michel Nugawela sat down with Siddhalepa Managing Director Asoka Hettigoda and Dilmah Tea CEO Dilhan Fernando to discuss what sets apart their brands as representative symbols of their categories and our wider culture and country. When brands put authenticity first, results follow At Interbrand, we define authenticity as a brand with “an internal truth and capab..
Michel Nugawela sat down with Siddhalepa Managing Director Asoka Hettigoda and Dilmah Tea CEO Dilhan Fernando to discuss what sets apart their brands as representative symbols of their categories and our wider culture and country.
At Interbrand, we define authenticity as a brand with “an internal truth and capability, a defined heritage, a well-grounded value set, and an ability to deliver against the (high) expectations that customers have.” Interbrand believes that authenticity, like each of its 10 Brand Strength factors, represents a potential lever for growth.
Authenticity also sets apart Dilmah and Siddhalepa as representative symbols that are worthy of our affection and affiliation. Their strengths derive from how they respond and stay relevant in a swiftly changing world, certainly, but also from what they stand for and where they come from – their founding idea and provenance.
Largely because of this, their impact on the world is more purposeful, meaningful – and as we shall see tomorrow in Part 2 – cultural.
ONE: Putting purpose at the heart of the business
strongly authentic brands have a profound understanding of their reason for being – a founding idea or association with an era, category, culture, or country that gives them a verifiable origin. This inward strength sustains them as they grow, adapt, innovate, disrupt, and generally master the outward strengths that are necessary to increase their relevance.
“Siddhalepa is primarily a medicine brand that provides traditional, natural solutions for ailments,” says Hettigoda. “We provide good health through an effective remedy that works day-in and day-out. We stay relevant and deliver on our promise by using the same traditional formulation that my grandfather first developed and passed down to my father, and now my sisters. We haven’t changed even 0.2% of the original formula.
“The world, on the other hand, has changed. The first medicinal drugs were made from natural ingredients, then came pharmaceuticals which were perceived to be superior, and today we’re once again experiencing a reverse cycle as consumers return to natural remedies that are also part of our heritage.”
“Throughout all these changes, we have stuck to our purpose because you have to believe in what you do and you have to be consistent; not for 8 or 10 years but the longer-term. This is extremely important to sustain a brand in the face of so many competitive pressures. When you do that, people also believe there must be something right in it.
For Fernando, “Dilmah celebrates the attributes that make Ceylon tea the best and most expensive in the world. Our purpose is to take this product we are passionate about, to add value to it at source – which was considered an unrealistic dream at the time – and deliver an outcome that is not only beneficial to the consumer in terms of freshness and quality, but also to Sri Lanka as a producer.
“It doesn’t sound like a big deal in the twenty-first century but to understand this paradigm shift, you have to go back to the genesis of my father’s experience in Mincing Lane during the 1950s, where Ceylon Tea was blended and corrupted – in the sense that it was mixed to deliver a cost advantage. He realised that pretty soon our tea industry wouldn’t have any jobs left.”
TWO: Entrepreneurs first disrupt themselves
In recent years neuroscience has made significant progress in explaining how our mind works, so a good place to start is by asking, What habits of mind are best able to reframe new points of view about what comes next? What intellectual behaviours does it take to reinvent existing categories or create entirely new ones?
It helps to have the right answers to these questions because business models, stripped to their bare essentials, are mental models that often limit us to familiar ways of thinking and behaving. We then struggle to see and connect new patterns and possibilities.
Siddhalepa Vedemahatmaya and Merill Fernando are synonymous with the categories they reinvented, initially as challengers of established beliefs and market positions, and thereafter as cultural leaders who created superior value, and with it, social change.
Their ‘vision calls’ reframed perspectives and enabled people to see an old reality with new eyes. They recreated meaning through new angles of vision.
Piero Formica, founder of the International Entrepreneurship Academy, says the reinvention of categories is realised by minds that “avoid best practices, rules, and existing rights of way. They don’t need the comforts of roads already travelled and don’t filter their visions through the judgments of others.”
“Innovation, for them,” Formica says, “is a form of disobedience; they revel in the uncertainty and unpredictability of creating solutions that are unique … and sometimes cause fundamental alterations to what is understood about the world.”
