Dissanayaka took Pastel business by storm
Ever since he could remember, J.U.K. Dissanayaka had a passion to
draw. He used not only chalk, pencils, pens but even charcoal to paint
images and when he became a teenager he though to manufacture some of
the chalk and pastels at home.
Dissanayaka receiving an award from Chief Minister, Central
Province, Sarath Ekanayake
During this time his father too was involved in the manufacturing
process but he though to go solo and started his own facility at the
backyard of his home in Mawilmada, Kandy in 2002.
He also used his scientific skills gained during school to experiment
and got the right formula to his products and soon expanded by hiring
four casual employees.
Though his pastels were of high quality marketing them was very hard
and he studied the patterns of the Maharaja Organization and Levers
Brothers (Uni Lever) and took a leaf from their marketing ‘tactics’ and
started meeting teachers in the area.
Thought the teachers were fascinated by this new innovation it was
very difficult to convince shops to purchases his goods since there were
many foreign pastels freely available in the market.
He then sponsored several art competitions in schools which created a
awareness for his products and also a demand.
This marketing ploy had good returns and soon the shop owners were
calling him to obtain his products. “It is not an exaggeration to say
that during this time there were queues in Kandy and Kegalle book shops
demanding my products.”
Some workers at the factory
Due to the high demand he had to expand and finances were a major
draw back since banks were reluctant to advance money for products of
this nature. During this time the GTZ saw his talents and advanced Rs.
500, 000 which helped him to increase production and this was followed
up by his company being honored with many ‘SME’ sector awards.
In 2005 September he re branded his business as ‘Pentium 2000 colour
industries’ and today his products has over 45 % of market share. During
the beginning 2000, over 50 % of pastels were imported and today this
has reduced to less than 5 % and I am happy that I could play a role
towards this,” he said.
Due to high quality of Pentium 2000 products they have won haul of
awards including the Presidential award and the Best Entrepreneur award
which he said was very encouraging.
He said that the company also moved into a new factory in Waththegama,
and has been helping the community in the area by out sourcing part of
their packaging sector to over 400 villagers.
“This has also helped to minimize family problems in the area and
people in the area are living in better conditions,” he added.
Dissanayaka seen in a CSR inititive in the area
As a part of the companies CSR initiatives he has helped rural
schools with cash donations and also redone the road to the village
which was in a dilapidated state.
Even new water lines were laid and these CSR initiatives have also
earned him many awards.
He said the factory is environmental friendly with no toxic fumes,
waste being released to the neighbourhood.
One of the key successes of his business is the innovation and most
of the machinery including a kiln which uses paddy husk at their Meegama
Watta, Waththegama, Kandy factory is designed by him.
Looking back he said that he should thank NDB bank for coming forward
to extend Rs. 2.5 million credit facility to improve his business.
“This helped me to extend my product range to water colours, fabric
paints and even to stationery.”
One of the flagship products of Pentium 2000 is their pastel which
could draw in 10 different surfaces and is used by both children and
The artistic talent and the artistic heritage, from farther to son,
the love, and determination for encouraging development of artistic
talent among the country’s child generation along with the knowledge
gained from 14 years of research resulted in the creation of this
Wonderful multi-purpose pastel.
His sheer quality of products which even has won international
certification has not only captured the local market but today even
Japan imports Pentium 2000 products.
“We will be exporting our product range to Europe and many other
countries by the end of this year,” he said proudly.