Beyond Medicine:Doctors as Entrepreneurs

a) What made you to start a business while
you were a 2nd year medical student?
I had childhood dreams of becoming a doctor
and an entrepreneur. While pursuing the
quest to become a doctor I wanted to explore
the other dream too. The holidays, after
the second MBBS examination gave me an
opportunity to plan and execute my second
dream. I love to create and build things. I
think being a good entrepreneur can make
a big difference to society. Unfortunately,
entrepreneurship is not accepted and
recognized in our society, partly because
entrepreneurs haven’t fulfilled their social
responsibilities to the extent expected of
them which has led to a vicious cycle where
individuals with broader vision not venturing
into becoming entrepreneurs.
b) What advice do you have for medical
students or doctors with other dreams or for
those who want to become entrepreneurs?
I would always tell them to pursue their
dreams. Nothing is impossible if you pursue
your dreams with focus and determination.
I think our education system was designed
to address colonial needs and therefore,
did not promote creativity, innovation and
entrepreneurship. Instead, the smartest and
the brightest were kept caged in a professional
career. We must break this vicious cycle,
more young professionals with broader vision
should get into entrepreneurship.
However, entrepreneurship is not for
everyone. Certain personality traits are better
suited to become entrepreneurs. If you
enjoy taking risks, like to create things, enjoy
making a difference, are prepared to take on
any challenge positively and enjoy traversing

a journey that no one has ever been on
before, then you have some of the qualities

c) Did you start the business with a big vision?
Honestly, No! I did not have a big vision at
the beginning, I just saw that there is a gap in
the wedding floral industry and stepped in to
bridge that gap by providing creative floral
solutions at affordable prices. However, 9
years ago, while participating in an Executive
Training Programme in Japan through a
scholarship offered by JESTICA, I realized
that I could provide a much bigger difference
to society if I took my entrepreneurship to the
next level. I tried to figure out what would
make me happy in the end. I know that as a
person, I derive a huge amount of happiness
by contributing to others’ happiness. I
thought that if I had a vision and a purpose
for the business that goes in line with my
personal vision, I could be that much happier.
I had realized by then that improving the
service standards can significantly improve
our happiness and quality of life. Poor service
standards make us unhappy all the time.

Since then, I adopted a broader vision of
our business setting up standards in service
delivery and contributing to improved service
standards, thereby improving happiness at a
societal level.
d) Wasn’t it difficult to build a business while
spending five years in medical school
and five years in the UK doing your post
graduate studies, handling positions like
the Secretary of the Sri Lanka Medical
Association in 2012, and the president of
the South Asian Society for Sexual Medicine
2017 to 2019?
It was hard work and extremely challenging.
The journey hasn’t been easy at all, especially
while I was in the UK for 5 years. I had to
travel to many areas in the UK to collect data
from GP clincs, get funding within the UK,
do the erectile dysfunction and sexual health
clinic at the OCDEM, at University of Oxford,
all while handling Lassana flora in Sri Lanka.
I was attached to the University of Oxford to
do my PhD, which was a split PhD and this
was one of the most difficult periods of my
life, having to do my PhD, get clinical training,
while making sure that Lassana flora, which is
like my child, thrive.
However, I am so blessed to have been in
received all the support from family, staff,
friends and colleagues. I am ever so grateful
to everyone who supported me over the
years. I have vivid memories of a day I had
fallen asleep on the floor of a 5-star hotel
banquet hall while doing the wedding setup
overnight. A person by the name of Reshan
woke me up with a nice cup of coffee and a
sandwich. My parents, sister, wife, daughter
and even my son aged 13 have been a huge
strength and all of them supported me
unconditionally throughout. My staff, current
and former, have done most of the work I have
just given them, together with the support
and guidance needed. I am eternally grateful
to everyone who has helped me and continue
to help me. I always find ways to express my
gratitude in whatever way I can.
e) What are your plans for the next five years?
We have two specific objectives. Firstly,
as I mentioned before, we want to set up

standards in service delivery in Sri Lanka.
Secondly, we want to build a global brand
that all Sri Lankans can be proud of.
f) Why did you select sexual medicine as your
specialization, and do you want to give it
During my internship I came across a
patient who attempted to commit suicide
for unresolved severe form of premature
ejaculation called ante-portal ejaculation. I
realized that there were no specialists in the
field to refer him to and decided to take it on.
I enjoy being a doctor and helping a lot of
patients, my creative skill has really helped as
I often give a creative solution to the couple
or the individual. However, I think it will be
hard for me to give much time for medical
practice in the future and I am planning to lay
more emphasis on my entrepreneur journey
over the next couple of years.
g) Does medical training help in your career
as an entrepreneur
I think so. As doctors we get more grounded,
we are inculcated with good values and
attitudes, we understand human suffering
and we always try alleviating suffering while
trying to help people. We are trained to be
concerned about others and the society. Also,
my postgraduate training in psycho analytic
psychotherapy has helped me to listen,
understand, and respect different views,
different values and opinions, quite a lot
better. I think all these help me in the business
to deal with my staff, suppliers, other partners
and clients in a more meaningful manner.
h) What are few key take home messages
There is always a place for entrepreneurship
amongst professionals One needs to pursue
one’s dreams and should not be afraid to
take a different route to everyone else.
If we can derive happiness by contributing to
others happiness consistently in a sustainable
manner the world is going to be a happier place.