“They can”, he adds, “be terrifyingly disruptive, depending on the institutional, entrepreneurial, and social contexts in which they act.”
As brands, Siddhalepa and Dilmah are authentically relevant because their creators have found and embraced their authentic self. Entrepreneurs who disrupt categories and systems first disrupt themselves. They find their purpose – the meaning that motivates their actions – and, in turn, make a dramatic impact in their time and place.
Dilhan: “My father often says that Ceylon Tea is the message and he is the messenger. He was the original disruptor who had to sell a high-cost product at a profit and he had to do it differently, without following the others. So he asked, ‘What is the angle?’
“He was among the first group of Ceylonese tasters who were allowed to enter the industry, but never expected to start their own businesses. They were expected to work for one of the British brokering houses. At the time, we had political independence without even a semblance of economic independence.
“It was also seen to be foolish rather than courageous to go against everything and everyone, including his peers and customers in the industry. But he is responsible for today’s acceptance of the concept of a farmer taking his produce to market.”
"Dilmah clelbrates the attributes that make Ceylon tea the beast and most expensive in the world. Our pupose is to take this product we are passionate about, to add value to it at source - which was considered an unrealistic dream at the time - and deliver an outcome that is not only benificial to the consumer in terms of freshness and quality, but also to Sri Lanka as a producer. It doesn't sound like a big deal in the twenty-first century but to understand this paradigm shift, you have to go back to the genesis of my father's experience in Mincing Lane during the 1950s where Ceylon Tea was blended and corrupted - in the sense that it was mixed to deliver a cost advantage. He raised that pretty soon our tea industry wouldn't have any jobs left - Dilmah Tea CEO Dilhan Fernando"
Asoka: “My father started Siddhalepa in a highly competitive environment, and at the bottom of it. He was asked why he was trying to sell thel beheth in a market dominated by pharmaceuticals. When you consider it, it was the worst possible time to introduce an ayurvedic product.
“Ayurvedic companies didn’t exist before Siddhalepa, just traditional vedemahatmaya’s and their clinics. There weren’t any ayurvedic soaps, toothpastes, or balms either. We created the category.”
THREE: Divergence to achieve systemic change
Most businesses converge within a category. They focus on the existing needs of customers, maintain parity with their rivals, and share similar dimensions like product offers, consumer segments, cost structure, and distribution channels. Their primary goal is to return profit to their owners. But brands like Siddhalepa and Dilmah reap the rewards of breakthroughs in value creation by diverging from accepted boundaries and practices in their search for unoccupied territory.
Asoka: “To do something unique, something relevant, and something people will remember – that takes a lot of effort. It requires a lot of discussing and hard thinking. For example, we recently launched Aqualive, a range of beverages with zero sugar, zero preservatives, zero chemicals, and zero colour to address the huge generational shift away from fizzy drinks.
“It’s 100% natural and combines the pure extract of traditional herbs that villagers drank in the mornings and afternoons 150 years ago, before tea was introduced. It’s also relevant to Siddhalepa’s unique promise because the base is medicinal.
“We consistently debate our strategy and product development for the next two or three years: which areas should we go into? Are they relevant to our business? Will our brand extend? Will it be strengthened or diluted?”
Dilhan: “We can triple our exports if we adopt a penetrative strategy and forget about quality and positioning. Many of our colleagues follow a single commodity approach and promote common and popular blends like English Breakfast.
“When we offer a premium tea, we never talk about the Englishness of it because that brings us to the same level as our competitors. Instead, we choose to take the aspects of Sri Lanka that many of our competitors see as a disadvantage and play them to our strengths.
“We celebrate the different regions; the teas of different character, taste, and flavour; the freshness, provenance, and authenticity; the monsoons that add further variation. We talk about the influence of nature and are probably the only company to spend money on researching the effects of basalt, loamy or sandy soils on tea.
“We invest in research, laboratories, and the Rolls Royce of machinery. We look very differently at the product, with absolute commitment and passion for the herb. We have to focus on all these positives because we go at a premium to customers.”
