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Another year of high achievement was celebrated when Brandix recently honoured 50 of the Group’s best-performing employees and supervisors as well as those who had excelled in sports and in the arts at the 2014 edition of its annual celebration of excellence – the ‘Rasadiya Mangalya’ or Mercury Festival.

The day-long festival of accomplishment in Brandix’s chosen sport – volleyball; in key performance indicators such as efficiency, quality and attendance; in mechanical proficiency and in the arts – singing and dancing, brought together Brandix employees in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh in a unique multi-dimensional company event. 

Held for the fourth consecutive year, this unique event provides an opportunity for Brandix employees to interact with each other, receive recognition for their accomplishments, showcase their spirit of sportsmanship, display their singing and dancing talents and be rewarded for them as well. 

The façade of an impregnable fortress - symbolising Brandix’s dominance in the apparel industry - towered over the proceedings at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium as 5,000 vocal Brandix associates cheered the Employees of the Year and Supervisors of the Year recognised for their contributions to Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter in 2013.

Among those honoured for performance in their official capacities were 38 employees of the year and supervisors of the year from Brandix operations in Sri Lanka and 12 from the Group’s offshore operations.

Each ‘Employee of the Year’ and ‘Supervisor of the Year’ received a handsome trophy of appreciation as well as a company-sponsored study tour to China, India or Bangladesh, and in Sri Lanka for those attached to the Group’s overseas plants.

Speaking at the event, Brandix Chief People Officer Ishan Dantanarayana said Brandix was proud to host a
Winners of the Brandix Employee of the Year/Supervisor of the Year awards
receive their medals from family members at the 2014 Rasadiya Mangalya
staff awards event on the scale of a day-long festival. Begun four years ago, this annual celebration of excellence has grown in stature and scope each year to become one of the principal events on the Brandix calendar, he said.

The employees of the year felicitation was preceded by the Men’s and Women’s finals of the Brandix ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ (Mercury Trophy) annual Volleyball Tournament for non-executive associates, and followed by the finals of the ‘Rasadiya Gee Tharuwa’ (Mercury Singing Star) talent contest and the Brandix ‘Rasadiya Narthana Tharu’ (Mercury Dancing Stars) conducted across the Group over several months. A presentation of awards to the winners of the Brandix ‘Mech Challenge’ -- a competition organised to enable the Group’s mechanical and engineering associates to demonstrate their mechanical and technical skills -- was also part of the day’s programme.

Winners of the Brandix Employee of the Year/Supervisor of the Year awards
receive their medals from family members at the 2014 Rasadiya Mangalya
Entertainment for the event was provided by the popular band ‘Wayo’ led by Sangeeth, as well as by the associates who won the Brandix Rasadiya Gee Tharuwa singing competition and the troupes that won the Rasadiya Narthana Tharu dancing competition.

One of the largest suppliers of apparel to top retail brands in the US and Europe, Brandix employs over 47,000 associates directly, while generating indirect employment to an equivalent number. The Group is supported by over 32 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and is strengthened by a 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India and a large manufacturing facility in Bangladesh. The Group is backed by strategically located international sourcing offices globally.

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Defending champions Brandix Casualwear - Rideegama fought off a spirited challenge by Brandix Essentials - Ratmalana to retain the Men’s championship by a close 25-22, 25-22, at the 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ (Mercury Trophy) Volleyball tournament conducted annually by Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter.

In sharp contrast, Brandix Intimate Apparel - Minuwangoda hardly broke a sweat to win the Women’s final beating Brandix Casualwear - Avissawella 25-8, 25-9, bringing to a close a two-month tournament in which a total of 360 players representing 32 men’s teams and 250 players from 23 women’s teams competed.

More than 5,000 Brandix associates, as employees are referred to within the Group, supported by ‘papare’ bands and cheerleaders packed the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium to the rafters to cheer on their colleagues on the court at the spectacular tournament finalé on Saturday 5th April.

In its fourth year, the Brandix Rasadiya Kusalanaya is by far the largest volleyball tournament conducted by a private sector entity Sri Lanka. This annual tournament allows the Brandix associates to showcase their spirit of sportsmanship by participating in Sri Lanka’s national sport, and also provides an opportunity for employee interaction and recognition in this area.

Competing teams this year represented Brandix manufacturing units in locations such as Polonnaruwa,

The 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ Men’s championship winners
Hambantota, Nivithigala, Pannala, and Nittambuwa in addition to locations closer to Colombo.

Conducted annually for all non-executive associates of the Brandix Group, the Brandix Rasadiya Kusalanaya tournament permits each business unit to field one Men’s and one Women’s team, with each team comprising of 10 players and two reserves. Preliminary rounds are conducted at Cluster level after which each Cluster sends one Men’s and one Women’s champion team to the semi-finals.

“The level of skill displayed in the preliminary rounds as well as at the semi-finals and finals continues to improve each year,” said Colonel Sujith Jayasekara, Group Human Resources Manager of Brandix. “Our intention is to build team spirit and a sense of belonging among our associates, and it is inspiring to see the enthusiasm that this event has generated.”
The 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ Women’s championship winners

Brandix employs over 47,000 associates at 32 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka, its 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India and a large manufacturing facility in Bangladesh.


Marks World Water Day 2014 by recognising employees’ own service to communities with Rs 2.75 million in water supply schemes

Eleven employees of Brandix, or associates as they are titled by Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter, have been recognised for voluntary community service as part of the Group’s commitment to World Water Day 2014, observed annually on 22nd March.

Titled, ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ (silent service), this year’s initiative sought to identify those among Brandix’s associates in Sri Lanka, who through their efforts and expense have helped others in their communities.

Each of these associates will receive Rs 250,000 from Brandix for a community water or sanitation project of his or her choice as a reward for their silent service. The ceremony to honour them took place at Brandix on 28th March 2014.

The search for these exemplary citizens took the Brandix team to many diverse locations in Sri Lanka where the company has manufacturing operations, and the final 11 represented six districts – Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha and Colombo.

“The stories of these 11 associates, who face their own share of day-to-day challenges in supporting themselves and their families, are truly inspiring and represent a widespread culture of community engagement among Brandix associates,” said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR of the Brandix Group. “For a Group that has identified community empowerment as one of the pillars of corporate social responsibility, it is encouraging to see our corporate credo mirrored in the commitment of individuals.”

This year’s World Water Day programme was modeled on last year’s, when Brandix similarly rewarded 10 associates chosen for the work they had personally undertaken to help people in need of water -- the cause adopted by Brandix as its principal commitment to the community. This year, the search criterion was expanded to encompass any form of community service. “Nevertheless, six of the 11 winners were involved in helping their communities with water-related needs, which reaffirms that water is one of the areas that requires the most attention,” Ms. Alles said.

