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Nayoma De Silva

Graduate Diploma in Applied Management

Sri Lanka

Graduate Nayoma De Silva has put everything she learned at OPAIC to good use and started her own business bringing cinnamon-based products from Sri Lanka to New Zealand.

Nayoma says she moved here from Sri Lanka to get some international experience and exposure. She had been dreaming of starting her own business when she arrived.

During her internship she worked with a company exporting New Zealand lumber. She tried to arrange to export lumber to her country but couldn’t find a supplier.

 “Later on I thought, why can’t I do the reverse?”

During her strategic marketing class she started thinking about how her country was full of resources that the whole world was asking for. She should try importing goods from Sri Lanka as she had many contacts there.

Nayoma had noticed New Zealanders eat and drink a lot of takeaway products.

“I was thinking I should make good, healthy food products.”

She says she decided on Ceylon cinnamon as the first product to start up the business Sri Lankan Heritage since it's considered the world’s best cinnamon and is indigenous to Sri Lanka.  Other products she'll look to sell in the future include Ceylon tea, coconut, melon, turmeric and Aloe vera.

Her first shipment of a Ceylon cinnamon health drink in sachet bags has recently arrived in the country and she’s working on marketing the product.

Within the next six months she’ll expand her product portfolio from one to about 20. The next products - a cinnamon shoe spray, cinnamon sticks, and cinnamon powder - will reach the country by next month.

Nayoma’s already employed two staff at her company and plans to expand. She’s spoken to OPAIC about getting some interns, who might eventually join the company permanently.

“I am really confident with their educational background. That’s why I came here asking for interns.”

Nayoma says she used everything she’d learned at OPAIC to start the business.

“I have put all the lessons I learned to make this, everything, management, marketing, finance, HR.”

She said the qualification was the best course she could have chosen in terms of setting up her business – “all the practical aspects, all I have learned from this, all the support and kind-hearted people”.

Nayoma previously worked in the aviation field for 11 years and has degrees in business administration and economics.

She found the teaching at OPAIC was different from what she had experience before.

Rather than focusing on theory, teachers looked at concepts and how they could be applied.

“It was fully practical…where to apply and how to apply.”

Read more about the Graduate Diploma in Applied Management.

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