Student from Sri Lanka who studied in Sweden – interview

”Social entrepreneurship and innovative startups can have an important role to play in solving societal challenges”
We met the scholarship holder Eric Deoul Raj, who, after studying leadership for sustainability for a year in Malmö, reflects on his experiences in Sweden and the changes he strives to achieve in Sri Lanka.

Hi Eric! A year has passed and you will soon graduate from the Leadership for Sustainability program at Malmö University. Looking back, what was the reason you applied to Sweden and SI’s scholarship for global professionals?

  • I have a passion for sustainability, social entrepreneurship and community development. I was part of a variety of value chain and destination mapping projects in Sri Lanka, China, Papua New Guinea and East Timor. The search for innovative solutions for my region led me to Sweden and the SI scholarship. I saw that with the help of it I could improve my organizational skills and establish myself as a ’change agent’ in businesses that focus on social sustainability and storytelling for the climate. I hope that my intentions will lead to better results and thereby give others the best conditions to improve their lives.

Was your idea of Sweden as you imagined?

  • As an advocate for sustainability, it was heartening to see Sweden’s commitment to sustainability and environmental protection, that private individuals and companies actively embrace sustainable methods and take responsibility for minimizing their environmental impact. I was lucky enough to gain practical experience of the circular economy by working for a Swedish startup that fights food waste. By coming into contact with a variety of like-minded people, I have really been exposed to different cultures and ideas. I now have a network that spans borders.

What is your most important lesson? Something you take with you in your work to support sustainable development and improve Sri Lanka?

  • The most empowering thing that happened to me recently was the knowledge I gained through my Master’s program. Malmö University helped me gain knowledge about sustainable project management and design at the intersection between social innovations and entrepreneurship. I got a grip on my own ability to face complex issues and come up with design solutions for them.
  • In order to challenge the status quo, it is of the utmost importance to involve several different stakeholders and facilitate knowledge sharing, resource gathering and collective problem solving. The startup community at Scania gave me the opportunity to make connections with co-founders and industry experts from different parts of the world who all strive to change their communities.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

  • I believe that there is great potential for social entrepreneurship and innovation in startups and that they will play a decisive role in addressing societal challenges and creating a more sustainable and fair world. To that end, I want to use my personal story of change in the world to achieve small disruptions that can in turn contribute to large-scale change. My goal is to create measurable social and environmental change by creating a common platform and network that will connect social entrepreneurs, investors and mentors, enabling learning and collaboration on a global scale.

Text in Swedish


On the 16th Feb 2023 SSLBC arranged an Extended Members Meeting at Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.

Approx 30 members from Sweden, Sri Lanka, and partners met on 16th Feb.

Keynote speakers were Swedish Honorary Consul General Sanjay Kulatung and President Sri Lanka Nordic Business Council Jehan Perinpanayagam. European Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka Vice President John Wilson also their work and services to companies.

Central Bank of Sri Lanka – Bank Holidays for 2023

January 06, FridayDuruthu Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
January 15, SundayTamil Thai Pongal Day    B. P. M.
January 16, MondaySpecial Bank Holiday (In lieu of Tamil Thai Pongal Day which falls on a Sunday)
February 04, SaturdayIndependence Day    B. P. M.
February 05, SundayNavam Full Moon Poya Day    B. P. 
February 18, SaturdayMahasivarathri Day    B. P.
March 06, MondayMedin Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
April 05, WednesdayBak Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
April 07, FridayGood Friday    B. P.
April 13, ThursdayDay prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day    B. P. M.
April 14, FridaySinhala & Tamil New Year Day    B. P. M.
April 22, SaturdayId-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan Festival Day)    B. P.
May 01, MondayMay Day    B. P. M.
May 05, FridayVesak Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
May 06, SaturdayDay following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day    B. P. M.
June 03, SaturdayPoson Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
June 29, ThursdayId-Ul-Alha (Hadji Festival Day)    B. P.
July 03, MondayAdhi-Esala Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
August 01, TuesdayEsala Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
August 30, WednesdayNikini Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
September 28, ThursdayMilad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet’s Birthday)     B. P. M.
September 29, FridayBinara Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
October 28, SaturdayVap Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
November 12, SundayDeepavali Festival Day    B. P.
November 26, SundayIll Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
December 25, MondayChristmas Day    B. P. M.
December 26, TuesdayUnduvap Full Moon Poya Day    B. P.
B – Bank Holiday              P – Public Holiday                M – Mercantile Holiday
All Saturdays and Sundays are Bank Holidays

Nano Textile Solutions – Smarta hållbara textilier passar alla

Nano Textile Solutions – Smart sustainable textiles suit everyone

Do you remember the classic science fiction movies ”Back to the Future” with Michael J Fox? That’s where Sam Issa, from Linköping, got inspiration when he, cunning as a fox, invented a nanotechnology solution for the textile industry – which recently won Sweden’s biggest innovation award.

