The NEXT BIG IDEA | Daily News


National round winning moment
National round winning moment

Thinking of new start up ideas maybe one of the hardest things in the world but once you have a proposal, you can’t just switch it off. Young entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative mechanisms to combat issues across the world daily. Such concepts need a platform to develop and shine.

The R B Global Challenge sets the stage for individuals with path breaking and self sustaining ideas with significant social impact. Organized by Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a multinational company operating in over 200 countries, the event is aimed at bringing about a positive social change. The competition brings young minds from 19 nations including China, USA, India, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt etc onto one stage.

The R B Global Challenge 2018 took place in Slough, Windsor in the UK on November 28 and 29, 2018. Madusha de Silva, Virgin Fernando and Umendra Abeynayake, three third year undergraduates of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, Sri Jayewardenepura University, bagged the championship by introducing the Mortein Safety Stick – a portable mosquito repellent device that creates vape against mosquitoes through power of phones, computers, laptops, and tabs.

A smart and on the go mosquito repellent vaporizer, which can be controlled through an mobile app, the Mortein Safety Stick won over the judges because dengue is a health hazard which is not only prevailing in Sri Lankan but in many countries across the globe. Research has revealed that around 3.9 billion from a seven billion global population face the risk of contracting dengue.

Presentation at the RB Global Challenge during the Global semi final

“Power is extracted from the devices to heat the Mortein chip inside and create the vapour. It’s also a multi-tasking device, which is able to function as a memory card reader,” Madusha explained how the Mortein Safety Stick functions.

The team had made it to the R B Global Challenge after facing the national competitions in November 2018. Around 106 teams from different universities competed at the national competition. Six teams were selected for the finals where Madusha, Virgin and Umendra ended up becoming the champions. A team from Moratuwa University and a team Colombo University became the first and second runners up.

Umendra says that the events were very competitive, especially when they made it to the global platform.

“We had to compete with the teams who have been selected from the national competition from each country. We competed against India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and China in the Global Final. Handling the pressure at the final was a challenge but we did it well. We were calm and confident about our output and enjoyed the moment together without becoming overstressed about the results,” he added.

Elaborating on how the competition functioned Virgin said, “We needed to identify a particular need gap in the market of our country and provide a solution for it by developing a business concept related to an innovative product. Then we had to present it at the competition. All the contestants performed well and they all had amazing innovative new product ideas that motivated and inspired us.”

Madusha says that he learnt to adapt to situations while handling pressure.

“I realized that being calm on any stage of a competition can bring great results,” he said.

Each of them has cherished memories related to the event. For Madusha spending quality time with his colleagues while engaging in developing a novel product and managing small chores in London mattered.

“The most memorable part for me was we three having fun while presenting on the global finale. For me working in this team was a journey filled with joy and happiness,” Virgin enthused. Umendra adds that the London journey itself is memorable.

“It was all about how we can achieve greater heights working as a team and how to take quick decisions to overcome unexpected situations successfully,” he noted on what he had learnt by taking part in R B Global Challenge 2018.

“It was a great learning platform as we could mingle with many contestants around the world. We could explore the real business world while giving our best to win the competition,” Virgin noted.


An old boy of Nalanda College, Colombo, Madusha was captain of the school Debating Team 2013/14. He is also a Law student at Sri Lanka Law College and a Business level student at the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He became the Vice President of the Education Executive Board 2017/18 of the Gavel Club of Sri Jayewardenepura University. He has excelled in a number of international platforms where he obtained an Honorary Mention Award at the Economic and Social Council at the National Youth Model United Nations 2016. He is a final-year undergraduate at the Department of Finance in the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce of Sri Jayewardenepura University.

Participants of the RB Global Challenge

Virgin is in her final year at the Department of Business Economics in the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce. She has completed Banking studies (IABF/ DABF) at IBSL. She had also completed the Diploma in English at Aquinas College with a Merit Pass. She is proficient in the Sinhala, English and Tamil languages. She was the Vice President of the Public Relations of the Executive Board 2017/18 of the Gavel Club of Sri Jayewardenepura University. Being a passionate and hardworking gavelier this past pupil of St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo, had obtained the Most Committed Gavelier Award for the year 2016. She is one of the main comperes at many official events at the university.

A Royalist and a final year undergraduate in at the Department of Commerce in the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce at Sri Jayewardenepura University, Umendra is currently following the stage two of Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Diplomat in Business Information Technology (SIBT). He is the vice-captain of the university baseball team and in the university athletics team. His passion for public speaking and hard work has led him to be the sergeant -at – arms of the Executive Board 2017/18 at Gavel Club of Sri Jayewardenepura University.

Queried on why they chose to pursue their careers in the management, commerce and business economics sectors, the trio chorused that these fields excite them.

“You can learn how things happen in real world organizations and then decide on how to make better decisions to manage the issues related to our own organizations,” Umendra opined.

Virgin adds, “Business Economics is one of the areas I am passionate about and would like to explore more and more. So doing management studies was the way for me to explore more on what I like.”

“You work with people and deal with business related issues when you are in the management sector. Solving such puzzles excites me,” Madusha mused.

RB Global Challenge - Global Final winning moment

He aims to make a positive change in people’s lives through a career in the corporate business world. Virgin hopes to get along with the policy making in Sri Lanka while having a great exposure to the corporate business world. Umendra’s ambition is to complete his higher studies and start his own business.

The three will be heading for the One Young World Summit 2019-International Youth Forum for Global Issues next. The event will be held in London, UK, this year.

“We hope to meet youth from many countries across the world there. Interacting with them will help us understand about different cultures. We hope to get global exposure while addressing global issues and to create a positive dialogue among the youth delegates,” they said.


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