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SRISHANTHA KAHAWATTA GAMAGE AND EROSHA KAHAWATTA GAMAGE

7 August 2021 06:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Share in brief a summary of your educational qualifications?

    
  EROSHA

Ordinary Level Examinations at Royal College, Colombo;

Advanced Level Examinations at Colombo International School;

Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University of Warwick, UK;

Masters in Structural Engineering, University of Birmingham, UK;

SRISHANTHA

Rahula College, Matara

 

 

Share in a brief a summary of your professional journey?

   SRISHANTHA

Founder / Chairman, Erosha Traders (PVT) LTD.

I launched the company thirty years ago. I initially started as a hobby on a smaller scale, where I would invest in a car, modify it, and re-sell, gaining a small profit. The business was only named after my son was born.

     EROSHA

Worked in the Construction industry after completing my Undergraduate studies;

Worked as a Consultant Engineer after my completing my Postgraduate studies;

Managing Director, Erosha Traders (PVT) LTD.

I always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I wanted to further expand the company. Originally, we only focused on importing Japanese vehicles, however, I was keen to explore European brands and hence we now import high-end European vehicles and sports cars. I continuously aim to import the newest models available in the international market, into the Sri Lankan vehicle industry. The stability of our company began with the strong foundation my father built with the Japanese vehicle market. Whilst, living in the UK, I was intrigued by European vehicles and I had a goal to advance and broaden our customer base for the business. I contacted several suppliers in the UK to import brands such as, BMW, Mercedes Benz and several other leading brands. One of my greatest memories, is the first vehicle I imported for Erosha Traders, which was a BMW, that sold within the first week of arrival. With any idea, there is always a trial-and-error period. However, soon after importing a few European models, the demand grew in the Sri Lankan market.

 

 Tell us a bit about yourselves?

   SRISHANTHA

I grew up in Matara with many siblings and moved to Kelaniya after marriage, as my wife was studying at the University of Kelaniya. I initially started working in the construction industry, but I was always interested in investing in the transaction of cars. I’m a self-made Entrepreneur, as I had no prior experience, and I never studied Business Management or Finance. But step-by-step I built my company to where it is today.  In any profession, success isn’t streamlined, and you will face challenges and failures, but it will be worthwhile. I am honoured to be selected as the current President of the Vehicle Importers Association Sri Lanka for the year 2020-2021.

  Regardless, of the day I have planned, I enjoy my daily 5am walk with a small group of friends, gardening at our family estate, and I enjoy the occasional sweet treats. With my lovely wife, we have raised two beautiful children, one is a Doctor working for the NHS in the UK, and one works by my side.

    EROSHA

I’m currently working in the automobile industry and import Japanese and European Motor Vehicles. I consider myself a sociable character and enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends.  From an early age, I have always been fascinated by cars and technology, driving me further towards the automobile industry. Aside from cars, some of my key interests include fitness and travelling. Since childhood, I was very active in sports and still ensure that my daily routine consists of some form of physical activity to energise me throughout the day.

 

How is it working with your father and working for the Family Business? What plans do you both have for the business?

     EROSHA

I have always admired my father’s work ethic, his way of understanding and his way of handling decisions. Every day, I continue to learn from him and his vast knowledge and experience, whether it is in management, customer care or even nonwork related activities, and I believe he has learnt a couple of things from me too.  We share the same goal and therefore, we respect decisions made by each other.

  SRISHANTHA

Like most businesses, we maintain a proficient work environment and when we do encounter conflicting views, we make sure it is managed professionally. In the future, we aim to expand our company to other cities around the country. We are currently based in Kelaniya and hopefully will open more showrooms in other locations in Sri Lanka, and import bespoke cars that are requested by customers. We import vehicles from all over the world including United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and China. Our vision is to be one of the leading businesses in the Sri Lankan vehicle industry and create an impressive market by introducing the latest models to the country. 

 

 

Share with us a secret about your father / son that no-one else knows? 

     SRISHANTHA

We both enjoy spending the evening after a long day at work, by relaxing and watching a good show; a movie or a sports show.