Among the 11 Brandix ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ winners of 2014 were Sudharma Priyanthi of Brandix Casualwear - Rideegama who donated two perches from her own land to build a common well for her village, her colleague Sandya Kanthisiri Basnayake who shares her crop well with all the villagers in the dry season, Sulekha Janaki of Brandix Essentials - Kahawatte, who shared a water facility she received from Brandix with 20-25 other families, Keerthi Sandaruwan of Brandix Essentials - Nivithigala who collected water from a spring to an overhead tank and distributed it to four other families and Gamini Piyatissa of Brandix Finishing - Ratmalana who built his own well and constructed pipelines with his funds to give water to five other families.
The 11 associates recognised by Brandix for their contributions to the community
Recognised alongside them were Buddhika Roshan Kumara of Brandix Intimate Apparel - Polonnaruwa who dispenses traditional Ayurveda treatments that he learnt from his father free of charge, Subhani Gayanthi of Brandix Lingerie - Nittambuwa who teaches traditional up-country dancing  free to 45 children in her village,  Sarath Prathapage of T&S Buttons - Biyagama whose many contributions to the Sunday School at a nearby temple included the donation of five toilets built at his request by Brandix, Raveendra Srimal Wimalarathna of Textured Jersey - Avissawella who built an innovative method of collecting water from a stream into an overhead tank which supplies four neighboring houses, Rohan Fernando of Brandix Intimate Apparel - Katunayake who has helped many disabled children whose stories he read in newspapers, and Hemamali Liyanage of Brandix Casualwear - Ratmalana, who donates books and food to the children of her colleagues. 

Since this year’s World Water Day theme was ‘Water and Energy,’ the CSR Division of Brandix has also partnered with the Group’s Environment & Energy Management team to offer advice and assistance to the award winners, to introduce environmentally friendly practices in their households. 
One of the ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ winners receives her award

The Brandix Group’s principal CSR efforts are driven by the central corporate theme of ‘Water’ and constitute a long term commitment to increasing the availability of water and the provision of safe drinking water to those most in need.


Textured Jersey PLC, (TJL) Sri Lanka’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of knitted fabric, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Moratuwa to create the framework for a long-term collaborative relationship.

The milestone agreement paves the way for a close interaction between the two organisations for the development of opportunities for employment generation and collaboration on strengthening research, design and technical capabilities and product development on a mutually beneficial platform.

“We strongly believe that academic institutions that offer professional and technical training and businesses that employ their graduates must collaborate to understand each other’s needs as well as the predictable demands of the future,” said Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Managing Director/CEO of Textured Jersey PLC. “This is particularly important in the spheres of fabric and fashion design, where the opportunities for innovation and product development are virtually infinite.”
Sriyan de Silva Wijeratne – CEO/MD – Textured Jersey (left)
exchanges the agreement with Prof. Ananda Jayawardane
 – Vice Chancellor of the Moratuwa University

Among the highlights of the agreement between Textured Jersey and the University of Moratuwa are provisions for TJL to support the latter by providing fostering programmes and industry placement including foreign tours for students following the Fashion Design & Product Development degree programme.

Textured Jersey will also continue to support the Annual Graduation Fashion show of the B Des in Fashion Design & Product Development degree programme and accommodate short term industry placements for foreign students through the academic link programmes between foreign universities and the University of Moratuwa.  

For its part, the University of Moratuwa will provide expertise and support to strengthen the design and technical expertise of TJL through student projects, research and consultancies, and support the conceptual development of brand new collections.
Representatives of Textured Jersey and the University of Moratuwa at the signing of the MoU
Textured Jersey is one of the top 50 public quoted companies in Sri Lanka and possesses one of the country’s most sophisticated production facilities for the manufacture of knitted fabrics for the intimate, lounge, outwear and active categories. A specialist in the manufacture of high quality, weft-knitted and dyed stretch fabrics, Textured Jersey is a supplier for top-notch international brands of the calibre of Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi. The two major shareholders of the company are Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter and Pacific Textiles, a Hong Kong based company with one of the largest manufacturing facilities in China.


Textured Jersey Lanka PLC (TJL), together with hundreds of millions of others across the globe, joined hands on March 29th 2014 to switch off non-essential lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. TJL was proud to be one of the national partners of Earth Hour Sri Lanka (EHSL), to which the entire nation as well as the whole world actively engages in. This year, TJL requested its employees to make a pledge to switch off their lights during Earth Hour, and to take it a step further by going ‘beyond the hour’. This pledge was not only confined to the factory premises, but was also extended to the employees’ neighbours, vicinities etc. Textured Jersey has now embedded Earth Hour Textured Jersey (EHTJ) to the company’s annual sustainability calendar.

The proceedings started off with the internal circulation of informative emails about Earth Hour 2014 and notices were published to create awareness among the employees. Furthermore, a poster campaign was held at its factory premises. The decision to go beyond the factory level and carry out its obligation to the general public was marked by a thorough awareness campaign targeting the public. This time the company selected Galle Town as the main location for its campaign. The Textured Jersey team was in Galle for the campaign which extended for a few hours, which was well received with very positive and encouraging support from the public. This was the second chapter of the EHTJ programme which was inaugurated in Ratnapura last year.
Earth Hour Textured Jersey members participating in the
awareness building programme in Galle Town

Textured Jersey has commemorated Earth Hour from the year 2012 where the company switched off all non-essential lights for an hour. The company has been successful in obtaining tremendous support from its employees for the initiative, and hence is encouraged further to do more for the cause it represents. The company is planning to form several teams and sending them to areas which are not so familiar with Earth Hour. The main objective of this is to spread the message across various communities and individuals and to increase their levels of awareness.

Textured Jersey has actively participated in many energy saving, waste reduction initiatives within the factory premises which have minimized the direct impact to the environment. The company produced the first Green House Gas Report in Sri Lanka and in the Sub-region in accordance with ISO 14064-1, which is a huge stepping stone in minimizing the carbon footprint from the baseline data. The company also produced the Best Green Report in the country at the inaugural National Green Reporting System Awards in 2011. These are some of the recognitions received for the work the company has done in its continuous journey in creating a better world for the future generations.
The Earth Hour Textured Jersey team posing for the official photograph for the EH - SL campaign in Galle



Presents 7 awards to best graduating fashion designers

Textured Jersey PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of knitted fabric, recently honoured some of the country’s most promising young fashion designers as part of the company’s continuing support to the annual Graduation Fashion Show of the University of Moratuwa’s Bachelor of Design Degree in Fashion Design & Product Development.