With a revolutionary technology, Nano Textile Solutions helps design and textile manufacturing companies meet market demand – with the least possible negative environmental impact.

The technology challenges traditional production methods and enables a single product to be compatible with several different sizes.

– It is a dynamic, adaptive textile technology, where components are sewn into size-adjusting points on each garment. We work much like a tailor – with the difference that this is done digitally for an industrialized process on a large scale, where all it takes is a push of a button. Each garment can be easily adjusted between three different sizes – for example Small, Medium and Large. Consumers can therefore adapt to the exact body size for longer product use. In this way, our technology promotes new circular business models, says founder and owner Sam Issa.

Something that also attracted a lot of attention – when he received the SKAPA award, Sweden’s biggest innovation award.

– It is really a great honor and confirmation that we have performed something well. I have put my whole soul and heart into it with thousands of hours of work and am both happy and proud of this reward, emphasizes Sam.

Since the technology did not exist anywhere else in the world, Nano Textile applied for and received a patent for it in Sweden.

– Now we have also applied for an international patent, so that we can scale up and build the company globally. The major markets are in Europe, Asia and the USA. Our goal is to become a so-called unicorn – that is, valued at a billion dollars.

Sam grew up in a family of tailors, with a mother working as a seamstress in Linköping and an uncle who runs a tailor shop in central Stockholm.

– I have worked a lot with my uncle and learned a lot about tailoring – and have also been first a salesperson and then a store manager in a clothing store. I then studied fashion and clothing design in Milan, Italy for two years. There I learned the entire value chain, how to build a collection, about different fiber materials and how to sew up.

But he is also not least an entrepreneur – after his studies, Sam got a position as brand manager for Italian clothing brands throughout the Nordics. He also studied business administration at home in Linköping.

– Through all my experiences, where I discovered how much clothing partly has to be re-sewn at a tailor because they don’t fit and partly only used for a short time, I came up with the idea to optimize the products with a new technology. When it comes to just pressing a button that quickly changes size, I took inspiration from the classic science fiction movies ”Back to the Future”. I remember thinking it was really cool growing up and it was fun to be able to use that idea.

The target groups are not only manufacturing companies and design brands in clothing – but also the shoe industry.

There, the company has entered into a collaboration with Hööks – Scandinavia’s leading company in equestrian sports with a large range for riders, horses and dogs.

– We are in the process of developing a riding boot, with the possibility to adjust the calf shaft on each size. After all, there can be a lot of difference between different people. Hööks will initially own the market for this in the Nordics. But we will be going to the world’s biggest equestrian fair in February, which takes place in Cologne, Germany, to showcase the product to international brand manufacturers.

Nano Textile is also working on a collaboration with PVH in Amsterdam, Netherlands – which owns, among others, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger in terms of fashion clothing and Canadian True Hockey, which manufactures ice skates.

– When it comes to skates, we have developed a concept that is primarily aimed at children, who cannot tie the laces on their skates themselves. There you can set a perfect fit and then open and close with a zipper instead.

With the help of LEAD, Sam started to build his business from scratch in 2017/18 and has been helped with funding by investors. Currently, they have a total of six employees in Linköping and Borås (where the textile university is located).

– The interest is great. In our first investment round, we aimed to bring in five million kroner from investors, but there we were oversubscribed, concludes Sam Issa with a smile.

This is Nano Textile Solutions AB

Started: 2019 in Linköping.

Product/industry: Has created a nanotechnology solution for a sustainable and circular textile industry. Through smart textiles, sizes can be adjusted to the user to provide the perfect fit.

Number of employees: 6 – in Linköping and in Borås (where the textile university is located).