    EROSHA

We both love Cricket!

 

Do you both envision working together in the long run or would you prefer to build your own companies and brands separately?

   SRISHANTHA

No, we do not wish to go our separate ways. I grew this company, and I now want my son to expand it further, whilst incorporating his own twist.

   EROSHA

My father built this company from scratch, I want to grow it and expand the business further.   

 

 

What are you most passionate about?

     EROSHA

I am grateful that I was able to turn my passion into a profession. Not only am I a car and tech enthusiast, but I thoroughly enjoy working with clients, forming relationships and bringing customized bespoke cars for our customers. The more passionate and invested you are, the more you strive to progress and excel in your work.

 

 

Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?

   EROSHA

My father.

 

 

In a post Covid19 world, which industries do you think are most likely to succeed?

     SRISHANTHA

A global pandemic such as Covid19, is something no one prepares for, and is something that affects every single industry. In a post Covid19 world, industries that could potentially grow, include hospitality and the transport industry.

  EROSHA

I feel Electronic Virtual Services, Pharmaceutical Organisations and Sanitary Production Companies will thrive post Covid19. However, with any transaction, supply and delivery is crucial, and due to limitations, border controls and restrictions, almost all industries will still face challenges even post pandemic.

 

 

  You studied overseas, yet you returned back home to work. What made you come back to Sri Lanka?

     EROSHA

I was born and raised in Sri Lanka, and as a young student, I wanted to gain the experience and independence by studying overseas. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country; it has all the benefits and facilities to build a comfortable lifestyle. Nevertheless, my focus to return was to continue the family business and to create a change in the automobile industry in Sri Lanka.

 

 

How has the pandemic affected your business?

   SRISHANTHA

Like an off-road adventure, the journey of a business is never smooth. The bigger the business, the bigger the risks and impacts. Due to the pandemic, the Sri Lankan government have an ongoing ban on all vehicle imports until further notice. As an importer of brand-new automobiles, we are struggling to maintain the quality of our products and have resorted to the sale of preowned vehicles.

    EROSHA

One of the challenges we face is finding reliable preowned vehicles to ensure we provide the utmost quality and assurance to our customers. Due to the import ban, the vehicle market price has increased noticeably, causing pressure on all companies. The best way to manage the impact would be to reduce our expenditure and focus on maintaining the current reserves financially. We have also postponed all further endeavours until the industry revives post pandemic.

 

Share with us in brief your plans for the immediate future?

      SRISHANTHA

Our main focus is to have stability in our business and when possible, to create an impressive change in the vehicle industry.

  EROSHA

Sit tight, ride the current wave caused by the pandemic, but prepare ahead for better days and future expansion plans.

 

 

  Q&A

EROSHA

1.Favorite Resort in Sri Lanka? Hotel Riu, Sri Lanka

2.Favorite Holiday Destination? Croatia and Australia 

3.Favorite Netflix Genre? Thriller

4.Must Watch Netflix Series? Money Heist 

5.Social Media: Yay or Nay? YAY 

6.What’s In. What’s Out. IN - Whatever you want it to be. OUT - Negativity 

7.Current Favorite App? Instagram

8.Song of the Week? Remember the Name by Fort Minor

9.All Time Favorite Car? Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster

10.Favorite Restaurant in Colombo? Royal Thai, Cinnamon Lakeside.

 

SRISHANTHA

1.Favorite Resort in Sri Lanka? Shangri La Resort and Spa, Hambantota

2.Favorite Holiday Destination? Japan and England

3.Favorite Netflix Genre? Action and Drama

4.Must Watch Netflix Series? Resurrection

5.Social Media: Yay or Nay? Nay

6.What’s In. What’s Out. In: Generosity. Out: Arrogance

7.Current Favorite App? Whatsapp

8.Song of the Week? Thunder by Imagine Dragons

9.All Time Favorite Car? Bentley Hallmark

10.Favorite Restaurant in Colombo? Shang Palace, Shangri La, Colombo

 

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