The Graduation Fashion Show is the catwalk presentation of the final year undergraduates of the degree course conducted by the Department of Textile & Clothing Technology of the University. Graduating students launch brand new collections developed from concept to final product at this show, with their creations modelled on the catwalk by professional models.

The Principal Sponsor of this gala event, Textured Jersey presented awards in seven categories to the best 18 graduates whose collections of men’s and women’s wear were modelled on the catwalk at the Graduation Fashion Show, the culmination of four years of study for the degree.

The awards presented at the Show were for the Outstanding Designer Brand, the Commercially Creative Designer, the Serendib Inspirational Designer, the Menswear Designer, the Innovative Designer, the Creative Knitwear Designer and the Innovative Textile Fabric Designer.

The panel of judges for these awards comprised of eminent personalities in the fashion world such Rebecca
One of the collections presented at the show
Ward of Quantum Clothing, Peter Katz, Free Lance Designer and Priyantha Fernando, Technical Director, MAS Holdings.

“Textured Jersey’s support to the University of Moratuwa goes back to close upon a decade,” said Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Managing Director/CEO of Textured Jersey PLC. “This support has been mutually beneficial; students have been provided mentorship and an incentive to strive for greater creativity and innovation, and the company has become one of the most popular options among the university’s graduates for employment.”

One of the collections presented at the show
He said one of the principal objectives of Textured Jersey’s partnership with the University of Moratuwa is to encourage students to explore new, innovative product categories in designer fashion utilising a wide range of knitted fabric.  “We work very closely with students who have the potential to take Sri Lanka’s fashion industry forward in the years ahead, providing them with the required training on production and textile engineering and supplying them with the materials to come up with their own designs,” Mr de Silva Wijeyeratne said.
One of the collections presented at the show

Award winners at the 2014 Graduation Fashion
Show were Chamindhi Abeywarna (Outstanding Designer Brand), Mihiri Bakmeewewa (Commercially Creative Designer), Diyuni Premachandra (Serendib Inspirational Designer), Manoj Akalanka (Menswear Designer), Thilini Nandasiri (Innovative Designer), Sachini Koorambegedara (Creative Knitwear Designer) and Dilan Wijenayaka (Innovative Textile Fabric Designer).
Senior management of Textured Jersey PLC with six of the award winners at the University of Moratuwa Graduation Fashion Show
Textured Jersey is one of the top 50 public quoted companies in Sri Lanka and possesses one of the country’s most sophisticated production facilities for the manufacture of knitted fabrics for the intimate, lounge, outwear and active categories. A specialist in the manufacture of high quality, weft-knitted and dyed stretch fabrics, Textured Jersey is a supplier for top-notch international brands of the calibre of Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi. The two major shareholders of the company are Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter and Pacific Textiles, a Hong Kong based company with one of the largest manufacturing facilities in China.


The Brandix Group engaged with nearly 1,000 undergraduates from leading Sri Lankan universities and professional institutions on the critical skills required for the future work place and also shared talent development insights of Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter. 

Two sessions conducted at the Universities of Kelaniya and Moratuwa recently under the 2014 edition of the Brandix Talent Forum saw thought-provoking presentations by the featured speaker Andrew Schmidt, Manager, Chief HR Officer Engagement (CHRO) of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), USA. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, SHRM is the world’s largest HR membership organisation devoted to Human Resource Management.

Mr. Schmidt was supported by two Brandix presenters, Dhananjaya Rajapaksha and Arjuna Sirinanda, CEOs of Brandix Casualwear and Brandix i3, respectively.

“In terms of the enthusiasm and eagerness shown by the participants and the level of engagement achieved, in addition to the overwhelming numbers that were present, the 2014 Brandix Talent Forum was a tremendous success. These sessions enabled us to provide specific information that gave undergraduates insights into skills required to succeed in their future careers,” said Ishan Dantanarayana, Chief People Officer of the Brandix Group.
(Above) Speakers at the 2014 Brandix Talent Forum (L to R) Dhananjaya Rajapaksha, Andrew Schmidt and Arjuna Sirinanda and (Below) Some of the participants at the Kelaniya University forum

He said the success of the programme had encouraged Brandix to consider extending it to other universities in Sri Lanka to promote better understanding and closer integration between higher education institutions and businesses. 

Featured Speaker Andrew Schmidt commented: “The Talent Forum was an excellent opportunity for students to interact with top Sri Lankan business leaders. By hosting events like these and providing first-class technical training, the Universities of Kelaniya and Moratuwa are preparing their students with the full complement of skills they will need for career success.”

Asitha Jayatunga, President of the Association of Human Resources Professionals (AHRP) added: “The Brandix Talent Forum provided an opportunity to help hundreds of graduates in their transition from the University life to work life. It provided them with the much needed soft skills which will be helpful in getting selected to a job, as well as tips on building a successful career.”

The Brandix Talent Forum was a collaboration between Brandix and the Association of Human Resources Professionals (AHRP) which comprises of senior Human Resources professionals of the country’s largest organisations who work towards providing professional development, an arena for networking, a focus for legislative intervention in national HRM issues and the sharing of experiences, knowledge and ideas to establish HRM as a dominant force in the business sector.

The Brandix Group also has collaborative partnerships with the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayawardenepura and Wayamba, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) and many other professional and academic institutions. In January this year, the Brandix Group launched a five-year collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) in support of the MIT Global Startup Labs (MIT-GSL) Sri Lanka Programme.

Brandix employs over 47,000 Associates directly, while generating indirect employment to an equivalent number. The Group is supported by over 38 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and is strengthened by a 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India. Brandix also runs a large operation in Bangladesh. The Group is backed by strategically located international sourcing offices globally. Brandix is one of the largest suppliers of apparel to top retail brands in the US and Europe.


One hundred and forty female workers of the Brandix Group graduated after successful completion of the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) programme at a ceremony held recently at the Brandix Centre of Inspiration, Ekala. 

The P.A.C.E. programme, conducted at Brandix Casualwear, Ratmalana from October 2012 to February this year, saw graduates being awarded for “Best Overall Performance” and “Best Results from P.A.C.E. End Line Survey.”

Awards for best overall performances were awarded to V. N. Sandamali, H. A. S. Prabodhani and Mahesha Serasingha. K. M. H. S. Gamlath was placed 1st in the ‘Best Results from P.A.C.E. End Line Survey’ category, with M. S. Dhammika Fernando and J. A. C. Manel placed second and third, respectively.
An award winner receives her award from Mr. Elvis Francis,
Senior Manager of P.A.C.E. Global Initiatives at Gap Inc.