In their fascinating book Getting Beyond Better, the management consultants Roger Martin and Sally Osberg explain how activists, disruptors, visionaries, changemakers, and other creators of authentic brands like Siddhalepa Vedemahatmaya and Merill Fernando find new ways to transform unjust systems that disadvantage large numbers of people, and bring a new and fairer equilibrium to society. Their focus is systemic with a clear intent to create social change. Higher profits are simply a measure of their higher purpose – not the goal.
Dilhan: “All the great things about the beautiful Nuwara Eliya’s and the wonderful Darjeeling’s lost their relevance when big business took over the industry. They replaced passion with profit, and where tea is concerned, when you replace passion with profit, you move away from Ceylon tea to tea that is one-fifth the cost.
“Whether tea, coffee or cocoa, it was a debilitating economic order that prevailed then, and to a significant extent prevails now. Look at the Ivory Coast, a very significant producer of cocoa. Look at Brazil, Colombia or Ethiopia – their coffee is everywhere; there are hundreds of brands but how many of them have managed to make it internationally?
“Today we talk about Dilmah going to a hundred countries but that’s just not enough because if you go to England or the US, you’ll find low quality, non-producer brands in virtually every category. There’s a lot of lip service paid to the concept of a farmer bringing his or her produce to market, but in practical terms the international system is geared towards a handful of multinationals.”
"We stay relevant and deliver on our promise by using the same traditional formulation that my grandfather first developed and passed down to my father, and now my sisters. We haven’t changed even 0.2% of the original formula. “The world, on the other hand, has changed. The first medicinal drugs were made from natural ingredients, then came pharmaceuticals which were perceived to be superior, and today we’re once again experiencing a reverse cycle as consumers return to natural remedies that are also part of our heritage. “Throughout all these changes, we have stuck to our purpose because you have to believe in what you do and you have to be consistent; not for 8 or 10 years but the longer-term. This is extremely important to sustain a brand in the face of so many competitive pressures. When you do that, people also believe there must be something right in it. - Siddhalep MD Asoka Hettigoda"
Asoka: “It takes a lot of effort to create something unique but the most important thing is that it improves the health and wellbeing of people. When my grandfather passed away in 1982, I was 15 years of age but still old enough to understand who he was. All the medicines he made were from his own money and he refused to charge his patients for treatment, so he was broke.
“The only wealth my grandfather had was his knowledge and he told my father, ‘Victor, I am not giving you a business but a knowledge base to safeguard and contribute to society. My grandfather taught my father, and, in turn, we were taught, that ayurveda was a social service.
“In providing that service you could make money and profit, but not excessively. You had to give a percentage free; you had to give back to society. These fundamentals continue to run through our veins.”
FOUR: The best defense is a good offence
As businesses converge, their brands try to mean something to everyone and unwittingly end up meaning nothing to anyone. They become bland and indistinguishable from each other. Here again, authentic brands amplify their differences to stand apart from their unremarkable rivals.
They take stances, advance causes, and bond with purpose-hungry consumers, inspiring them to evangelise for their products. They pick a side, polarise, provoke a reaction – and when needs be – they even fight. Driven by a powerful meaning that motivates
their actions, they demonstrate the courage of conviction.
Asoka: “My father applied to the drug formula committee for approval of Siddhalepa balm. It was entirely British, except for Professor Senaka Bibile, who finally approved his application on the thirteenth attempt. He received provisional approval for three months but was told it would be withdrawn if they received any consumer complaints.
“When my father produced the first Ayurvedic soap, the authorities informed him that soap wasn’t permitted to include Ayurvedic ingredients. When we produced Supirivicky with brown-coloured toothpaste, they protested that consumers wouldn’t put ‘mud’ in their mouths.
“When he introduced the first 100% natural mosquito coil, they enforced a law for pesticide control, first introduced by the British in the 1920s, saying it wouldn’t kill mosquitoes. My father said, ‘My intention is to repel and not kill them. I don’t mind them being on my wall.’ They refused, so he filed a lawsuit. By that time, we had obtained an international patent for the mosquito coil and were selling it in container loads to Italy.
“We’ve jumped a thousand hurdles for every new product that we’ve launched.”
Dilhan: “My father lost all his bulk tea customers and orders when our tea bag machine arrived. But it was our tea industry, from the Tea Board downwards, that was very much against him and tried to block him. They thought it would destroy the entire tea industry.
