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POSTED AT 10:30 AM 07-08-2018

Aban Pestonjee named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

Abans Group of Companies Chairperson and Founder Aban Pestonjee was adjudged Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) ‘Unstoppable – The Future Belongs to Her’ Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 awards, which held on 4 August at Taj Samudra, Colombo. She also attained the ‘Gold’ award for her ingenious entrepreneurial skills in the extra large business enterprise category. 

The illustrious occasion saw the gathering of the upper echelons of Sri Lanka’s business community and important Government dignitaries. 

Several luminaries from the Abans Group also attended the event. 

The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was a premier event of WCIC, a preeminent non-profit organisation that predominantly focuses on empowering female business owners across Sri Lanka, and improving the overall work environment for women. The primary aim of this awards function was to recognise the outstanding contributions of women entrepreneurs in their respective fields.

“When I started (this) business, there were hardly any women in business. Today we have women who are leading most fields in the Government sector, the corporate sector and they are all doing very well. I also know that WCIC is helping the women in need to bring up their lives and to start businesses. I wish them all the best, and I deeply thank WCIC for the awards,” said Pestonjee upon receiving these milestone awards. 

Determined to fulfil the goal of making the lives of homemakers like herself easier, Aban Pestonjee founded the Abans Group as a modest corner store at Galle Road, Bambalapitiya in 1968. Purchasing quality home appliances put out for sale at auctions, especially conducted by embassies, and reselling them with a guarantee were the core operations of her business. 

In 1978, when Sri Lanka emerged into an open economy, Pestonjee began writing regular letters to large British companies that distributed popular international brands to import their respective white goods. At first, several refused. However, her strong persistence led to Electrolux representatives visiting her store and service centre, which was then located in her home garage. Deeply impressed, Electrolux became the first brand to join hands with Abans to enter the Sri Lankan market. Soon, other famous British brands including Hoover, Pyrex, and Russell Hobbs started knocking on her door.

Guided by the simple business model of honesty, hard work, and perseverance, Aban Pestonjee’s tireless efforts has resulted in the Abans Group being the corporate giant it is today. The conglomerate is currently divided into five strategic business categories encompassing retail, services, logistics, manufacturing, real estate, and infrastructure. Brands such as LG, Apple, SKECHERS, Haier, Dell, and many others currently form a part of Abans’ extensive brand portfolio. The Abans Group also possesses over 400 showrooms and more than 15 service centres island-wide. Abans’ transformation into Sri Lanka’s most trusted household name remains a singular account of how a resolute woman’s sheer tenacity, integrity, willingness to take risks, and passion for innovation can guarantee true success in business. 

Under the benevolent guidance of Aban Pestonjee and the other preeminent Directors, the Abans Group will make a pioneering venture into real estate with its mixed-use BOI project, Colombo City Centre. Divided into three phases including a mall, hotel and high-end residences, Colombo City Centre stands to become an iconic landmark of Colombo and revolutionise the local urban lifestyle.