“The Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. programme uses the extensive experience gained through training thousands of female garment workers in Asia and the Far East since 2007,” said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR for the Brandix Group. “True to its mission, it has helped many Brandix associates grow and advance in their personal and work lives.”

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dotti Hatcher, Executive Director, Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. Global Initiatives said: “Over the next many years, we hope that when faced with challenges that you might feel are insurmountable, you will reach back and draw from the knowledge and experiences that you have gained in your classes, the strength to go on. For it is that strength and knowledge that will lead to your continued growth and advancement, and to that of your family, your communities and your society.”     

The Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. programme is a life and work skills education programme designed to positively impact female garment workers in factories that make Gap Inc. products. The programme provides workers with foundation skills, technical training and support to help them advance in the workplace and in their personal lives. Female garment workers participating in the programme take part in eight modules of life skills education including communication skills, problem-solving, time and stress management, health and nutrition, financial literacy and gender equality. Programme participants also receive enhanced technical skills training. Research shows that Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. graduates are more productive, have lower rates of absenteeism and are promoted faster than factory workers who do not participate in the programme.        
The main award winners at the P.A.C.E. 2014 programme 
The Brandix Group employs more than 47,000 people at 42 manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka, at a 1,000- acre industrial park in India and a large operation in Bangladesh. A preferred supplier to many global apparel labels, Brandix is credited with many firsts, among them, the first apparel manufacturer in the world to build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum - rated Green factory certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC); the first in Sri Lanka to build a LEED Gold certified office complex; and the builder of the first Supply Chain City in South Asia -- the 1,000- acre Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC).


New, innovative ideas to address diverse opportunities and challenges in the apparel, textile and accessories industries are to be presented on Thursday, 20th March at the first ever ‘Pitch Day’ of Disrupt Unlimited, the Brandix Group’s new US$ 1 million Seed Accelerator.

The Pitch Day will bring together the first batch of innovators that accepted the challenges submitted to them at the inaugural Disrupt-a-thon of the new venture and their mentors, senior management of Brandix and academics on the panel of judges.

The conceptual solutions submitted after four weeks of intense brainstorming, factory visits and technical discussions will be evaluated by the panel and solutions believed to be potentially game-changing will earn their proponents a VIP pass to enter the incubator programme and receive funding and additional mentoring to commercialise their idea.

The objective of Disrupt Unlimited is to run a seed accelerator that will inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the Apparel, Textile and Accessories sectors. The company’s role is to encourage innovators from across industries to develop technology-driven solutions that address challenges at every stage of the supply chains, leading to revolutionary changes in the way apparels, textiles and accessories are made, packaged, distributed and consumed.

Disrupt Unlimited will provide such start-ups with access to seed funding, advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, collaborative workspace and legal and administrative services, along with the opportunity to pitch game-changing ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors at an exclusive Demo Day.
A speaker from Brandix explains one of the challenges
at the first Disrupt-a-thon

The challenges posed to participating innovators at the first Disrupt-a-thon ranged from increasing machine operator productivity to the development of wash-free clothing and elimination of coloured thread in apparel manufacture. The challenges have also been posted on the Blog on the Disrupt Unlimited website www.disruptunltd.com opening them to innovators around the world.


Launches ‘Disrupt Unlimited’ – a US$ 1 million seed accelerator to find game-changing solutions for apparel, textile & accessories industries

The Brandix Group has committed up to US$ 1 million over three years on a new venture that is intended to fast-track Sri Lanka’s evolution into a knowledge and innovation hub for the apparel, textile and fashion accessories sectors.

The new venture ‘Disrupt Unlimited’ will run a seed accelerator that will inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in these sectors.

The objective of the company is to encourage innovators from across industries to develop technology-driven solutions that address challenges at every stage of the supply chains, leading to revolutionary changes in the way apparels, textiles and accessories are made, packaged, distributed and consumed.

Like other seed accelerators across the globe, Disrupt Unlimited will provide start-ups with access to seed funding, advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, collaborative workspace and legal and administrative services, along with the opportunity to pitch game-changing ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors at an exclusive Demo Day.

Among the company’s identified roles are collaboration with industry partners, securing the support of private partners, mentors, and advisors, development of idea/entrepreneur pipelines, building a network of investors in Sri Lanka and overseas, investing in start-ups, running seed accelerator programmes and supporting start-ups through commercialisation.

This innovation-centric new entity was launched at Brandix Essentials on Friday, 21st February 2014 with the start of a two-week ‘Disrupt-a-thon’ at which 20 innovators will grapple with eight industry-related challenges in collaboration with mentors from companies in the Brandix Group and from the Group associate Textured Jersey Lanka PLC.

Speaking at the launch, Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya said Disrupt Unlimited is the first attempt to do something the Group had always believed in: innovate to disrupt the existing industry structure. Stressing that only innovation will truly drive the economy of a small country like Sri Lanka, he cited the example of Israel which has developed a US$ 4 billion IT industry.
Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya
speaks at the launch of Disrupt Unlimited

“The question is which domain we innovate in,” Mr Wickremesooriya said, pointing out that the apparel industry is a substantial part of Sri Lanka’s economy, Sri Lanka has almost every component of the industry and the human capital, but products and processes have remained the same for a long period of time. “There is a unique opportunity for Sri Lankans to get together and make the country a hub for innovation in this industry,” he said.

The eight challenges posed to participating innovators at the Disrupt-a-thon ranged from increasing machine operator productivity to the development of wash-free clothing and elimination
of coloured thread in apparel manufacture. The eight challenges have also been posted on the Blog on the
Disrupt Unlimited website www.disruptunltd.com opening them to innovators around the world.

The first Disrupt-a-thon in progress 
The inaugural Disrupt-a-thon participants working in teams with Brandix mentors and specialists have two weeks in which to submit conceptual solutions that could, if accepted as potential game-changers, be supported with seed capital for commercialisation.
A speaker from Brandix explains
one of the challenges at the first Disrupt-a-thon

Disrupt Unlimited plans to conduct four Disrupt-a-thon challenges per year and to draw on existing founder pipelines including universities, the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission, MIT Global Startup Labs programme, and Sri Lankans living overseas. Additionally, Disrupt Unlimited will help build this pipeline by running ‘founder dating’ events and collaborating with academic institutions to implement entrepreneurship programmes. Selected entrepreneurs must have an idea for a disruptive, scalable innovation, as well as a team with the right skill-set to develop and commercialise it.