“It took courage to go against everything, to risk everything, including his personal safety, when there were such powerful vested interests in the system. We got kicked around for years.
“Those who want to liberalise imports don’t get the fact that what Sri Lanka offers – the origin, provenance, different micro terroirs and varieties – is exactly what the consumer is asking for. Everyone calling for liberalisation is saying, ‘We’re chilled out. We’re in this year. We’re going to retire at 40 or 50. We want to make a lot of money in a short time.’
In Part 2 Soon…..
Siddhalepa and Dilmah create an intangible experience of shared meaning and facilitate a powerful sense of belonging to a larger brand community. “They speak as rebels,” says Harvard Business School professor Douglas Holt, “and assemble a credible challenge to the national ideology by drawing on people who actually live according to alternative ideals.”
By Michel Nugawela
Siddhalepa Ayurveda Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading private Ayurveda hospital, recently marked a significant milestone by entering into an agreement with National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF). The newly formed partnership between two organizations will facilitate NITF Agrahara beneficiaries with exclusive benefits. From left: Director Siddhalepa Group Ms. Vidyani Hettigoda, Managing ..
Siddhalepa Ayurveda Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading private Ayurveda hospital, recently marked a significant milestone by entering into an agreement with National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF). The newly formed partnership between two organizations will facilitate NITF Agrahara beneficiaries with exclusive benefits.
From left: Director Siddhalepa Group Ms. Vidyani Hettigoda, Managing Director Siddhalepa Group Mr. Asoka Hettigoda, CEO NITF Sanath C. de Silva, AGM - Insurance NITF Ms. M P S Nimali Pathirana, Assistant Manager Agrahara Mr. Anura Samarakoon
NITF Agrahara represents one of the largest groups of health insurance beneficiaries with over 900,000 state sector employees registered under the program. The MOU pertaining to the partnership was recently signed between the officials of Siddhalepa Ayurveda Hospital and NITF.
Siddhalepa is featured as a leading promoter of Wellness Tourism in Sri Lanka in the EDB magazine - Business Lanka’s current issue. The wellness tourism sector is identified as a key sector in the development and promotion of the National Export Strategy (NES) of Sri Lanka, in this issue. Siddhalepa’s 200-year-old family heritage of Ayurveda medicine and its transformation over the y..
Siddhalepa is featured as a leading promoter of Wellness Tourism in Sri Lanka in the EDB magazine - Business Lanka’s current issue.
The wellness tourism sector is identified as a key sector in the development and promotion of the National Export Strategy (NES) of Sri Lanka, in this issue.
Siddhalepa’s 200-year-old family heritage of Ayurveda medicine and its transformation over the years to its current form is highlighted in the magazine.
Today Siddhalepa has a thriving ayurveda pharmaceutical industry with about 200 Ayurveda pharmaceutical products with ISO certification, an ayurveda hospital with Ayurveda physicians and consultants for OPD and in house treatment, an Ayurveda resort hotel in Wadduwa and four Ayurveda spas; one in the hospital premises, another in the resort, the third in the heart of Colombo 7, and the fourth in the company’s City hotel Anarva.
Siddhalepa’s Ayurveda Resort in Wadduwa promotes wellness tourism with Ayurveda medical packages from two weeks extending further depending on the nature of the illness and its cure. The holistic packages offered to tourists at the resort include a healthy diet, yoga and meditation and Ayurveda spa treatment set in an idyllic location on 7 acre beach frontage property overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Dehsabandu, Dr. Victor Hettigoda received the highest accolade of academic honour when he was conferred the title of Doctor of Literature, by the Management Faculty of the Sri Jayewardenepura University in recognition of his gigantic contribution to our society in recent times. The doctorate was presented by the Chancellor of the Jayewardenepura University, Ven. Prof. Bellanwilla Wimalaratne ..
Dehsabandu, Dr. Victor Hettigoda received the highest accolade of academic honour when he was conferred the title of Doctor of Literature, by the Management Faculty of the Sri Jayewardenepura University in recognition of his gigantic contribution to our society in recent times.
