The pandemic impacted everyone and every industry. In line with this, PIMA conducted a yet another webinar to explore how entrepreneurs got themselves adjusted to the pandemic and the turn of activities. Under the theme of “Navigating the new normal: Entrepreneurs’ perspective”, three brilliant entrepreneurs, who are members of PIM Alumni, shared their stories and experience with the audience. 

The session was moderated by Mr. Shuvo Hridayesh (CEO, Success Zante and Country Director, Parkway Hospital, Singapore) who is also a member of PIM Alumni graduated from MBA 2014 batch.

The panelists were Mr. Dhanusha Muthukumarana (Co-Founder, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of POTENZA APAC PTE Limited, Singapore and POTENZA Pvt Limited, Sri Lanka), Ms.  Kasuni Rathnasuriya (Founder, KUR and Senior Designer, Inspired Solutions New York Inc.) and Ms. Hasini Gunasekara (Director, Natural Unisex Saloon, Master franchise owner of Sri Lanka, which is Asia’s largest chain of saloons and Managing Director of International Academy of Beauticians (Pvt) Ltd), the specialty all of them being proud alumni of PIM.

Dhanusha and Kasuni graduated from MBA 2010 batch whilst Hasini is and Shuvo graduated from the MBA 2014 batch.

Dhanusha elaborated how and to what extent digital transformation has been taken place in order to confront challenges and opportunities under New Normal as an IT solution provider which is selling “a promise” from Marketing perspective. He further explained how they come up with innovative digital channels and platforms to acquire new clients, to deliver support services throughout in a sustainable manner and last not least to up keep the engagement, motivation as well as mental health of team members without losing of connectivity among them to ensure their creativity intact. 

Kasuni Rathnasuriya, Founder, KUR and Senior Designer, Inspired Solutions New York Inc.

As an Exclusive product designer in Contemporary fashion line, Kasuni highlighted how a unique business perspective of “Live in the moment” approach adapted in the fashion industry in order to overcome dynamics as well as changes in life style due to COVID-19 situation. Work-from-home, a key element of New Normal, has shifted the importance of certain lines while disregarding the prominence of certain clothing and fashion as well as diminishing interest in fashion products. 

Thus, product innovation and designs has been focused towards comfort wear as well as tops due to screen presence of work-from-home and look and feel good for the screen and also development of innovative sportswear as people started focused on working out at home to be healthy under the restrictions on movement. Kasuni also elaborated how digital platform and strategies adapted and innovated to reach directly to consumers (B2C) such as through Omni-channels, social media, various apps, etc. in order to thrive in business opportunities during the pandemic situation.

Hasini Gunasekara, Director, Natural Unisex Saloon, Master franchise owner of Sri Lanka which is Asia’s largest  chain of saloon and Managing Director of International Academy of Beauticians (Pvt) Ltd.

Coming from 2nd generation in the business line, Hasini brought an insight on how she did a paradigm shift in saloon industry through creativity and process-driven in order to establish a timeless business model in the beauty and saloon industry where the industry is known as unorganized and constraints in reaching consumers in Sri Lanka. Despite the absence of personal connectivity, which caused negative impact to majority of saloon businesses in Sri Lanka, Hasini highlighted how her franchising business model made resilient to COVID-19 situation and how digital platform enabled to reach and serve existing clients as well as to interact with hair dressers and beauticians across the globe in order to share knowledge and bring insight to the local talent as she identified captive audience internationally. Hasini voiced that COVID-19 gave a break to revisit the entire approach towards business and to look at in different perspective as the entire industry was in standstill. 

The session was a very interesting one as the panelists spoke of their own experience as entrepreneurs who actually made innovative moves during the pandemic and lock down.