Another year of high achievement was celebrated when Brandix recently honoured 50 of the Group’s best-performing employees and supervisors as well as those who had excelled in sports and in the arts at the 2014 edition of its annual celebration of excellence – the ‘Rasadiya Mangalya’ or Mercury Festival.

The day-long festival of accomplishment in Brandix’s chosen sport – volleyball; in key performance indicators such as efficiency, quality and attendance; in mechanical proficiency and in the arts – singing and dancing, brought together Brandix employees in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh in a unique multi-dimensional company event. 

Held for the fourth consecutive year, this unique event provides an opportunity for Brandix employees to interact with each other, receive recognition for their accomplishments, showcase their spirit of sportsmanship, display their singing and dancing talents and be rewarded for them as well. 

The façade of an impregnable fortress - symbolising Brandix’s dominance in the apparel industry - towered over the proceedings at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium as 5,000 vocal Brandix associates cheered the Employees of the Year and Supervisors of the Year recognised for their contributions to Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter in 2013.

Among those honoured for performance in their official capacities were 38 employees of the year and supervisors of the year from Brandix operations in Sri Lanka and 12 from the Group’s offshore operations.

Each ‘Employee of the Year’ and ‘Supervisor of the Year’ received a handsome trophy of appreciation as well as a company-sponsored study tour to China, India or Bangladesh, and in Sri Lanka for those attached to the Group’s overseas plants.

Speaking at the event, Brandix Chief People Officer Ishan Dantanarayana said Brandix was proud to host a
Winners of the Brandix Employee of the Year/Supervisor of the Year awards
receive their medals from family members at the 2014 Rasadiya Mangalya
staff awards event on the scale of a day-long festival. Begun four years ago, this annual celebration of excellence has grown in stature and scope each year to become one of the principal events on the Brandix calendar, he said.

The employees of the year felicitation was preceded by the Men’s and Women’s finals of the Brandix ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ (Mercury Trophy) annual Volleyball Tournament for non-executive associates, and followed by the finals of the ‘Rasadiya Gee Tharuwa’ (Mercury Singing Star) talent contest and the Brandix ‘Rasadiya Narthana Tharu’ (Mercury Dancing Stars) conducted across the Group over several months. A presentation of awards to the winners of the Brandix ‘Mech Challenge’ -- a competition organised to enable the Group’s mechanical and engineering associates to demonstrate their mechanical and technical skills -- was also part of the day’s programme.

Winners of the Brandix Employee of the Year/Supervisor of the Year awards
receive their medals from family members at the 2014 Rasadiya Mangalya
Entertainment for the event was provided by the popular band ‘Wayo’ led by Sangeeth, as well as by the associates who won the Brandix Rasadiya Gee Tharuwa singing competition and the troupes that won the Rasadiya Narthana Tharu dancing competition.

One of the largest suppliers of apparel to top retail brands in the US and Europe, Brandix employs over 47,000 associates directly, while generating indirect employment to an equivalent number. The Group is supported by over 32 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and is strengthened by a 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India and a large manufacturing facility in Bangladesh. The Group is backed by strategically located international sourcing offices globally.

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Defending champions Brandix Casualwear - Rideegama fought off a spirited challenge by Brandix Essentials - Ratmalana to retain the Men’s championship by a close 25-22, 25-22, at the 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ (Mercury Trophy) Volleyball tournament conducted annually by Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter.

In sharp contrast, Brandix Intimate Apparel - Minuwangoda hardly broke a sweat to win the Women’s final beating Brandix Casualwear - Avissawella 25-8, 25-9, bringing to a close a two-month tournament in which a total of 360 players representing 32 men’s teams and 250 players from 23 women’s teams competed.

More than 5,000 Brandix associates, as employees are referred to within the Group, supported by ‘papare’ bands and cheerleaders packed the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium to the rafters to cheer on their colleagues on the court at the spectacular tournament finalé on Saturday 5th April.

In its fourth year, the Brandix Rasadiya Kusalanaya is by far the largest volleyball tournament conducted by a private sector entity Sri Lanka. This annual tournament allows the Brandix associates to showcase their spirit of sportsmanship by participating in Sri Lanka’s national sport, and also provides an opportunity for employee interaction and recognition in this area.

Competing teams this year represented Brandix manufacturing units in locations such as Polonnaruwa,

The 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ Men’s championship winners
Hambantota, Nivithigala, Pannala, and Nittambuwa in addition to locations closer to Colombo.

Conducted annually for all non-executive associates of the Brandix Group, the Brandix Rasadiya Kusalanaya tournament permits each business unit to field one Men’s and one Women’s team, with each team comprising of 10 players and two reserves. Preliminary rounds are conducted at Cluster level after which each Cluster sends one Men’s and one Women’s champion team to the semi-finals.

“The level of skill displayed in the preliminary rounds as well as at the semi-finals and finals continues to improve each year,” said Colonel Sujith Jayasekara, Group Human Resources Manager of Brandix. “Our intention is to build team spirit and a sense of belonging among our associates, and it is inspiring to see the enthusiasm that this event has generated.”
The 2014 ‘Rasadiya Kusalanaya’ Women’s championship winners

Brandix employs over 47,000 associates at 32 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka, its 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India and a large manufacturing facility in Bangladesh.


Marks World Water Day 2014 by recognising employees’ own service to communities with Rs 2.75 million in water supply schemes

Eleven employees of Brandix, or associates as they are titled by Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter, have been recognised for voluntary community service as part of the Group’s commitment to World Water Day 2014, observed annually on 22nd March.

Titled, ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ (silent service), this year’s initiative sought to identify those among Brandix’s associates in Sri Lanka, who through their efforts and expense have helped others in their communities.

Each of these associates will receive Rs 250,000 from Brandix for a community water or sanitation project of his or her choice as a reward for their silent service. The ceremony to honour them took place at Brandix on 28th March 2014.

The search for these exemplary citizens took the Brandix team to many diverse locations in Sri Lanka where the company has manufacturing operations, and the final 11 represented six districts – Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha and Colombo.

“The stories of these 11 associates, who face their own share of day-to-day challenges in supporting themselves and their families, are truly inspiring and represent a widespread culture of community engagement among Brandix associates,” said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR of the Brandix Group. “For a Group that has identified community empowerment as one of the pillars of corporate social responsibility, it is encouraging to see our corporate credo mirrored in the commitment of individuals.”

This year’s World Water Day programme was modeled on last year’s, when Brandix similarly rewarded 10 associates chosen for the work they had personally undertaken to help people in need of water -- the cause adopted by Brandix as its principal commitment to the community. This year, the search criterion was expanded to encompass any form of community service. “Nevertheless, six of the 11 winners were involved in helping their communities with water-related needs, which reaffirms that water is one of the areas that requires the most attention,” Ms. Alles said.