The doctorate was presented by the Chancellor of the Jayewardenepura University, Ven. Prof. Bellanwilla Wimalaratne Thero, Chief Priest of the Bellanvila Rajamaha Viharaya who is also an eminent Buddhist scholar.
Dr. Hettigoda who celebrated his 80th birthday on September 13, is a legend in his lifetime and due recognition of his entrepreneurship and celebration of his vision generations ahead of his time, is indeed appropriate and timely.
The young Victor Hettigoda tried his hand at many things from accountancy to journalism before he found his true path in life - the introduction of ayurveda medicine a Hettigoda family heritage of over 200 years, to modern life. His father Dr. Hendrick de Silva Hettigoda, himself an ayurveda kidney specialist and a famous astrologer, accurately identified his fifth son in a family of nine as the chosen person to take the family heritage forward. He imparted his knowledge of ayurveda medicine to his son, including the formulae for a special balm Siddhalepa - now a household name and one of the strongest brands in Sri Lanka.
Known today as the Father of Ayurveda for his amazing revolution in ayurveda medicine, it is Dr. Hettigoda’s vision beyond his years and his entrepreneurship - a generation ahead of his time, that gave him this outstanding success in marketing ayurveda products and its unparalled health benefits in a commercial world.
The Sri Jayawardenepura University’s Management Faculty applied an extensive criteria to evaluate their recipients achievements for the doctorate. Thus, the honorary doctorate conferred on him was based on Dr. Hettigoda’s entrepreneurship and outstanding achievements in employment creation, product innovation, marketing strategy, creativity in branding and slogans, and pioneering the corporate social responsibility concept in Sri Lanka.
In a giant leap in entrepreneurship, using sharp business acumen, he elevated a niche industry confined to Sinhala medicine stores (Sinhala behenth kades) to a thriving business in ayurveda cosmetics, dental and health products. In a world where consumers were putting their faith on natural/herbal ingredients in their bath and cosmetics products, Dr. Hettigoda challenged and eventually compelled even the FMCGs to add herbal ingredients to their mass produced consumer products.
Good examples are top dental care brands and washing powders who have now added herbal varieties to their range.
From the signature balm Siddhalepa - which he bestowed with an incredibly powerful infinite branding “The Vedamahattaya that should be in every home,” he expanded his ayur range to herbal products like Vishaka soap, Supirivicky and Kekulu range of toothpastes and dental products which had country wide distribution and sales from the small wayside boutique to all major supermarkets.
He was also an inspiration to other entrepreneurs who also launched into ayurveda based products and medicines and are now his competitors.
His legendary vision and foresight took Siddhalepa’s branding to another level, simultaneously introducing the concept of CSR to Sri Lanka. The best examples of successful branding and CSR is at religious sites like Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), Kataragama Holy Site, Kandy Esala Perehera, Madhu Festival, Nallur Festival etc where the group set up First Aid camps to relieve weary devotees with Siddhalepa massages and serve their refreshing herbal hot drink, Lak Peyawa. Other activities like branded name board signs, branded litter bins etc send out a strong message about the Group’s commitment to keeping the environment clean while emphasizing the Siddhalepa brand.
The Siddhalepa Group now has over 15 individual companies and employees over a 1000 workers. The ayurveda medicine based company is now a big promoter of ayur tourism with their resort in Wadduwa, the newly opened city hotel Anarva, Mount Lavinia and their Spas. The Siddhalepa Ayurveda Hospital which has a team of expert ayurveda physicians and professional therapists in their spa is another important aspect of his dedication to ayurveda medicine and his aspiration that people of this country should get the maximum benefit from his services.
The multi talented Dr. Hettigoda’s skills include literary talent in oratory and writing. He authored a book titled “Welandamen Diyunuweemata Maga” (වෙළදාමෙන් දියුනු වීමට මග) in 2003. (Way to Prosper Through Trade) He has also authored many articles on management, entrepreneurship, leadership, moral values, ethical behaviour and various other topics and published in more than 100 leading news papers in Sri Lanka.
He has made over 200 public speeches and held lectures in many universities.
Dr. Hettigoda is also the recipient of a multitude of awards, recognitions and trophies for his achievements in ayurveda medicine and entrepreneurship and has been featured in many newspapers, magazines and television programs both local and foreign, including CNN, BBC and Reuters.