Among the 11 Brandix ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ winners of 2014 were Sudharma Priyanthi of Brandix Casualwear - Rideegama who donated two perches from her own land to build a common well for her village, her colleague Sandya Kanthisiri Basnayake who shares her crop well with all the villagers in the dry season, Sulekha Janaki of Brandix Essentials - Kahawatte, who shared a water facility she received from Brandix with 20-25 other families, Keerthi Sandaruwan of Brandix Essentials - Nivithigala who collected water from a spring to an overhead tank and distributed it to four other families and Gamini Piyatissa of Brandix Finishing - Ratmalana who built his own well and constructed pipelines with his funds to give water to five other families.
The 11 associates recognised by Brandix for their contributions to the community
Recognised alongside them were Buddhika Roshan Kumara of Brandix Intimate Apparel - Polonnaruwa who dispenses traditional Ayurveda treatments that he learnt from his father free of charge, Subhani Gayanthi of Brandix Lingerie - Nittambuwa who teaches traditional up-country dancing  free to 45 children in her village,  Sarath Prathapage of T&S Buttons - Biyagama whose many contributions to the Sunday School at a nearby temple included the donation of five toilets built at his request by Brandix, Raveendra Srimal Wimalarathna of Textured Jersey - Avissawella who built an innovative method of collecting water from a stream into an overhead tank which supplies four neighboring houses, Rohan Fernando of Brandix Intimate Apparel - Katunayake who has helped many disabled children whose stories he read in newspapers, and Hemamali Liyanage of Brandix Casualwear - Ratmalana, who donates books and food to the children of her colleagues. 

Since this year’s World Water Day theme was ‘Water and Energy,’ the CSR Division of Brandix has also partnered with the Group’s Environment & Energy Management team to offer advice and assistance to the award winners, to introduce environmentally friendly practices in their households. 
One of the ‘Nihanda Mehewara’ winners receives her award

The Brandix Group’s principal CSR efforts are driven by the central corporate theme of ‘Water’ and constitute a long term commitment to increasing the availability of water and the provision of safe drinking water to those most in need.


Textured Jersey PLC, (TJL) Sri Lanka’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of knitted fabric, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Moratuwa to create the framework for a long-term collaborative relationship.

The milestone agreement paves the way for a close interaction between the two organisations for the development of opportunities for employment generation and collaboration on strengthening research, design and technical capabilities and product development on a mutually beneficial platform.

“We strongly believe that academic institutions that offer professional and technical training and businesses that employ their graduates must collaborate to understand each other’s needs as well as the predictable demands of the future,” said Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Managing Director/CEO of Textured Jersey PLC. “This is particularly important in the spheres of fabric and fashion design, where the opportunities for innovation and product development are virtually infinite.”
Sriyan de Silva Wijeratne – CEO/MD – Textured Jersey (left)
exchanges the agreement with Prof. Ananda Jayawardane
 – Vice Chancellor of the Moratuwa University

Among the highlights of the agreement between Textured Jersey and the University of Moratuwa are provisions for TJL to support the latter by providing fostering programmes and industry placement including foreign tours for students following the Fashion Design & Product Development degree programme.

Textured Jersey will also continue to support the Annual Graduation Fashion show of the B Des in Fashion Design & Product Development degree programme and accommodate short term industry placements for foreign students through the academic link programmes between foreign universities and the University of Moratuwa.  

For its part, the University of Moratuwa will provide expertise and support to strengthen the design and technical expertise of TJL through student projects, research and consultancies, and support the conceptual development of brand new collections.
Representatives of Textured Jersey and the University of Moratuwa at the signing of the MoU
Textured Jersey is one of the top 50 public quoted companies in Sri Lanka and possesses one of the country’s most sophisticated production facilities for the manufacture of knitted fabrics for the intimate, lounge, outwear and active categories. A specialist in the manufacture of high quality, weft-knitted and dyed stretch fabrics, Textured Jersey is a supplier for top-notch international brands of the calibre of Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi. The two major shareholders of the company are Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter and Pacific Textiles, a Hong Kong based company with one of the largest manufacturing facilities in China.


Textured Jersey Lanka PLC (TJL), together with hundreds of millions of others across the globe, joined hands on March 29th 2014 to switch off non-essential lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. TJL was proud to be one of the national partners of Earth Hour Sri Lanka (EHSL), to which the entire nation as well as the whole world actively engages in. This year, TJL requested its employees to make a pledge to switch off their lights during Earth Hour, and to take it a step further by going ‘beyond the hour’. This pledge was not only confined to the factory premises, but was also extended to the employees’ neighbours, vicinities etc. Textured Jersey has now embedded Earth Hour Textured Jersey (EHTJ) to the company’s annual sustainability calendar.

The proceedings started off with the internal circulation of informative emails about Earth Hour 2014 and notices were published to create awareness among the employees. Furthermore, a poster campaign was held at its factory premises. The decision to go beyond the factory level and carry out its obligation to the general public was marked by a thorough awareness campaign targeting the public. This time the company selected Galle Town as the main location for its campaign. The Textured Jersey team was in Galle for the campaign which extended for a few hours, which was well received with very positive and encouraging support from the public. This was the second chapter of the EHTJ programme which was inaugurated in Ratnapura last year.
Earth Hour Textured Jersey members participating in the
awareness building programme in Galle Town

Textured Jersey has commemorated Earth Hour from the year 2012 where the company switched off all non-essential lights for an hour. The company has been successful in obtaining tremendous support from its employees for the initiative, and hence is encouraged further to do more for the cause it represents. The company is planning to form several teams and sending them to areas which are not so familiar with Earth Hour. The main objective of this is to spread the message across various communities and individuals and to increase their levels of awareness.

Textured Jersey has actively participated in many energy saving, waste reduction initiatives within the factory premises which have minimized the direct impact to the environment. The company produced the first Green House Gas Report in Sri Lanka and in the Sub-region in accordance with ISO 14064-1, which is a huge stepping stone in minimizing the carbon footprint from the baseline data. The company also produced the Best Green Report in the country at the inaugural National Green Reporting System Awards in 2011. These are some of the recognitions received for the work the company has done in its continuous journey in creating a better world for the future generations.
The Earth Hour Textured Jersey team posing for the official photograph for the EH - SL campaign in Galle



Presents 7 awards to best graduating fashion designers

Textured Jersey PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of knitted fabric, recently honoured some of the country’s most promising young fashion designers as part of the company’s continuing support to the annual Graduation Fashion Show of the University of Moratuwa’s Bachelor of Design Degree in Fashion Design & Product Development.

The Graduation Fashion Show is the catwalk presentation of the final year undergraduates of the degree course conducted by the Department of Textile & Clothing Technology of the University. Graduating students launch brand new collections developed from concept to final product at this show, with their creations modelled on the catwalk by professional models.

The Principal Sponsor of this gala event, Textured Jersey presented awards in seven categories to the best 18 graduates whose collections of men’s and women’s wear were modelled on the catwalk at the Graduation Fashion Show, the culmination of four years of study for the degree.

The awards presented at the Show were for the Outstanding Designer Brand, the Commercially Creative Designer, the Serendib Inspirational Designer, the Menswear Designer, the Innovative Designer, the Creative Knitwear Designer and the Innovative Textile Fabric Designer.

The panel of judges for these awards comprised of eminent personalities in the fashion world such Rebecca
One of the collections presented at the show
Ward of Quantum Clothing, Peter Katz, Free Lance Designer and Priyantha Fernando, Technical Director, MAS Holdings.

“Textured Jersey’s support to the University of Moratuwa goes back to close upon a decade,” said Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Managing Director/CEO of Textured Jersey PLC. “This support has been mutually beneficial; students have been provided mentorship and an incentive to strive for greater creativity and innovation, and the company has become one of the most popular options among the university’s graduates for employment.”

One of the collections presented at the show
He said one of the principal objectives of Textured Jersey’s partnership with the University of Moratuwa is to encourage students to explore new, innovative product categories in designer fashion utilising a wide range of knitted fabric.  “We work very closely with students who have the potential to take Sri Lanka’s fashion industry forward in the years ahead, providing them with the required training on production and textile engineering and supplying them with the materials to come up with their own designs,” Mr de Silva Wijeyeratne said.
One of the collections presented at the show

Award winners at the 2014 Graduation Fashion
Show were Chamindhi Abeywarna (Outstanding Designer Brand), Mihiri Bakmeewewa (Commercially Creative Designer), Diyuni Premachandra (Serendib Inspirational Designer), Manoj Akalanka (Menswear Designer), Thilini Nandasiri (Innovative Designer), Sachini Koorambegedara (Creative Knitwear Designer) and Dilan Wijenayaka (Innovative Textile Fabric Designer).
Senior management of Textured Jersey PLC with six of the award winners at the University of Moratuwa Graduation Fashion Show
Textured Jersey is one of the top 50 public quoted companies in Sri Lanka and possesses one of the country’s most sophisticated production facilities for the manufacture of knitted fabrics for the intimate, lounge, outwear and active categories. A specialist in the manufacture of high quality, weft-knitted and dyed stretch fabrics, Textured Jersey is a supplier for top-notch international brands of the calibre of Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi. The two major shareholders of the company are Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter and Pacific Textiles, a Hong Kong based company with one of the largest manufacturing facilities in China.


The Brandix Group engaged with nearly 1,000 undergraduates from leading Sri Lankan universities and professional institutions on the critical skills required for the future work place and also shared talent development insights of Brandix, Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter. 

Two sessions conducted at the Universities of Kelaniya and Moratuwa recently under the 2014 edition of the Brandix Talent Forum saw thought-provoking presentations by the featured speaker Andrew Schmidt, Manager, Chief HR Officer Engagement (CHRO) of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), USA. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, SHRM is the world’s largest HR membership organisation devoted to Human Resource Management.

Mr. Schmidt was supported by two Brandix presenters, Dhananjaya Rajapaksha and Arjuna Sirinanda, CEOs of Brandix Casualwear and Brandix i3, respectively.

“In terms of the enthusiasm and eagerness shown by the participants and the level of engagement achieved, in addition to the overwhelming numbers that were present, the 2014 Brandix Talent Forum was a tremendous success. These sessions enabled us to provide specific information that gave undergraduates insights into skills required to succeed in their future careers,” said Ishan Dantanarayana, Chief People Officer of the Brandix Group.
(Above) Speakers at the 2014 Brandix Talent Forum (L to R) Dhananjaya Rajapaksha, Andrew Schmidt and Arjuna Sirinanda and (Below) Some of the participants at the Kelaniya University forum

He said the success of the programme had encouraged Brandix to consider extending it to other universities in Sri Lanka to promote better understanding and closer integration between higher education institutions and businesses. 

Featured Speaker Andrew Schmidt commented: “The Talent Forum was an excellent opportunity for students to interact with top Sri Lankan business leaders. By hosting events like these and providing first-class technical training, the Universities of Kelaniya and Moratuwa are preparing their students with the full complement of skills they will need for career success.”

Asitha Jayatunga, President of the Association of Human Resources Professionals (AHRP) added: “The Brandix Talent Forum provided an opportunity to help hundreds of graduates in their transition from the University life to work life. It provided them with the much needed soft skills which will be helpful in getting selected to a job, as well as tips on building a successful career.”

The Brandix Talent Forum was a collaboration between Brandix and the Association of Human Resources Professionals (AHRP) which comprises of senior Human Resources professionals of the country’s largest organisations who work towards providing professional development, an arena for networking, a focus for legislative intervention in national HRM issues and the sharing of experiences, knowledge and ideas to establish HRM as a dominant force in the business sector.

The Brandix Group also has collaborative partnerships with the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayawardenepura and Wayamba, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) and many other professional and academic institutions. In January this year, the Brandix Group launched a five-year collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) in support of the MIT Global Startup Labs (MIT-GSL) Sri Lanka Programme.

Brandix employs over 47,000 Associates directly, while generating indirect employment to an equivalent number. The Group is supported by over 38 integrated manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and is strengthened by a 1,000-acre industrial park operation in India. Brandix also runs a large operation in Bangladesh. The Group is backed by strategically located international sourcing offices globally. Brandix is one of the largest suppliers of apparel to top retail brands in the US and Europe.


One hundred and forty female workers of the Brandix Group graduated after successful completion of the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) programme at a ceremony held recently at the Brandix Centre of Inspiration, Ekala. 

The P.A.C.E. programme, conducted at Brandix Casualwear, Ratmalana from October 2012 to February this year, saw graduates being awarded for “Best Overall Performance” and “Best Results from P.A.C.E. End Line Survey.”

Awards for best overall performances were awarded to V. N. Sandamali, H. A. S. Prabodhani and Mahesha Serasingha. K. M. H. S. Gamlath was placed 1st in the ‘Best Results from P.A.C.E. End Line Survey’ category, with M. S. Dhammika Fernando and J. A. C. Manel placed second and third, respectively.
An award winner receives her award from Mr. Elvis Francis,
Senior Manager of P.A.C.E. Global Initiatives at Gap Inc.

“The Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. programme uses the extensive experience gained through training thousands of female garment workers in Asia and the Far East since 2007,” said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR for the Brandix Group. “True to its mission, it has helped many Brandix associates grow and advance in their personal and work lives.”

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dotti Hatcher, Executive Director, Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. Global Initiatives said: “Over the next many years, we hope that when faced with challenges that you might feel are insurmountable, you will reach back and draw from the knowledge and experiences that you have gained in your classes, the strength to go on. For it is that strength and knowledge that will lead to your continued growth and advancement, and to that of your family, your communities and your society.”     

The Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. programme is a life and work skills education programme designed to positively impact female garment workers in factories that make Gap Inc. products. The programme provides workers with foundation skills, technical training and support to help them advance in the workplace and in their personal lives. Female garment workers participating in the programme take part in eight modules of life skills education including communication skills, problem-solving, time and stress management, health and nutrition, financial literacy and gender equality. Programme participants also receive enhanced technical skills training. Research shows that Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. graduates are more productive, have lower rates of absenteeism and are promoted faster than factory workers who do not participate in the programme.        
The main award winners at the P.A.C.E. 2014 programme 
The Brandix Group employs more than 47,000 people at 42 manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka, at a 1,000- acre industrial park in India and a large operation in Bangladesh. A preferred supplier to many global apparel labels, Brandix is credited with many firsts, among them, the first apparel manufacturer in the world to build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum - rated Green factory certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC); the first in Sri Lanka to build a LEED Gold certified office complex; and the builder of the first Supply Chain City in South Asia -- the 1,000- acre Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC).


New, innovative ideas to address diverse opportunities and challenges in the apparel, textile and accessories industries are to be presented on Thursday, 20th March at the first ever ‘Pitch Day’ of Disrupt Unlimited, the Brandix Group’s new US$ 1 million Seed Accelerator.

The Pitch Day will bring together the first batch of innovators that accepted the challenges submitted to them at the inaugural Disrupt-a-thon of the new venture and their mentors, senior management of Brandix and academics on the panel of judges.

The conceptual solutions submitted after four weeks of intense brainstorming, factory visits and technical discussions will be evaluated by the panel and solutions believed to be potentially game-changing will earn their proponents a VIP pass to enter the incubator programme and receive funding and additional mentoring to commercialise their idea.

The objective of Disrupt Unlimited is to run a seed accelerator that will inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the Apparel, Textile and Accessories sectors. The company’s role is to encourage innovators from across industries to develop technology-driven solutions that address challenges at every stage of the supply chains, leading to revolutionary changes in the way apparels, textiles and accessories are made, packaged, distributed and consumed.

Disrupt Unlimited will provide such start-ups with access to seed funding, advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, collaborative workspace and legal and administrative services, along with the opportunity to pitch game-changing ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors at an exclusive Demo Day.
A speaker from Brandix explains one of the challenges
at the first Disrupt-a-thon

The challenges posed to participating innovators at the first Disrupt-a-thon ranged from increasing machine operator productivity to the development of wash-free clothing and elimination of coloured thread in apparel manufacture. The challenges have also been posted on the Blog on the Disrupt Unlimited website www.disruptunltd.com opening them to innovators around the world.


Launches ‘Disrupt Unlimited’ – a US$ 1 million seed accelerator to find game-changing solutions for apparel, textile & accessories industries

The Brandix Group has committed up to US$ 1 million over three years on a new venture that is intended to fast-track Sri Lanka’s evolution into a knowledge and innovation hub for the apparel, textile and fashion accessories sectors.

The new venture ‘Disrupt Unlimited’ will run a seed accelerator that will inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in these sectors.

The objective of the company is to encourage innovators from across industries to develop technology-driven solutions that address challenges at every stage of the supply chains, leading to revolutionary changes in the way apparels, textiles and accessories are made, packaged, distributed and consumed.

Like other seed accelerators across the globe, Disrupt Unlimited will provide start-ups with access to seed funding, advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, collaborative workspace and legal and administrative services, along with the opportunity to pitch game-changing ideas to venture capitalists and angel investors at an exclusive Demo Day.

Among the company’s identified roles are collaboration with industry partners, securing the support of private partners, mentors, and advisors, development of idea/entrepreneur pipelines, building a network of investors in Sri Lanka and overseas, investing in start-ups, running seed accelerator programmes and supporting start-ups through commercialisation.

This innovation-centric new entity was launched at Brandix Essentials on Friday, 21st February 2014 with the start of a two-week ‘Disrupt-a-thon’ at which 20 innovators will grapple with eight industry-related challenges in collaboration with mentors from companies in the Brandix Group and from the Group associate Textured Jersey Lanka PLC.

Speaking at the launch, Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya said Disrupt Unlimited is the first attempt to do something the Group had always believed in: innovate to disrupt the existing industry structure. Stressing that only innovation will truly drive the economy of a small country like Sri Lanka, he cited the example of Israel which has developed a US$ 4 billion IT industry.
Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya
speaks at the launch of Disrupt Unlimited

“The question is which domain we innovate in,” Mr Wickremesooriya said, pointing out that the apparel industry is a substantial part of Sri Lanka’s economy, Sri Lanka has almost every component of the industry and the human capital, but products and processes have remained the same for a long period of time. “There is a unique opportunity for Sri Lankans to get together and make the country a hub for innovation in this industry,” he said.

The eight challenges posed to participating innovators at the Disrupt-a-thon ranged from increasing machine operator productivity to the development of wash-free clothing and elimination
of coloured thread in apparel manufacture. The eight challenges have also been posted on the Blog on the
Disrupt Unlimited website www.disruptunltd.com opening them to innovators around the world.

The first Disrupt-a-thon in progress 
The inaugural Disrupt-a-thon participants working in teams with Brandix mentors and specialists have two weeks in which to submit conceptual solutions that could, if accepted as potential game-changers, be supported with seed capital for commercialisation.
A speaker from Brandix explains
one of the challenges at the first Disrupt-a-thon

Disrupt Unlimited plans to conduct four Disrupt-a-thon challenges per year and to draw on existing founder pipelines including universities, the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission, MIT Global Startup Labs programme, and Sri Lankans living overseas. Additionally, Disrupt Unlimited will help build this pipeline by running ‘founder dating’ events and collaborating with academic institutions to implement entrepreneurship programmes. Selected entrepreneurs must have an idea for a disruptive, scalable innovation, as well as a team with the right skill-set to develop and commercialise it.


 
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